Website / Rejected Princesses

A website and later book by Jason Porath, a former DreamWorks Animator, Rejected Princesses chronicles the lives of women "too awesome, awful or offbeat for kid's movies" with illustrations and meticulously researched stories.

Originally a series of entries online, in October 2016 a full book was commercially released containing 20 entries originally published on the website and 80 new ones.


Contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Brown: If the historical woman's ethnicity was something of a question mark Jason will often draw them this way, for instance Tomyris and Tirgatao since it's not known what exactly "Scythians" looked like. Philipa of Hainault is also portrayed with an ambiguous skin tone as there's debate as to what her ethnicity was with the only specifics that have survived in the record being that she was "brown-skinned all over". Similarly Zelia Nuttall was known to have an Irish father but the exact ethnicity of her mother is uncertain though she was at least born in Mexico.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: While Jason has specifically decided not to cover any trans men, he mentions that Catalina de Erauso's gender identity to a modern audience is hard to nail down, since Erauso's own autobiography regularly switched from male to female indicators.
  • Anti-Role Model: The idea for the website came about when Porath and some fellow Dreamworks employees saw a clickbait article about "Why Elsa and Anna are bad role models for girls", decided that they could think of way worse role models for girls, and challenged each other to see who could think of the worst one. (The winner? Lolita.)
  • Artistic License: If something in an illustration is inaccurate and he knows it Jason will usually point it out in the footnotes and cite this, usually to make something clearer or tie a picture together.
  • Badass Bystander: Onake Obavva was the wife of a guard in the city of Chitradurga who according to some versions murdered upwards of 100 invaders using only a pestle and likely saved the city.
  • Badass Gay: Along with several women who were suspected to have been lesbian or bisexual during their time periods, a few verifiable ones are Julie d'Aubigny and Catalina de Erauso.
  • Bald Women: Masako Hojo is depicted as this since she eventually became a Buddhist nun. Jason admits that the illustration is mixing her history a bit since she wasn't yet a nun at the time of the incident where she flattened Lady Kame's house after she found out her husband was cheating on her with the other woman, but he wanted to show her as bald.
  • Breach of Promise of Marriage: A major factor in the legal case of Artemisia Gentileschi from the book, since her rapist Tassi had promised to marry her to keep her quiet but later reneged on his promise, which prompted the Gentileschis to charge him in court and eventually win their case.
  • The Caligula: Covers several notorious examples including Elisabeth Bathory and Ranavalona I, with heavy emphasis on the fact that many of their supposed evil deeds were probably not true. In Ranavalona's case her title as the "Female Caligula" is even discussed.
    The west called her The Female Caligula, but if half what they said is true, he was more a male Ranavalona.
  • Cold Sniper: Lyudmila Pavlichenko, known as "The Deadliest Female Sniper in History."
  • Creator Cameo: In Christine de Pizan's illustration Jason hid himself among the many figures.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Jason will often point out that a historical woman's morality by modern standards may differ significantly from what's considered acceptable today. Catalina de Erauso, for instance, is described as "gleefully amoral" by modern standards, and Sophie Morigeau's attitude towards the First Nations people she lived near are difficult to decipher.
  • Domestic Abuse: Horrifically in the story of Micaela Almonester, culminating in her father in law shooting her four times in the chest, which she miraculously survived but with after effects for the rest of her life.
  • Downer Ending: The "Downer" option on "Story" in the search part of the site will display these.
  • Dwindling Party: Illustrated in Isabel Godin's entry, where her group of 42 people she took with her across Peru gradually dwindles down to just herself.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Several Princesses appear in each other's stories before their own entry was put online, such as Christine de Pizan appearing in Zenobia's entry before debuting in the book version and Zenobia herself being mentioned in Hester Stanhope's entry.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A few of the earliest entries, such as Lolita and Fredegund, have notes on them saying that they're not up to the same level of quality control as later entries since he was just getting his act together, but they've stayed up on the site as a learning experience.
  • Funny Background Event: Practically a sport among fans of the site with the illustrations, with Jason usually pointing them out in the commentary.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The site covers several women rulers who have been vilified, including Mahendradatta, Elisabeth Bathory, Wu Zetian and Ranavalona.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Several of the entries are of women who were vilified after their deaths, and Jason makes the case that while many of them were probably not very nice people the most extreme claims are probably false.
  • Iron Lady: Stephanie St. Clair Micaela Almonester and Rebecca Lukens all qualify.
  • The Lad-ette: A number of the "Rascal" type personalities, perhaps most notably Julie d'Aubigny, Manuela Saenz and Catalina de Erauso.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Tatyu Betul Mekatilili wa Menza and Ida Laura Pfeiffer are all drawn as elderly women because that was when they performed the acts they're most remembered for.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Many of the more outlandish facts have warnings to this effect, and the entry for Sermerssuaq even has a photograph of a passage from one of the referenced books.
  • Persona Non Grata: From the book, Anne Hutchinson got kicked out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for being an uppity feminist.
  • Pregnant Badass: Freydís Eiríksdóttir took on an entire tribe of angry Native Americans while heavily pregnant, by herself, and their response was to run away. From the book, Anne Hutchinson also testified at her own trial while pregnant with her sixteenth child.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Jeanne de Clisson's campaign against France was revenge for the execution of her husband, which earned her a place as a virtual boogeyman and the title of the "Lioness of Brittany", along with Isabella of France whose mistreatment by her husband led her to eventually overthrow him.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Many of the illustrations will employ this, with one of the best being Rosalind Franklin's entry showing her working in the dark while Watson and Crick are shown receiving the Nobel Prize and a shadowy hand belonging to Watson reaching out to grab her famous Photo 51 and take the credit for himself.
  • Running Gag: From the book, the footnotes saying "Josephine Baker had issues with ______" when mentioning her many personality flaws.
  • Self-Deprecation: Pretty much the entire point of the Nog Prize, which has an entire subsection of the site of especially good corrections readers send in about things he'd gotten wrong in entries.
  • Stripping Snag: Zelia Nuttall's entry mentions how when two young men came to visit this happened to her and without missing a beat she continued introductions. In the illustration a maid can be seen frantically running off with the torn dress in the background.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Several women including Petra Herrera (who initially went by "Pedro") and Catalina de Erauso.
  • Transgender: The entry on Osh-Tisch, a Crow baté, has an entire subsection discussing the pitfalls in discussing Native American Two-Spirits as they relate to the modern concept of Transgender identity.
  • Troll: Along with the historical ads she took out taunting her enemies (including sending a telegram to Dutch Schultz on his death bed), Stephanie St. Clair is shown in a bonus comic trolling him yet again.
  • Vindicated by History: A number of the women in the sciences who were overlooked in their lifetimes are mentioned, including Mary Anning, Sor Juana de la Cruz, and Rosalind Franklin. invoked
  • Virgin Power: Brought up in regards to the "super chastity" claims made about several Princesses, especially how Catalina de Erauso pretty much used this as a "Get out of Jail Free" Card and got her a special dispensation from the Pope allowing her to crossdress, and Zenobia's powers being attributed to her only having sex to conceive a child.
  • Warts and All: One of Jason's stated goals is to not sugarcoat history, so his entries on some of the more famous figures like Joan of Arc and Harriet Tubman don't shy away from the less family-friendly facts or personality traits the real people possessed.
  • The Woman Behind The Woman: Joan of Arc's entry from the book makes the case that Yolande of Aragon was this for Joan and getting her in front of the King of France in the first place.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Website/RejectedPrincesses