The cynical side of me is comforted by these images...
Dina Goldstein's Fallen Princess series shows us familiar princesses in somewhat bleak circumstances, the future that may have been. It's the classic fairy tale with the modern day ending.
A domesticated, Snow White handles a new family of nightmare dwarves; a captured Ariel is peered at from behind glass; Little Red Riding Hood.... isn't so little anymore.
Fairy Tales didn't originally end with sunshine and unicorns. The Brothers Grimm initially depicted a much bleaker outcome.
So the question remains... is it damaging to young girls to teach Disneified endings to the legendary tales? Is it better to set forth a more realistic example of the challenges in the real world?
Personally, I think there's no harm letting kids imagine that anything's possible. Let's have optimistic children who aren't yet jaded by the reality around them. There's plenty of time for them to have their hearts broken and dreams dashed. While they are still young enough to enjoy the sing-song, fantastical world of Disney, I say we let them. God knows they'll outgrow it soon enough.
Besides, chances are, they haven't yet read Jane Austen, and Mr. Darcy is just waiting to set an unattainable standard. Let's leave Pocahontas be.
You can read further discussion with the artist, Dina Goldstein here.