A digital artist from Canada, Sakimi Chan, has given us a body of work that begs that very question. In this HuffPost article, you can see Chan's recreation of classic Disney film characters portrayed in different genders. The art is amazing and very thought-provoking. What if the Beast was a controlling woman? What if the Mermaid was a naive boy? What if we were to complicate the typical gender roles laid out in these movies and paint a more dynamic picture of our childhood heroes?
While dress shopping with my 6-year old daughter and friend recently, I remembered just how much gender is traditionally prescribed in media. My friend held a dress up in front of him and asked my daughter if she thought he would look pretty in it. She laughed and said "Dresses aren't for boys!" I instinctively explained to her that boys can wear dresses if they like, but soon realized that nothing in her world supported the statement I had just made.
As artists and media creators, I think it's important to offer the world work which paints a more accurate, complicated picture of society and it's various shades of gray. We have a unique opportunity to challenge stereotypes, traditional gender roles, and other categories of difference in our various media. I applaud Chan for creating art that truly makes us think.
If you'd like to see more of Sakimi Chan's work, check out: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/