It’s important for people of all identities to see themselves represented in media so that they know they are not alone in the world. In the last few decades, pop culture has made some great strides in expanding representation to include more and more groups of diverse people. But still, some people don’t see themselves in the media. One woman set out to be the very representation she wishes she had.
A woman with an amputated arm created a glass arm to wear with her Cinderella costume.
Mandy Pursley is an amputee, but she never saw amputee women like herself portrayed as role models when she was growing up. She told INSIDER:
“I remember being enthralled watching Jim Abbott play baseball, because he was the only amputee I had ever seen on television. But I still never saw amputee women being portrayed as normal, beautiful, or strong, so it took me a long time to realize that being different and unique can actually be a positive trait.”
When Pursley’s daughter starting learning about Cinderella in school, she realized that she had an opportunity to be the role model she never had growing up.
She decided to dress up as Cinderella, only this time Cinderella would have a glass arm instead of a glass slipper.
Pursley loves to sew and so she designed and created her Cinderella ballgown herself. Artist Gilbert Lozano built the arm out of resin, and photographer Kelly Anderson took photos of Pursley and her “Prince Charming,” aka her husband Ryan.
They even recreated the iconic forgotten glass slipper moment for the photoshoot. Only this time, Cinderella is leaving her arm behind.
Pursley shared the Cinderella photos in a Facebook post, which has received over 35,000 likes and 26,000 shares.
At long last…Cinderella — with a glass ARM! ❤️After a medical fiasco kept me from competing at a costume…
Since posting the photos, Pursley decided to create a Facebook page called Be The Spark Cosplay, which aims to promote inclusivity and positivity in cosplay.
“My favorite part has been hearing from the parents of children with ‘lucky fins’ like mine, who shared how excited their kids were to finally see a princess who looked like them. I hope that people with all sorts of differences are encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response to this character who shows that beauty is so much deeper than physical perfection.”
Pursley has demonstrated a perfect example of positive representation and why it matters so much.