When Aladdin promised to show Jasmine a "whole new world," he probably wasn't talking about the transformative effects of a good Insta filter.
But if the Disney classic Aladdin took place in 2015, it's likely the lovestruck couple wouldn't have been able to get through their magic carpet ride without posting a few shots of the breathtaking views of Agrabah on Instagram.
Artist and activist Saint Hoax is no stranger to using Disney princess imagery to make a statement, most recently in tackling period-shaming. This time, he's addressing our smartphone addiction in his "Contemporary Fairy Tale" series. It's an affliction shared by millennials of all stripes — even, perhaps, Disney princesses.
"As social media is expanding and new applications are emerging, people seem to be even more glued to their mobiles," Saint Hoax told Mic. "First came Twitter, then came Instagram and now with Snapchat, people are barely engaging with each other. What pushed all my buttons was when I witnessed two people who seemed to be on a date barely have four full sentences with each other."
With this new series, Saint Hoax hopes to highlight the absurdity of letting our smartphone urges get the best of us during moments that would be better spent with our loved ones.
Anyone with a smartphone and a friend probably knows all too well what Saint Hoax is talking about. In fact, researchers have come up with a name for the existential fear of being separated from your smartphone: nomophobia. One 2013 survey determined the condition affects more than half of U.K. residents.
But even when leaving your smartphone at home doesn't cause you to gnash your teeth and tear out your hair, studies have found that being too attached to your smartphone can negatively affect your close relationships. In fact, smartphone addiction has been proven to decrease the quality of IRL connection and reduce trust and empathy between partners.
While we probably don't need research to tell us that looking at a screen when we're sharing a romantic moment is probably not the best idea, even the most mindful among us can fall into the trap time and again. That's why Saint Hoax's decision to pair smartphone addiction with archetypal images of fairy tale love is a powerful reminder for us to put down our tablets and pay more attention to our beloveds.
"I superimposed our modern day habit on those beautiful fairy tales to show people how disruptive [our attachment to phones] is," he said. "The 'Contemporary Fairy Tale' series critiques how technology is being misused."
When your "happily ever after" is sitting right in front of you, staring at a smartphone is something only a poor unfortunate soul would do.