It started as this: a great close-up of a snarling, exceedingly male, lion. Then it went b & w, with probably even more reposts/repins/likes/comments etc.:
…and then someone (can’t find out who, but it matters not) decided that this vision of aggressive male power needed a girl to meme-ify it:
…after its Photoshop additions it now gets retweeted with “girlpower”-type hashtags, and is interpreted as mini-“beauty” winning over the “beast” with her innocence, sweetness, bravery and femininity etc. The lion’s eyeballs are what gives it its ultimate power – even tho’ they are far more human than lion – and although I’ve tried to isolate the girl and see what the original context of her part was, it doesn’t seem to have enough elements remaining to stop Google always associating it with the lion….
You do feel that in reality she’d probably have her head ripped off: but that the power of imagery and basic human faith in the supremacy of innocence (in particular) – almost always represented as a (pretty) girl – makes this a good representation of the continuing Victorian tradition of imbuing the figure of the young girl with a variety of positive virtues and qualities that can prevail over savagery, male power and arrogance, aggression, etc., etc……