by Becca London | RNN
Entertainment giant Disney has unveiled its first “plus-sized” heroine in a short film about an oversized ballet dancer dealing with “body dysmorphia.”
The obese ballet dancer in the film Reflect will mark the first time an overweight character was treated as the hero instead of as comic relief, or a villain.
The plus-sized dancer, named Bianca, is reportedly portrayed as a character “who battles her own reflection, overcoming doubt and fear by channeling her inner strength, grace and power,” the Daily Mail reported.
Disney has come under pressure to “widen the scope” for its “princess” concept. And so-called “body positivity” has been one area activists have wanted the company to visit.
In 2016, a popular Youtuber demanded that Disney create a plus-sized princess and criticized Disney’s The Little Mermaid for making its Ursula character overweight, the reported noted.
Planned Parenthood also criticized Disney and insisted that the Mouse House needed to make a princess who had an abortion.
In addition, Disney was criticized last year for pushing “unrealistic beauty standards” for a female character for a short film entitled, Inner Workings. The character was extremely skinny, except for her rear-end, which was greatly exaggerated.
Also last year, actress Kelly Marie Tran told Vanity Fair that the Asian Disney princess named Raya she voiced for the film Raya and the Last Dragon was gay.
But the argument over portraying fat, overweight, or obese people in a positive light is still raging. While many want to put an end to “fat shaming,” still others warn that normalization plus-sized bodies increases obesity and endangers people’s health.
In 2018, for instance, medical research from the University of East Anglia in the UK suggested that the normalization of “plus-sized” bodies has led to an increased risk of obesity.
HBO comedian and talk show host Bill Maher has also criticized the tendency to claim fat is “beautiful.” In 2019 he suggested that the government should shame overweight people because they are a burden on our healthcare system. And this year he worried that “fat celebration” is oversimplifying the obesity epidemic.
Maher took to Twitter in August and wrote, “There’s a disturbing trend going on in America these days with rewriting science to fit ideology. We’ve gone from fat acceptance to fat celebration.”