Disney, a corporation that is both always innovative and consistently behind the times, debuted its first plus-sized heroine last month, inspiring and frustrating fans both.
A two-minute short film named Reflect features Disney Bianca, a young ballerina with no spoken dialogue.
The movie came out last month as part of a collection of avant-garde animated movies called Short Circuit, which is only available on Disney+. This week, as more and more people become aware of the material, the movie is getting new attention on social media.
The movie’s narrative is driven by Bianca’s issues with her self-image.
Reflect begins with Bianca’s dancing class, which is rapidly soured by self-doubt after the teacher criticizes “tight belly, long neck” and she examines her own stomach in the mirror.
Bianca’s struggles with self-image serve as the film’s plot driver
Bianca quickly disappears into a dark, foreboding area after the glass shattering, where (spoiler warning) she must dance wildly to beat her reflection.
The film’s director, Hillary Bradfield, who is most known for her work on the Disney movies Encanto and Frozen II, claims that she based the story on her personal struggles with body image.
“In general, I consider myself to be a really body-positive individual. But being body positive on a personal level is far more difficult “In an interview that is shown in the episode, she states.
The nice location becomes even more attractive when you sometimes travel through the gloomy area to get there.
The mirror imagery in the movie has been perceived by some as a clue that Bianca could be dealing from body dysmorphia.
Body dysmorphia, a mental health condition defined by the Mayo Clinic as the inability “to stop worrying about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance,” is characterized by obsessive behaviors such as excessive grooming and frequent use of mirrors.
After Taylor Swift removed the word “fat” from a scale in a new music video, sparking a broad social media discussion on eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and fatphobia, the term has been trending on social media platforms this week.
Disney’s 99-year history has been marked with racism, sexism and exclusivity
Racism, misogyny, and exclusivity have all been prevalent throughout Disney’s 99-year existence.
Disney has a long history of portraying plus-size female characters as extras or antagonists in stark contrast to the ethereally thin princess leads.
Recent heroines have received praise for displaying more realistic body types, such as Moana and the Encanto sisters Luisa and Mirabel. However, the business has also come under fire for other things, such as a 2016 short film character whose waist was almost as small as her neck.
Disney promised in 2020 to “consciously, actively, and aggressively advocate the diversity of voices and opinions in our society” in an effort to preserve its mass appeal.
After years of racism in everything from its films to its theme park attractions, some people claimed that the timing of the promise, which was part of the introduction of the “Stories Matter” project, was a too-little-too-late approach to racial justice.
The simplest way to define the programming that has subsequently broadcast is as taking a give-and-take approach to representation.
Consider Disney’s positions on LGBTQ+ topics.
An on-screen kiss between two gay characters was included in the 2014 feature film Lightyear. Another Baymax episode depicted a trans guy purchasing menstruation supplies.
However, Disney didn’t take action against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law until workers started to leave and complain that executives were removing LGBT content. Disney continued to support some of the bill’s backers even after that.
Fans’ responses to Reflect have been all over the place.
Social media users have questioned Disney’s objectives with Reflect, claiming that the two-minute length didn’t allow for enough complexity and that making Bianca’s self-image the main story engine muddied the message of body positivity.
Hey Disney, do you have any obese characters that aren’t tragic or whose plots don’t center on their weight? This past week, one Twitter user posted.
“Put the obese chick on screens for two hours, cowards,” a different person dared Disney to do.
Others, however, may see Bianca as a first step toward the proper sort of representation, or at the very least as a discussion starter.
A Tik Tok user submitted a video of themselves sobbing along with the caption, “I RAN to see this short.”
Another person said she had an opportunity to ponder while watching the movie.
She said on Facebook, “Growing up, I was always the largest girl in my ballet lessons. “I would do anything to show this to my younger self and assure them that everything would be fine.”