Skinny Minnie Mouse
On November 14th, Barneys New York will be releasing an ad that features a stretched out, skinnier version of Minnie Mouse that has several people upset. The traditional Minnie Mouse has much larger proportions and parents are worried that the ad will set a bad example for children who already have issues with their image.
The video ad is about three minutes long and most of which will feature Minnie in her standard size, however, for 5-seconds, she will be dreaming about being on the catwalk and shown as taller and thinner.
What worries parents and body-image activists the most is the trickle-down effect the ad could have.
Eating disorders and other disorders relating to body image are becoming increasingly common in the United States, especially among young girls, and the emphasis on size in media is partially to blame. By redesigning the classic character, it could contribute to the growing problem.
“The issue of body image is always prevalent and should be considered,” Ragen Chastain, a positive body image blogger and Los Angeles dance teacher, tells New York’s Daily News. Chastain launched a petition movement on change.org calling for the Madison Avenue department store to remove the ad.
“The message is if your body doesn’t fit into a designer dress, drastically change your body. Not, let’s insist on a designer that’s talented enough to make a dress that fits you,” insists Chastain. “That’s a dangerous message to send girls, ‘Minnie Mouse doesn’t fit into a high-fashion dress so we changed Minnie Mouse, not the high-fashion dress.’”
Consumers are equally offended.
One YouTube viewer wrote “This is the wrong message to little boys and girls. Get skinny and anorexic? No, there making cute little disney charecters? ugly and stupid.”
Annother user echoed the sentiment saying: “Well, that brought a slew of fears for me. I? can imagine Bloomies (aka Bloomingdales) doing the same to Shrek and his Dreamworks pals (poor, poor Fiona) or Lord & Taylor doing so likewise to the Looney Tunes, down to Bugs Bunny’s feet.
I feel that Barneys and Disney should do another campaign that doesn’t discriminate body size. Maybe they should promote a line of character-inspired perfumes or something. (I love Disney and am in the process of losing weight, thank you very much.)”
In a joint statement to the newspaper, Disney and Barneys defend their skinny Minnie.
“We are saddened that activists have repeatedly tried to distort a lighthearted holiday project in order to draw media attention to themselves,” the statement reads.
“They have deliberately ignored previously released information clearly stating this promotion is a three-minute ‘moving art’ video featuring traditional Minnie Mouse in a dreamlike sequence set in Paris where she briefly walks the runway as a model and then happily awakens as her normal self (above) wearing the very same designer dress from the fashion show.”
What do you think of the new ad?