Will Disney Ever Create a Plus-Sized Princess?

by Tori Telfer

Disney's been shaking off a bit of a bad rap for years, what with the whole Walt-Disney-is-cryogenetically-frozen-beneath-Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-ride-oh-yeah-and-anti-Semitic thing. But they've been trying. In 2009, Disney's first African-American princess, Tiana, hit the big screen in The Princess and the Frog, and over the past few years, their heroines have been getting spunkier and more independent (with, it must be noted, especially fantastic hair). See: Rapunzel in Tangled, Merida in Brave, and Anna in Frozen.

But they've stayed skinny.

Jewel Moore, a junior in high school from Farmville, Va., is seeking to change all that. Though the ruckus she's creating may not be loud enough to capture Disney's ears just yet, it's gaining significant traction: Moore's petition, "Make Plus-Size Princesses in Disney Movies," boasts over 10,000 followers and growing — at least 9,000 of those since Friday.

Moore writes:

It's extremely difficult to find a positive representation of plus-size females in the media. If Disney could make a plus-size female protagonist who was as bright, amazing, and memorable as their others, it would do a world of good for those plus-size girls out there who are bombarded with images that make them feel ugly for not fitting the skinny standard.
Disney films are highly influential and wide-spread, and they impact the lives of many children, especially girls. It would be revolutionary for Disney to show support to a group of girls who are otherwise horrendously bullied by the media.

Not only are Disney's princesses a potentially dangerous combination of a) incredibly appealing to little girls and b) very thin, but overweight figures in Disney movies tend to play the buffoon, the villain, the comedic relief. As one commenter adds:

All of Disney's current plus-size characters are portrayed as fools, as if weight were in correlation with intelligence and morals. This needs to end.

Will Disney listen to Moore & Co.? The modern Disney heroines seem to be pitched more than ever toward what little girls need to hear: be strong, be brave, love your family, etc. Maybe a little body diversity isn't so far behind.