A new fairytale movie is heading to theaters, but before you get too excited, you should know its advertisements have been accused of body-shaming — and for good reason. The ad for Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs depicts a slender Snow White next to a curvy Snow White, along with the question, "What if Snow White was no longer beautiful?" The implication is clear: Tall and skinny equals beautiful, while short and round equals ugly. It's a heartbreaking message to send to anyone, but especially to children. Thankfully, the movie's lead voice actor, Chloë Grace Moretz, agrees. Moretz responded to the Red Shoes controversy on Twitter, and made it clear she had no idea the marketing campaign would take such a disheartening stance with its reinforcement of damaging beauty norms.
"I have now fully reviewed the mkting for Red Shoes, I am just as appalled and angry as everyone else, this wasn't approved by me or my team"
She went on to say that she has reached out to the film's producers about the ad campaign, and she told her fans that she hopes they will see the movie in full. "The actual story is powerful for young women and resonated with me. I am sorry for the offense that was beyond my creative control," the actor wrote.
It's responsible and great that Moretz responded to the ads head on, and I think that's how we should approach this kind of thing. Additionally, Bustle reached out to Locus Studios and received a reply from Sujin Hwang, one of the film's producers, who revealed the advertising campaign is being scrapped. He wrote,
"As the producer of the theatrical animated film 'Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs', now in production, Locus Corporation wishes to apologize regarding the first elements of our marketing campaign (in the form of a Cannes billboard and a trailer) which we realize has had the opposite effect from that which was intended. That advertising campaign is being terminated.
Our film, a family comedy, carries a message designed to challenge social prejudices related to standards of physical beauty in society by emphasizing the importance of inner beauty. We appreciate and are grateful for the constructive criticism of those who brought this to our attention. We sincerely regret any embarrassment or dissatisfaction this mistaken advertising has caused to any of the individual artists or companies involved with the production or future distribution of our film, none of whom had any involvement with creating or approving the now discontinued advertising campaign."
The idea behind Red Shoes seems like a positive twist on a classic tale. If done correctly, it could teach children about body acceptance and why they should not feel beholden to the beauty norms society has deemed "acceptable." However, this first look at the film certainly doesn't inspire confidence. Body positive blogger and model Tess Holliday was absolutely right when she tweeted about the irresponsible message the ad sends.
Only time will tell if Red Shoes truly has a positive message at its core. Moretz seems passionate about the film's script, but this is one fairytale movie that's going to have to work extra hard to subvert the typical narratives of the seemingly problematic genre if it wants to win back its audience.