Though I’m still in the midst of a fight with Disney and Barney’s about Minnie Mouse that I’ll update you about in a moment, I want to give credit when it’s due. Today Deva posted a video from Disney Junior to the Rolls Not Trolls community on Facebook. It’s a preview of the new Disney Fairies DVD called “Secret of the Wings – How to Skate.” Mary the (Fat) Fairy has some serious moves:
Now, I’m willing to bet that some idiot somewhere is going to accuse Disney of promoting obesity with this video, so let’s have this out. Having positive role models with whom they can identify is extremely important for kids of all sizes. Unfortunately many fat kids don’t have role models who look like them because fat people aren’t often shown in a positive light due to the utterly ridiculous notion of “promoting obesity” as if it’s some V8 commercial wherein we see a happy successful fat person on TV and then millions of people slap themselves on the forehead and say “I coulda been fat.” It is absolutely not ok that the only representation fat kids see of themselves in the media is encouraging a war on them, or shaming them for their size, or making negative assumptions about their habits, or reinforcing to them that every fat person is a walking stereotype and that happiness, health, athleticism, love, and just about everything they might ever want is only for thin people.
If these people actually want fat kids to move more then doesn’t it make sense to show them other fat kids having fun moving? (By the way, there is no health advice that’s just for fat kids – I think we would do much better to focus on developing healthy relationships with food and exercise for kids of all sizes.) All kids, including the fat ones, need to see themselves represented positively in the media and this is a great step in that direction.
A very different direction for Disney than their Model Minnie Mouse catastrophe with Barney’s. Here’s an update on that campaign: The awesome Shelby Knox at Change.org got involved, the petition we started on this blog now has 143,388 signatures. The story has been covered all over the country including lots of regional and local news in addition to National venues like Salon, AP, Entertainment Tonight, and International media as well. The campaign was joined by plus-sized models Robyn Lawley, Lizzie Miller, and CJ Legare; actresses Virginia Madsen and Kristin Bauer, and Disney Heiress Abigail Disney.
The good news is that Disney and Barney’s are putting out joint statements saying things like: the picture that was released of the 5’11, size 0 Minnie was just a sketch and isn’t the Minnie who is going in the film short, that the model Minnie is just a dream of regular Minnie and is only on screen for 7 seconds, and that they had always planned to end the film with Minnie in her regular form in the high fashion dress.
Since I’m an outcome-based activist I’m celebrating these victories, and I’m not even that annoyed that they basically called me an attention whore in a National press release as a way to draw attention from the problem, or that instead of owning up to the mistake they are just acting like it never happened and suggesting that those of us who pointed out the problem got it all wrong.
We’ve taken a break from this campaign as everyone deals with the aftermath of Sandy, but I feel like we made a ton of progress already and I’m excited about how many people “got it” and got involved, and about the changes that Disney and Barneys are making to this truly problematic situation. Stay tuned and in the meantime maybe you, like me, can take some solace in a fathletic ice skating fairy named Mary.
Still Time to Register! The Happy HAES Holidays workshops continue tomorrow. Listen online or dial in. Registration is name-your-own-price, and all of the calls have been and will be recorded so that you can listen to/download any that you missed or want to hear again. Workshops by: Marilyn Wann, Golda Poretsky, Jeanette DePatie, CJ Legare, Tanisia Smith, and me!. Full details and registration here! Tips, tricks, ideas and support to have you sailing through the holiday season and into the New Year.
Like the blog? Check this stuff out (purchasing these helps support my activism work, which I really appreciate):
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here to order
The Dance Class DVDs: Fun classes for all levels! Click here for the details
Become a Member and Get Special Deals from Size Positive Businesses
I do size acceptance activism full time. A lot what I do, like answering over 4,000 e-mails from readers each month, giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and want to support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.
Speaking Schedule 2013 – I am now working on my speaking schedule for next year. If you would like me to give a talk at your university, job/company, or organization just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org and we’ll talk about the options to make it work for your situation and budget.