Is Minnie Too Skinny?

by  on October 25, 2012

The Barneys New York’s holiday campaign Electric Holiday featuring fashionable yet ultra skinny versions ofMinnie Mouse and Daisy Duck has officially ticked off plus-size models and eating disorders specialists.  Details on both sides of the argument below. 

Is Minnie Too Skinny? Activests Protest Barneys and Disneys Cartoon Crash Diet

Plus sized models Robin LawleyLizzie Miller, and Courtney Legare have joined 135,000 supporters in campaign against the skinny versions of Disney characters Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck for the Barneys New York holiday campaign, Electric Holiday. The campaign calls to cancel the holiday window display featuring 5’11” size zero versions of Disney cartoon characters. Eating disorder experts and celebrity endorsements are adding fuel to the campaign against “Skinny Minnie“, saying instead of it being a light-hearted campaign, it’s sending a negative message to young girls and “There is something wrong with changing a beloved children’s character’s body so that it looks good in a dress that almost nobody looks good in – adding to the tremendous pressure on young girls and women to attain photoshop perfection. The problem isn’t with Minnie’s body, it’s with a dress that only looks good on a woman who is 5’11 and a size zero.”

Barneys and Disney released this joint statement countering the campaign saying, “We are saddened that activists have repeatedly tried to distort a light-hearted holiday project in order to draw media attention to themselves.“.  Barneys creative director Dennis Freedman explained his reasoning about Minnie’s smaller frame, “The standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress. There was a real moment of silence, because these characters don’t change. I said, ‘If we’re going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie,’ and they agreed. When you see Goofy, Minnie and Mickey, they are runway models.” Coming from a fashion industry professional’s perspective, this is not out of the question. If Minnie and Goofy were to star in a fashion campaign, then they should look like the models who walk the runways.

While the campaign is bringing attention to important issues such as eating disorders and how the fashion industry affects body perception, are these versions of the Disney characters viewed through a fashion lens controversial or truly light-hearted?

With the ubiquitous complaint that high fashion skews skinny anyway, we aren’t seeing anything new here. Many fashion designers make clothing specifically for smaller sized individuals. Even Balenciaga admitted to cutting their clothing to flatter smaller sized customers only and Karl Lagerfeld stated that he believes thatanorexia and the fashion industry are not related.

But the industry is slowly starting to change. Burberry is collaborating with Adele to create their first plus-sized line and Ralph Lauren used their first plus-sized model in a campaign (ironically model Robin Lawley is one of the models speaking out against “Skinny Minnie”). The creative director of Barneys did state that the traditional Minnie would not look good in a Lanvin dress, but that’s a problem with the industry. Harrods is doing a designer Disney princess themed window for the holiday season that highlights what the Disney princesses would wear if they wore couture designer dresses. Is there a difference between the two? Why is one receiving more negative press than the other?

Now we turn to you, dear readers. What are your thoughts on Barney’s Electric Holiday version of Minnie and Daisy. Will our children’s body perceptions be affected by these altered versions of their Disney favorites or are they an innocent interpretation from a fashion perspective? Sound off in the comments s’il vous plait.

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