The New Princess

Listening to AM radio this morning on the way home from driving my daughter to school, I caught wind of the petition by a young Virginia woman who wants Disney to create a plus-sized princess. Her change.org petition already has more than 22,000 signatures. And a whole lot of people piping up, and sparing no expense whatsoever, to be cruel and heartless on the subject.

This very brave girl, Jewel Moore, is a plus size girl herself and wanted to see Disney model its princesses after real women. Just like her. It’s a simple request, one would think, since the average weight of a real woman is 165 pounds.

The cartoon and animated characters we see Disney create today weigh probably all of 90 pounds soaking wet. And like one comment I heard this morning, their eyeballs are bigger than their wrists. So true. Never thought about it before, but yes, they certainly are.

princess

I heard the radio host getting very distressed about the fact that Disney princess are cartoons, dammit, animated characters based on an idea in the drawing room at the studio and why should women want to model themselves after a character that isn’t even real?

Point taken.

But here is another point.

As an avid watcher of the Disney Channel, I  can assure you that the channel’s marketing campaign aimed at young girls titled “I am a Princess” would not be nearly as effective if girls didn’t want to model themselves after the kinds of characters created over the years by Disney. The campaign is about the character traits and attributes — kindness, strength, perseverance, etc.. – that every Disney princess embodies.The campaign uses real girls. Girls with braces, pigtails, acne, tall girls, short girls, thin girls and not thin girls. Girls who can achieve greatness just by believing. I’ll admit, it made me choke up. I like it. It has a great message.

I immediately thought of this when I heard the comments from the show’s host, callers and even an exchange by two female members of a morning news show (it might have been Fox and Friends but I couldn’t find it during a search.) I will spare you the ugly details, but the naysayers equated plus size with obesity, heart disease, laziness and diabetes. They said it sends a bad message and other comments that would lead one to believe that because you don’t fit into the skinny model, you should not be a princess. One very snarky comment by a woman was “Why don’t we just create Diabetes Princess?” It was so cruel. To think that because one is plus size that she, or he, is lazy and doesn’t take care of their health is just plain ignorant.

There are plus size women, and men, who can go to the gym everyday and work hard at keeping good health. And then there are those who can work hard at doing nothing, smoking cigarettes and eating junk food everyday and because of some metabolism glitch, not gain a  pound. And the masses can see the two people next to each other and assume the one with more pounds is the unhealthy one.

Didn’t your mama ever teach you not to judge a book by its cover?

I think Jewel Moore has an excellent idea. Real women as princesses. How about a Disney Princess modeled after Queen Latifah? Or Emme, who is not only one of the most famous plus size models in my memory but I think she was the trailblazer for the term. Or one after Kate Middleton or Diana? Or Oprah or Eleanor Roosevelt?

It doesn’t matter her size. A Princess is a Princess. She is smart, and kind, and helpful, and strong, brave and determined. Someone who doesn’t give up. Someone who can change the world.

Someone like my daughter.

So I say this:  Jewel Moore, you’ve taken that first step with your petition. You are a Princess and even if Disney doesn’t create a plus sized one for you, you have the opportunity to do it yourself. Write a book,. Create a graphic novel,. A comic book series. Write a song. Make a You Tube video. I am sure it will go viral.

Just like the Disney Channel’s I am a Princess campaign says: You can make a difference.

Here is the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-walt-disney-animation-studios-make-plus-size-princesses-in-disney-movies

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