LOS ANGELES– Disney finally has its first plus-size young heroine, and fans on the internet are thrilled.
“Reflect” is a short film now on Disney+ about a young ballet dancer named Bianca who struggles with her body image. Although the film was first released on the platform in September as part of the studio’s Short Circuit Experimental Films series, many social media users are now celebrating “Reflect” as a victory for representation among young people. girls.
“I needed this Disney short at 16 before I quit ballet because I didn’t want to be the fat girl in class anymore,” one user tweeted. “I’m glad the little ones have this. 10/10 for Reflect!”
“I don’t think y’all get it, this is my Ariel,” one TikTok user said in a video, captioned, “(Disney+) you really got my feelings on me.”
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.
Body positivity is something director Hillary Bradfield strongly believes in, she said in an interview shown at the start of the short. Doing the film from a dancer’s perspective, she explained, felt natural.
“It’s part of the job to look at your posture and check things in the mirror, so it seemed like a really good way to put her in that environment where she has to look at herself and she doesn’t want to,” Bradfield said.
In the short, Bianca is able to overcome her negative feelings and dance freely. But body positivity and self-acceptance can be easier said than done, Bradfield said.
“When people watch the short, I hope they can feel more positive about themselves and what they look like, and feel good about the tough parts of their journey,” Bradfield said. “Sometimes you go in the dark to get to the right place. And that makes the right place even more beautiful.”
Disney has taken several steps in recent years to improve the diversity of its characters in its animated films. Earlier this year, “Baymax,” a spinoff of “Big Hero 6,” featured a transgender character. In 2020, Disney’s Pixar released its first animated feature featuring a black character, with “Soul.”
These recent depictions deviate from those seen in many of the company’s earlier films. The 2008 Disney/Pixar movie “Wall-E” negatively portrayed human obesity as synonymous with environmental destruction – a lazy portrayal that some critics said lacked nuance.
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