Beauty and fashion vlogger Loey Lane has called for an important change to the Disney princess franchise. She’s calling out Disney- and asking for a plus size princess to add to the group.
In March of 2016, Lane posted a video entitled “The Not So Little Mermaid,” in which she donned a Little Mermaid themed bikini. Immediately, her nearly 800,000 subscribers took to the comments section, asking for more representation for plus-size people.
This video details the cruelty of the other kids at her church camp at a young age. The task at hand was to pick a Disney princess to correspond with her name, so Lane picked Ariel. Instead, her peers crossed out Ariel and cruelly wrote “Ursula.”
“The fact that the closest thing to my body that I could get was Ursula just hurt me so badly as a kid,” she told Cosmopolitan at Beautycon LA. Confidently dressed in her Snow White costume and Little Mermaid bikini, Lane called on Disney to make a plus-size Disney Princess.
“We can’t all look exactly the same, and that’s a huge reason why I think it’s important for there to be more diversity in everything young boys and girls consume.”
Lane raises an important point- representation matters. A study by Brigham Young University concludes that princess culture has a negative effect on the self-esteem of young girls because they are exposed to the “thin ideal” at a young age. Professor Sarah M. Coyne who conducted the study says, “Disney princesses represent some of the first examples of exposure to the thin ideal,” Coyne said. “As women, we get it our whole lives, and it really does start at the Disney princess level, at age three and four.”
The thin ideal enforced by Disney princesses is just indicative of a much larger problem. Larger people are portrayed as villains, such as Ursula in the Little Mermaid, or the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. This only serves to emphasize society’s detrimental and condescending views of plus-size people, particularly women. What does this kind of representation say to little girls?
Portraying plus-size people as evil or unintelligent only reinforces negative stereotypes and the completely false idea that thinner is better. When the world ditches their fatphobia and becomes more accepting of all body types, only then we will get to see a cast of Disney Princesses with diverse body types. Until then, we must take the media representation with a grain of salt, and recognize the negative stereotypes being enforced.