Disney introduced its first plus-sized heroine in a new short film called Reflect. The clip is part of Disney’s Short Circuit series, an experimental type of movie meant to tackle controversial topics in a creative manner.
Reflect follows the protagonist Bianca, a young ballet dancer who struggles with body dysmorphia and low self-esteem. The short film, directed by Hillary Bradfield, shows Bianca’s teacher telling her, “Tight tummy, long neck,” as she stands in the barre. Later on, this comment creates an impact on the young girl as she tries to channel her frustration into strength.
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In an interview with Fox Business, Bradfield mentioned:
“When people watch this short, I hope that they can feel more positively about themselves and how they look and feel okay about the tough parts of the journey. Maybe sometimes you go to the dark place to get to the good place, and that just makes the good place that much more beautiful.”
The director revealed that making Bianca a ballet dancer was something that she believed is the right decision as the character is forced to look at herself even if she does not want to, checking her posture all the time and seeing these other girls with fit bodies.
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Fans Slam Disney Short ‘Reflect’ For Encouraging Unhealthy Lifestyle
While many viewers resonated with the short’s message and applauded the film, there are also fans who slammed it for sending a message to the audience that normalizes obesity. Fans took to Twitter their thoughts regarding Reflect:
Being overweight is not something to strive for
— IceWallowCome (@BrainSenor) October 27, 2022
Yup encourage an unhealthy lifestyle even more rather than addressing the issue
— Afcab90 (@afcab90) October 27, 2022
You wouldn't represent anorexia, Disney, don't represent obesity either. It's wrong. #reflect #disney #BodyPositivity is a disease. Fatness is a cancer on society.https://t.co/5usr8V1VVE
— Nate, or, Mr H Reviews (@MrHreviews) October 27, 2022
Why everything needs representation? Everyone acknowledges the fact that overweight people exist, but message should be to strive for healthy routine. Just don't accept unhealthy routine for representation. It's like die early, instead of having healthy routine from childhood
— SB (@s_bhatotia) October 27, 2022
Encouraging kids to be ok with being lazy and unhealthy.
— MrPantz (@mjmackinlay) October 28, 2022
The audience pointed out how the film encouraged such a lifestyle instead of suggesting solutions, while others criticized it for telling young women that it is okay to be overweight because they will be okay in the end. For some, the issue of obesity is not something that should be represented, just like anorexia, but addressed for a healthier lifestyle.
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In recent years, Disney has been striving and exerting efforts to tackle social issues and bring representation into the spotlight. Through creative freedom and compelling stories, the studio tries to make its platform more inclusive and diverse. But, it seems that this one elicited mixed reactions from the mass and is pretty much perceived in a different way than the studio intended.
Bradfield also worked with Disney films such as Frozen 2, Encanto, and Avatar: The Way of Water. Reflect arrived on Disney Plus last September 14 and is available to watch.
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