Barney in shades

Barneys New York Sparks Controversy by Turning Minnie Mouse Into a High-Fashion Barbie Doll

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For their annual holiday windows Barneys New York is going with a decidedly nostalgic theme, partnering with Disney for a display that reimagines classic Disney characters—Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Daisy Duck, among others—as high fashion models. So far, so good. What’s the problem, then? That would be the way Barneys is changing the bodies of the iconic kid’s characters so they can fit into high fashion couture. Minnie, for example, has gone from looking like the mouse we all grew up with to being approximately 5’11” and a size zero.

A petition called “Leave Minnie Mouse Alone” has sprung up to protest the way Minnie’s been stretched out like Gonzo in Muppet Treasure Island. As of this writing it has over 128,000 signatures and has been endorsed on Twitter by actresses Virginia Madsen and Kristin Bauer and Walt Disney’s great-niece Abigail Disney.

The petition makes clear that it objects not to tall and skinny women, but to “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.”

After addressing the growing problem of eating disorders among children younger than 12 years old (which rose 119% between 1999 and 2006), the petition concludes:

Girls have enough pressure to be thin, now the beloved Disney mouse of their childhood has to add to the message that the only good body is a tall, size 0 body? Enough already. Let’s give girls a chance to celebrate the actual bodies they have instead hating them for not fitting into a Lanvin dress. Then maybe enough girls will get together and demand dresses that look good on their actual, non-digitally altered bodies and designers will just have to become talented enough to design a dress that looks good on them.

What do you think? It should come as no surprise that “high fashion model” equals “incredibly tall and skinny”—but seeing Minnie and co. get the couture treatment is a shocking reminder of just how messed up the fashion industry is in how it only caters to a very specific body type. I’d go so far as to say that making couture versions of Minnie, Daisy, et. al. is something more fitting for an eating disorder awareness organization to do as a way to highlight the unrealistic expectations the fashion industry promotes. The fact that Barneys did it… tone deaf, anyone? I find it hard to believe that they din’t expect this backlash, unless of course the fashion industry is even more out of touch than I’d thought.

(via: Jezebel)

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