Skinny Minnie

Barney’s has given new meaning to the phrase, “Skinny Minnie.”

The high-end department store is partnering with The Walt Disney Co. for a special holiday campaign, “Electric Holiday.”

The campaign, which will be unveiled Nov. 14, features a 3D electric light show and a short film in the store’s window displays.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, the film is centered on Minnie Mouse’s fantasy to be at Paris runway shows. In the fantasy, she encounters other Disney characters, such as Goofy and Daisy Duck.

The partnership, however, has sparked quite the backlash.

This is why:


Minnie, Daisy, Goofy and the others appear not as their normal cartoon selves, but as rail-thin versions of the classics.

The Women’s Wear Daily article addresses the decision to make the characters tall and skinny:

“When we got to the moment when all Disney characters walk on the runway, there was a discussion,” Barney’s creative director Dennis Freedman said. “The standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress. There was a real moment of silence, because these characters don’t change. I said, ‘If we’re going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie,’ and they agreed. When you see Goofy, Minnie and Mickey, they are runway models.”

Consumer watchdog groups, celebrities, body image activists and even fashion industry insiders are lashing out at Barney’s and Disney, demanding the businesses return the emaciated characters to their normal size.

“Young girls are already bombarded with waif-like bodies and impossible figures, contributing to soaring cases of anorexia, bulimia, and other dangerous eating disorders. Now Disney is contributing to that pressure by using cartoon characters to promote a body image that is both unrealistic and unhealthy,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of the watchdog group, SumOfUs.

The companies defended the skinny Minnie in a statement to The New York Daily News. Activists are distorting the “lighthearted holiday project,” the companies said.

“They have deliberately ignored previously released information clearly stating this promotion is a three-minute ‘moving art’ video featuring traditional Minnie Mouse in a dreamlike sequence set in Paris where she briefly walks the runway as a model and then happily awakens as her normal self wearing the very same designer dress from the fashion show.”

What do you think? Is the skinny Minnie just a lighthearted holiday project or does the campaign take it too far?

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