Dear Disney: It's Time For A Plus-Size Princess

When we look back on our favorite childhood movies, many of us probably think fondly of Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty. The common denominator in all of those movies isn't just a princess, but a thin princess.
These animated women were supposed to be the quintessential ideal of beauty — I mean, Beauty And The Beast's protagonist's name, Belle, literally translates to "beauty." So imagine how it'd feel to be a plus size girl who grows up watching only skinny women going on adventures and falling in love. It could easily leave the impression that happily ever afters aren't meant for girls who look like them.
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That's why body positive bloggers Michelle Elman and Amy Wooldridge are calling out to Disney to finally make a story about a fat princess. The two star in a new plus size princess photoshoot to make their point that princesses can come in all shapes and sizes.

WE NEED A FAT PRINCESS. Growing up with Disney, my heart hurt a little. None of them looked like me but you know what made me feel worse? Scar from the lion king. This is just the beginning of the life long stigma against scars. Think about how many villains have scars! Then I got older, and I got bigger with each surgery. At 7, my head and stomach were already covered in scars and I was already bigger than my friends. Disney princesses are seen as the epitome of beauty and even as a young girl, I quickly learnt that meant I wasn’t beautiful. This was emphasised even more when we shopped for princess birthday parties. There were never any in my size. Things haven’t really changed. It was sooo hard for @amyeloisew and I to find these in our sizes. I actually wanted to be jasmine so I could be a Scarred princess but no surprises that people still continue to assume fat women don’t wear crop tops. How incredible would it be for little kids to grow up and instead of saying “I want to look like her!”, they could say “wow she looks like me!”. How incredible would it be if the epitome of beauty and the envy of many little girls wasn’t so equated to thinness? Until @disney makes that happen, Amy and I would be honoured to fill the childhood dream you never knew you wanted of having a fat (and Scarred, although you can’t see it!) princess. #ScarredNotScared 📷: @the_feeding_of_the_fox

A post shared by Michelle Elman (@scarrednotscared) on

So there was an article written about us being fat (and a Scarred) Disney princesses on a health website, posing it as a question up for debate. It makes me think why every other article written about me has been written as a statement but this was a question. But there was something else that got my attention, throughout the article, they called us “fat” even in the title, they called us “fat” princesses. Amy @amyeloisew and I are not “fat”. We are fat. Fat is not a dirty word. I want to address the fact that people will assume a fat princess will promote obesity? It’s going to come since people also think fat people existing promotes obesity. A BIG FAT NO. Representing bodies is simply that, representation. Fat people deserve representation because fat people exist and pretending in your cartoons and tv shows that we don’t exist has never helped anyone. We don’t need more shame and silence around fatness, we need to be seen, heard, represented and destigmatised. I also believe everyone deserves to feel beautiful. Yes, beauty should not matter but in our world it does and I personally believe people stop caring whether they are beautiful, when they feel beautiful so I want to make it a priority that everyone FEELS beautiful. Yes, even fat people. Yes, even unhealthy people. And no, those two are not equivalent. It’s this whole health debate right? First of all, let’s stop with this thin = healthy. Second of all, would it be so bad to have an unhealthy princess? I wish I felt beautiful lying in a hospital bed. It’s not glamorising illness. Instead, it’s telling young kids everywhere that their worth and beauty is defined so much more than simply their health. I think that would make a remarkable Disney movie. Health is not a choice remember, it’s a privilege. And it’s frankly a toss of the coin that I ended up with 15 surgeries before the age of 19, and you didn’t. All surgeries were not weight related and all surgeries caused weight gain. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Life saving surgeries that made me live longer, also made me fatter. #ScarredNotScared • 📷: @the_feeding_of_the_fox

A post shared by Michelle Elman (@scarrednotscared) on

"Growing up with Disney, my heart hurt a little," Elman, dressed as Snow White, wrote on her Instagram page. "None of them looked like me"
Wooldridge wrote a similar message on her Instagram page, noting that she "would stare, wide-eyed at the princesses on the screen" when she was a little girl. Although she grew up to understand that the bodies Disney represents are just one of many ways to be beautiful, Wooldridge wrote that movies and television need to do better, not only at representing people of size, but also people who fall into other minority groups.
"In all honesty, I’m tired of seeing the same bodies represented again and again," she wrote. "It’s time we had a fat princess. A princess with scars. A trans princess. A princess with a disability. A princess that hasn’t had her body drawn from the same stencil as all the others."
Elman agrees. "Alongside size diversity, we also need to be seeing more intersectionality when it comes to race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability," she tells Refinery29. "I think a plus princess would be great progress to advance the acceptance of all bodies and prove that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and will help fight this appearance-based culture that we live in."
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It's an important point, and we hope that Disney and other companies that create these happily ever afters are listening. As far as we've come with representation of all kinds of bodies in the media in the last few years, there has yet to be a plus size princess — at least, one that wasn't problematic.
It's high time we see a fat princess on the silver screen.
Refinery29 has reached out to Elman and will update this story when we receive a response.
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