Moana is already joining the Disney princesses unaccompanied by a love interest. Now, the creative team behind the highly anticipated animated film has explained that Moana's body type will also set her apart from Belle, Cinderella, and the rest of the gang. “That was a deliberate attempt, partly inspired by wanting her to be different,” Moana co-director John Musker told BuzzFeed. "And then we wanted her to be an action hero, capable of action.” Musker went on to explain, “Even the visual development drawings we had done and stuff, based on drawings of people in the South Pacific… it just seemed right for this character to have her look like she could physically hold her own for what kind of stunts we wanted her to do, and the physicality of the role."
It's certainly refreshing to see a different kind of female body type highlighted in the upcoming movie, but will Moana really be all that different from the princesses who came before her? Her waistline certainly looks pretty slim in the stills from the film, and she only looks more "athletic" and "normal" when compared to the hypersexualized (and teenage) princesses of Disney's past, who have comical body proportions.
This isn't the first time the body composition of a Moana character has been the topic of discussion. Some have criticized the film's depiction of Maui, a Polynesian demigod (voiced by Dwayne Johnson). Detractors say the character appears obese, which they claim portrays a negative stereotype of Polynesians. Others, however, point out Maui appears solid and muscular, just as the demigod would have been described.
Moana is scheduled to be released on November 23.