New 'Skinny Minnie' Mouse Angers Body-Image Activists

10/23/2012 at 11:00 AM ET

Minnie MouseCourtesy Barney’s

A makeover for Minnie Mouse?

Yes, and her new look — as a bone-thin supermodel for a Barneys New York holiday window display (see the image here) — is not sitting too well with some body-image experts, models and actresses like Virginia Madsen and True Blood‘s Kristin Bauer.

“The issue of body image is always prevalent and should be considered,” Ragen Chastain, a positive body image blogger and Los Angeles dance teacher, tells New York’s Daily News. Chastain launched a petition movement on change.org calling for the Madison Avenue department store to remove the image of Minnie in a ruffled Lavin mini dress, opera gloves and stilettos from its holiday display, due to premiere Nov. 14 — four days before the famous mouse’s 84th birthday.

“The message is if your body doesn’t fit into a designer dress, drastically change your body. Not, let’s insist on a designer that’s talented enough to make a dress that fits you,” insists Chastain. “That’s a dangerous message to send girls, ‘Minnie Mouse doesn’t fit into a high-fashion dress so we changed Minnie Mouse, not the high-fashion dress.'”

In a joint statement to the newspaper, Disney and Barneys defend their skinny Minnie.

“We are saddened that activists have repeatedly tried to distort a lighthearted holiday project in order to draw media attention to themselves,” the statement reads.

“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 (above) wearing the very same designer dress from the fashion show.”

But not everyone is satisfied. “To be honest,” Wilhelmina Models’ plus-size star Robyn Lawley tells the News, “I’ve always found Minnie fine as she was.” Tell us: Do you think the skinny Minnie is inappropriate? Or is the situation being blow out of proportion?

–Stephen M. Silverman

PHOTOS: OBSESSED OR HOT MESS? VOTE ON THESE DARING FASHION TRENDS

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Showing 142 comments

Kim on

What the he!!………that’s ridiculous.

SoNotHollywood on

I agree with Disney and Barneys defense. It’s a display, whoopdee doo. I am plus size but am working to lose weight. You can never make anyone happy. Everyones all about feel good about your body, don’t change blah blah. Then you have the other end of the spectrum where people are like c’mon, we gotta teach kids about being healthy and fighting childhood obesity. Everyones got an issue with something. Let em do their thing.

Terri on

That doesn’t even look like Minnie Mouse.

mrsmass on

it looks ridiculous, but at the same time, i feel like these activists are just looking for anything to complain about. if you don’t like it, don’t look.

jessica laine on

get a GRIP everyone. not everything has to be made into an issue. it is a creative spin on Minnie Mouse, she isn’t changing into this, it is an adult interpretation of her character. talk about blowing things out of proportion.

Karolyne on

It’s not that big a deal! I look at the “skinny-minnie” and laugh because my mind sees the original. It’s just a light-hearted thing..no need to be up in arms over it.

Jenny on

Ick! Kind of creepy looking.

Bev on

Why can’t Minnie Mouse walk the runway as she is?

SMR on

There’s enough pressure on girls now to be skinny – this is not appropriate!

Lisa on

It’s just perpetuating the notion that to be attractive, you must be a size 0. Most so-called “beautiful” women today are nothing more than sticks. I will take my healthy size 6 with my booty and nice boobs any day of the week :)

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