Disney introduced its first plus-size heroine, a ballerina named Bianca, who struggles to find her confidence and deal with her body dysmorphia.
The heroine is featured in “Reflect,” a short film released as part of Disney’s “Short Circuit” series, which includes various experimental shorts.
In the preview, Bianca attends her ballet class, alongside very skinny classmates and an instructor. As she looks in the mirror, it cracks and the background fades. Many fans have taken this footage to mean that Bianca suffers from body dysmorphia.
Body dysmorphia “is a mental health condition in which you can’t stop thinking about your appearance – a flaw that seems minor or cannot be seen by others.” The condition can lead to intense focus on appearance and frequent checking in the mirror.
This kind of intricate and heartfelt portrayal of the real-life pressures young women face is somewhat groundbreaking for Disney, which often portrays tall characters as extras or even villains, while princesses and heroines are usually incredibly thin (though that’s certainly started to change with the introduction of characters like Moana and the “Encanto” siblings, Luisa and Mirabel, all of whom have more realistic and diverse body types.)
But Bianca’s story in particular has struck a chord with fans on social media, many testify on the Tik Tok social network and do not hesitate to share their relationship with this story. One woman wrote, “Growing up, I was always the biggest girl in my ballet classes. I’d give anything to show that to me younger and tell her it’s okay.”