I was disheartened to hear about Disney’s exhibit to promote healthy habits by denigrating the very people the exhibit was aimed at–the young children who go to The Happiest Place On Earth for vacation. You can check out these blog posts to see the details: here and here.
However, Disney has changed their minds and the exhibit is closed while they rework it.
Can you imagine going on vacation, and being barraged with the message that there is something wrong with you? You take your children to Disney and have them face images of you labelled ” The Glutton,” “Lead Bottom,” and “Snacker.” Yup, I resemble “Snacker!”
Suddenly Disney is just a very high-priced place of torture. As the parent resembling The Villians, you feel shame and dismay. Even if you are in perfect health, albeit obese. Even if you’ve tried and tried to lose weight. Even if you’ve lost and gained weight over and over again. You, the bank for this trip, are also the very epitome of a bad example Disney is thrusting at your children.
What if your child resembles one of The Villians? As a parent, my message has always been you are perfectly fine as you are, people are all different, eat your fruits and vegetables, which I reinforce by providing a healthy array of food. But now Disney is telling my overweight child that they aren’t ok; they are The Villian.
As a parent, I don’t want Disney sending these messages to my children. I don’t want to take my kids to Disney and have them feel bad about themselves. I, especially, don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a vacation where the majority of my family will be viewed as The Villians simply for how we look.
I had a hard time articulating in 140 characters to someone on Twitter why this exhibit was a bad idea. She saw Disney promoting a healthful message. She didn’t see that anything was wrong with portraying The Villians as Disney did. Unfortunately, lots of people see it that way. And they see nothing wrong with condemning people simply for how they look, without considering what lies underneath the obesity. Not all fat people are unhealthy. Ragen Chastain over at Dances with Fat does a much better job of breaking things down than I do, so I refer you to her blog.
Now that Disney has re-thought their exhibit, I hope many other people rethink their prejudices. Are the fat people in their lives really The Villians?