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Body dysmorphia in the Disney short film "Reflect"

The protagonist of the short film is the production company's first plus-size heroine and has to deal with a different body than her schoolmates

Body dysmorphia in the Disney short film Reflect The protagonist of the short film is the production company's first plus-size heroine and has to deal with a different body than her schoolmates

After decades in which its heroines were all white, skinny and mostly blonde, Disney is making an effort to bring more and more inclusive themes and characters to the screen, such as the live-action of The Little Mermaid played by a black actress or Red, the company's first feature film about menstruation. Short Circuit, the series of experimental films focusing on the issue of body image, the importance of self-acceptance and self-esteem, now in its second season, includes the brand new Reflect. The protagonist of this short film directed by Hillary Bradfield, story artist already working on Frozen 2 and Encanto, is called Bianca, she is 13 years old and dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. In short, she is a young girl like many others, except that when she does the exercises at the barre, in front of the mirror, surrounded by the other students, all thinner than her, she feels inadequate, wrong, so much so that while the teacher repeats "Narrow belly, long neck", she sees her reflection break to symbolize the broken way in which she perceives her own body. Bianca suffers from body dimorphism, a condition that the Mayo Clinic defines as "a mental health condition in which you cannot stop thinking about one or more perceived flaws or imperfections in your appearance - a flaw that seems minor or cannot be seen by others"

@retrocosygamer It’s available on Disney + and shows how she battles body dysmorphia #plussizedisney #disneyprincess #plussizerepresentation After LIKE - Short Ver. - IVE

Every day she looks at herself, constantly body-checking, and the image she perceives is not only far removed from the strict standards imposed by the school where she studies, but also amplifies her vision of her own supposed flaws to the point where they become a toxic and sometimes paralyzing obsession. Bianca, however, does not let herself be discouraged and continues to dance, fighting that distorted reflection and managing to "overcome doubts and fears by channelling her inner strength, grace and power"

@milkyywaves__ This plus size Disney ballet dancer will mean so much to so many people. This piece is part of Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Circuit Experimental Films and is an animated short called Reflect #disney #disneyanimation #waltdisneystudios #disneyshort #animation #plussize #bodypositivity #milkyywaves__ agony - -

As soon as the first scenes of Reflect appeared online they went viral, particularly on Twitter and TikTok where many users shared them, commented positively and also reported their own personal experiences. Seeing Disney's first plus-size heroine and her battle against body dimorphism, some wrote messages such as "I just watched Reflect on Disney+ and it portrays body positivity and exactly how I felt as a child and now so I hate the way I look, but watching it can help me realise it's OK to be myself"; "She looks exactly like me when I was her age! I found myself in the same situation during dance lessons"; "As someone who has faced and still faces this problem, it is very comforting to see that it is finally being represented"; or "I wish I could have seen this when I was younger! But I am so happy that things are changing!".

All of us growing up have internalized toxic expectations of our bodies and for many, this discomfort has turned into actual body dimorphism, a demon that in the digital age (which forces us to constantly compare ourselves with others and with often 'perfect' images) becomes even more dangerous and can only be defeated with a lot of work on ourselves. For this reason, Reflect sends out a universal message of body positivity, marking an important first step for the representation of non-standardized bodies in the world of animation and for many women who felt that their appearance did not correspond to society's expectations.