Any moment now, the good folks at lingerie label Curvy Kate — which has done as much as any fashion brand to create a positive new paradigm for marketing to full-figured women — will be served with an ominous envelope from the legal department at Walt Disney Studios.
It’ll be a cease-and-desist order, full of thunderous verbiage and promising to bring the full resources of the world’s most powerful pedlar of fairytale stereotypes against the UK label unless it abandons its scandalous campaign that depicts Disney’s iconic princesses as … fat.
Yes, in one of those delicious examples of long-overdue guerrilla marketing, Curvy Kate last week gave seven of Disney’s most idolized heroines a plus-size makeover, replicating Disney’s own artwork to show Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel and others as they might appear in the real world — and with a few extra pounds.
“We thought it was high time we saw some kick-ass Princesses that celebrate diversity and beauty in all its forms,” the brand behind the popular Star-in-a-Bra competition wrote in a blog post last week, “so we made a few body-positive tweaks to everyone’s Disney favourites.”
The accompanying gallery shows the “Curvy Kate Princesses” in familiar poses, but stripped of their conventional costumes and dressed only in styles from Curvy Kate‘s new spring lingerie collection.
Curvy Kate doesn’t, however, present updated versions of all of the “official” Disney Princesses (above) — just those that are the most anachronistic or which, like Jasmine and Pocahontas, perpetuated questionable ethno-cultural stereotypes. Thus, the more modern and assertive of Disney’s recent heroines, like Anna (Frozen), Merida (Brave) and Mulan, get a pass.
And the point here isn’t to show just bigger versions of these ubiquitous stereotypes, just more realistic ones. Most of the Curvy Kate Princess have noticably different body proportions than the Disney originals, but there’s a mix of shapes here along with some modern touches that many women will relate to — Tiana from The Princess and the Frog gets a hefty booty; Jasmine is covered in tattoos; and Snow White ditches the black bob hairstyle for a cool ultramarine wave.
Disney, of course, is a frequent target of criticism for its depiction of cartoon heroines that fuel the fantasies of young girls everywhere and contribute to widespread body-image insecurities. Earlier this year, it faced yet another barrage of complaint for the painfully pinched waist of the title character in the live-action film version of Cinderella.
Disney is also renowned for its vigilant protection of its trademarks, so it would not be surprising to see these images vanish from the Curvy Kate website one day soon. Which is too bad, since this is the kind of subversive messaging that can help offset the pervasive body-image brainwashing that is the least admirable aspect of the Disney realm.
So, until their C&D letter arrives in our mailbox, here’s the full gallery of Curvy Kate’s modernized princesses.