Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Entertainment

October 25, 2012

Skinny Minnie: Disney fave gets Barneys makeover

NEW YORK (AP) — Did Minnie Mouse do a catwalk cleanse?

For a brief moment in Barneys New York's upcoming holiday window display, Minnie becomes a long, lean high-fashion model — and the skinny Minnie is drawing some criticism.

The Barneys display puts Disney characters on the runway in front of animated versions of industry bigwigs in a short film that features Minnie's daydream sequence strutting her stuff in Paris in a hot-pink, ruffle-covered Lanvin dress.

Runway Minnie gets only a few seconds of face time, but when she does, she transforms into a model who is tall and thin with longer legs, leaner arms and daintier gloved hands than the polkadot-loving character who typically embraces her curves from head to toe. Daisy Duck, Cruella De Vil and Goofy get similar insta-slim treatments.

For most of the film, however, Minnie and crew look their usual selves. Minnie has her big bows, round face and signature wide-width pumps.

"Viewers will recognize the Minnie they know and love, as she takes a turn on the runways of Paris and in her own mirror, wearing a custom creation from one of the world's greatest designers," Barneys said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Some of the early highly stylized fashion illustrations have garnered significant attention, however the reality is Disney's Minnie Mouse proves that true fashion lovers come in all styles and sizes."

Still, the makeover has prompted several online petitions targeting Barneys and Disney for perpetuating the skinny-model image that the fashion industry has been criticized for many times over.

One of the louder voices is Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director and founder of SumofUs.org, a consumer watchdog group. In just over a week, the SumofUs.org petition has attracted close to 80,000 online "signatures." There are a half-dozen additional petitions up on Change.org, including one with more than 135,000 supporters. It was launched by Ragen Chastain, who self-published the book "Fat: The Owners Manual — Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World with Your Health, Happiness and a Sense of Humor Intact."

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