Disney. I wonder what Mr. Walt would think of what his company has become? From child stars run wild, to Princesses scantily clad and rail thin derived from fairy tales so distorted from the original that they are barely recognizable copies of the masterpiece. The marketing machine that is Disney has really outdone themselves this time in their latest collaboration with the upscale retailer Barney’s.
From what I have read and viewed, this is the plan for Barney’s holiday window. Minnie Mouse falls asleep and has a dream in which she is “model-thin” and able to wear the beautiful gowns that drape the human versions that walk the runways twice a year at New York’s fashion week.
That is her dream.
I have to be very careful not to be hypocritical here. I have a husband who works in the fashion industry, on 5th Avenue. I have brought my children to Fashions’ Night Out. I have taken them to beautiful stores, gazed at expensive clothing and every year we see the holiday windows. I am well aware of the artistic expression and talents of many of the creative people that work for these companies. They are artists. They create a fantasy world which the majority of us do not partake in.
It is up to us, the mothers and the fathers, to have an open dialogue about what true beauty is. It is NOT a size zero. It is NOT having the latest clothing. It is NOT about the color of your hair and the shade of your foundation. It is NOT about how many friends you have and where you shop. I have been careful to balance sharing in the fun side of fashion, like attending FNO this fall, with responsibility, like leaving when the time was right, when it became more about being seen than having fun.
I do believe that companies should take into consideration the young girls who see images everywhere and base their opinions of beauty, body image and self worth on them. I do not think companies should be censored or fined for their business decisions, unless they cross a line such as using underage models or breaking pornography laws. Companies like Abercrombie and Fitch and Calvin Klein have always walked a very fine line between what is advertising and what is crass trash. I believe in using my dollar as a consumer as a vote. I have never purchased anything at A&F, nor will I. Now I add Disney to my list of stores I will not spend my hard earned money at. My girls are too old for their products but I have nephews and cousins who are not.
If Barney’s goes through with this holiday window campaign, I will not visit their store this holiday season. I am sure they won’t care....I am far from their target female shopper. But I will add my voice to the outrage. I will send my daughters the message that beauty is not defined by a Visual Director sitting behind a desk at an office in Barney’s corporate headquarters.
I just finished reading the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld and the key theme that I took from this book series is that if we seek to have our beauty validated or defined by outside sources, whether it be the approval of peers, or society, we are never going to find peace and happiness with the person we see looking back in the mirror. I tell my girls over and over again, “You are a perfect YOU”.
Find your own acceptance and definition of beauty.
Do not let Barney’s or Disney define this for you.