02/06/2014 11:18 am ET Updated Apr 08, 2014

Princess Shape-Up at Disney

"Change happens when the pain of not changing becomes greater than the change itself, that's when change happens." -- original author unknown

Thanks to a gutsy, brave, and curvy teen, Disney has 11,000 votes (and counting) for a more realistic princess to add to their line of royalty.

Summoning the support from like minded moms, aunts, sisters, fathers, brothers, uncles, friends, and girls her own age, Jewel Moore, author of the petition, has touched a lightening rod in our society involving the land where dreams are made of.

Not long ago, moms around the world lead the charge to set BRAVE's Merida, Disney's wildly popular unconventional princess, free from being transformed and streamlined into what I call, the DPBF (Disney Princess Beauty Formula). The throngs said, "NO!", "leave her alone!" and thankfully, Disney took note and left the flaming haired unkempt gutsy-gal princess alone. People cheered. We got our happy ending.

I applaud Jewel's recently bold stand to have a princess more reflective of her, her friends and millions of other girls across America. Her a statement sparked interest from both sides of the issue, turning the nation's press once again to the beauty debate.

Question to ponder: Why do we all feel we need to fit through the eye of a needle to be considered beautiful and feel banished or rejected if we can't?

What concerns me the most are all the young viewers (regardless of their size) who have repeated exposure to princess themed Disney movies, without a variety of beauty in ethnicity and size represented. Yes, BRAVE was and will always be near and dear to our hearts, however all but one princess continues to reflect a very narrow, unrealistic and limited ideal of beauty. How does that impact a young girl's developing mind and body image, if their own reflection is vastly different to that being repeatedly reflected at them?

Question to ponder: Are our children being entertained or is there a subliminal lesson being taught throughout their entertainment vehicles that's not as empowering as you'd hoped, and possibly harmful to their self esteem?

Instead of rubbing salt into the wounds of those buying tickets, could the entertainment industry be inflicting more harm by not knowing who their audience is? With all the market research done, pleading ignorance is no longer acceptable. It's time that the entertainment and movie industries -- anyone who creates and distributes content to a younger demographic --brush up on what their viewer's lives are like and what issues they need to be aware of while they're developing a project. It's a different world out there for a kid, where life isn't always cool or certainly dreamlike.

Eating disorders and obesity are at epidemic proportions and raging right before our eyes. Imagine that, at two ends of the spectrum, kids are not feeling good about themselves and considering pretty heavy alternatives. Dig in and walk in their shoes for a moment. It's not a pretty picture. It can be down right horrible when you add bullying into the mix for any little infraction as a pre-teen and teenager these days. When these kids go to the movies, they look to escape like everyone else, to get a break from it all, to be entertained. But even there, the harshness of not fitting in and sadly being the last laugh in a story line relentlessly continues. For youth today, a more personal war is being waged and they really need us to listen, care and do something about it.

Studies show 9 in 10 girls say the fashion industry (89 percent) and/or the media (88 percent) place a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin and kids are now being encouraged to be on the look out for poor media representation for kids and people.


There are 3 God given basic body types:

Ecotmorphs (angular- more thin),

Mesomorph (muscular) and

Enodomorph (more rounded)

Question to ponder: Why is beauty only seen through one (ectomorphic) lens, often times with disproportionate waist to hip and over blown bust measurements? Why not represent princesses via the three types shown above in their beautiful, healthy, strong and fit forms?

Inserting an obese princess is not what's being asked for, but a larger, healthier more realistic, normalized beauty version of what currently exists. Then together, let them reign!

I feel strongly it's up to us to help our children as much as we can to see themselves as acceptable, cool, unique and righteous in all the ways they are. (Just in case you're wondering, I'm not a fan of every child getting a medal on race day). This clearly is different and game changing for a young person's life, starting early on with the messages they receive from movies and the entertainment they absorb. It's our responsibility to help them choose wisely the right messages that build them up rather than tear them down or movies that never include them or their friends.

From the ignorant to the compassionate and the well informed, Jewel has touched a deep rooted nerve that runs throughout our culture regarding beauty and who gets to play in the kingdom. Regardless, change is in the air and women, girls and concerned men are effectively using their social media outlets to air their opinions. Clearly a call for change is here and to be taken seriously, if not who knows what can happen? The incredible power of a group of women (and one gutsy, emboldened girl) should not be scoffed at or ignored.

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Girl Scouts of the USA/Girl Scout Research Institute: Girl Scouts of the USA and The Dove Self-Esteem Fund, 2010