It’s been a while since I’ve done another media-literacy study of plus representation in media but after this unplanned hiatus I’m back with some new content for this ongoing series. So for this come-back I thought it was only fitting to finally deliver on a promised post – my review of “Shrek.”
Image Credit : DreamWorks
Yes, the “Shrek” franchise received it fame for being the most anti-fairy tale family film ever conceived though it does play with many of the tropes, many of which were created by Disney, in order to make fun of them. However, the franchise is noteworthy for depicting a very real relationship in an animated feature with characters that are visibly plus. (Now as an adult I can’t help but wonder if this is meant to convey that only “average people” have relationship problems that need solving, but that is a discussion for another time and place.) Continue reading →
It’s been a while since my last post and if you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, you know about the unexpected death of my beloved laptop. (Poor thing was only 2 years old…) However, thanks to my good friend and mentor, I now have a borrowed laptop to work on which has allowed me access to resume work on my blog. And I’m happy to report that I have a few outfit posts in the works as well so stay tuned for that. That said, let’s move on to today’s discussion: animated plus size characters.
Animation is an often snubbed form of media as it is usually geared towards children. For the most part this is our first introduction to Western standards of beauty (or at least it is here in the US) with fat bodies not being the norm. These often negative portrayals, though many are brief, tend to perpetuate negative stereotypes and body image perception, even more than live action portrayals. Media on a whole reflects society’s standards and beliefs of body image, but animators usually exaggerate it as they see fit, usually for a “comedic effect.”
I present to you Exhibit A.
So when we are continuously fed this idea that being bigger makes a plus size person undesirable and the punchline to a joke, it limits what they are capable of which is not a message you’d want for any kid. Fortunately, there were a few positive representations that do make it to the screen that helps change this visual practice. By “positive” characters I mean that their characterizations and story lines are not specially linked to their size or limited to archetypes like comedic relief, instead they are truly fleshed out personalities. As one can expect these characters had brief appearances in their respective films or series, but they do leave quite the impression as they challenge the controlled image of what a plus size character is. With that in mind, here are my top 5 positive animated plus size characters.
**It stands to reason that there are spoilers ahead, so consider yourself warned.**
Disclaimer: This list is completely made up of female characters, however, I am considering making another list specifically about plus size men in the near future.
The hashtag droptheplus has bought widespread attention as to whether or not women larger than a size 10 should be called/considered plus size as well as whether or not the term “plus size” should be dropped entirely. Personally, I have made my peace with being considered “plus- size” and really the only negative stigma I associate with the term are some of the fashions that are reminiscent of animal print, bedazzled maternity-inspired wear pushed to plus-size consumers with the lie, “Look we tried and you didn’t bite.”
Though created to simply describe clothing bigger than the acceptable straight size ideals, the term still holds incredibly negative associations regardless of how far the body positive movement has gone in the past decade. Our culture vilifies fat and fatness due to being linked to allusions of laziness, and ugliness. It leads to assumptions of one’s personality and behaviors as such a woman with fat* is one who clearly does not care about their appearance or attracting potential partners. They are the ones that have (supposedly) given up, and are responsible for making obesity an epidemic. Thus, plus-size is not a celebratory term, but rather a derogatory one that has lead to an increased fear of being recognized as such. Continue reading →