Disney's Newest Film 'Reflect' Stirs Debate Online About Plus-Size Lead

Disney+ recently released a short film called Reflect starring a plus-size protagonist who loves ballet.

While the short film has received praise from critics and those pushing for more media representation, many individuals have criticized Disney for encouraging children to be overweight.

The short film, created by Walt Disney Animation Studios, was announced with a trailer on September 12 and is currently available to stream on Disney+.

Reflect features plus-size female heroine Bianca and her struggles with body dysmorphia. Part of the film shows Bianca practicing ballet past broken mirrors to symbolize overcoming her reflection and low self-esteem.

Still from Disney's short film "Reflect"
In “Reflect”—the latest original addition to season two of “Short Circuit Experimental Films” from Walt Disney Animation Studios—Bianca is a ballet dancer who overcomes doubt and fear by channeling her inner strength, grace and power. The triumphant short by director Hillary Bradfield premiered exclusively on Disney+ Sept. 14. Disney

Many Disney fans applauded the studio for the release, but others attacked Disney for releasing a film that "represents obesity."

Online Discourse

Many users took to Twitter to share their opinions on the short film, with many criticizing the protagonist's weight.

"Being overweight is not something to strive for" user @BrainSenor tweeted.

"Yup encourage an unhealthy lifestyle even more rather than addressing the issue," @afcab90 tweeted.

"There's an obesity problem in our country which costs our NHS millions of pounds every year," @leebrianfielder tweeted. "Now we're saying it's ok to be overweight & unhealthy 'cos 'everything will work out fine' in the end. What an awful example for our children. Shame on you Disney."

"You wouldn't represent anorexia, Disney, don't represent obesity either. It's wrong. #reflect #disney #BodyPositivity is a disease. Fatness is a cancer on society." @MrHreviews tweeted.

"Encouraging kids to be unhealthy," @JCGX_ tweeted.

"Why everything needs representation? Everyone acknowledges the fact that overweight people exist, but message should be to strive for healthy routine," user @s_bhatotia tweeted. "Just don't accept unhealthy routine for representation. It's like die early, instead of having healthy routine from childhood."

"Don't let your kids aspire to be physically like this person they will have serious health problems," user @FocusedPoor tweeted.

Positive Opinions

But even with the negative feedback, the overall reception of the new film has been positive. Some individuals took to Twitter and TikTok to share their experiences watching the film, with many saying the protagonist inspired them.

"Do recommend for anyone that struggles with the image they see in the mirror. So, everyone," user @vintage_katie_ tweeted. But this is especially for those of us that society shuns for having a body that doesn't match the alleged 'perfect' image."

"16 year old me needed this Disney short before I quit ballet because I didn't want to be the fat girl in class anymore," @MeganPotter_ tweeted. "I'm glad little ones will have this. 10/10 for Reflect!"