‘Teenage me needed this’: Disney fans react as short animation Reflect tackles body dysmorphia

One fan said they wished they had seen a character like this when they were young, before they ‘quit ballet because I didn’t want to be the fat girl in class any more’

Ellie Harrison
Friday 28 October 2022 04:35 BST
Disney's Short Circuit Experimental Films Season 2 Trailer

Disney has introduced its first plus-size heroine in a new short on its streaming platform.

Reflect, which is part of Disney’s Short Circuit series of experimental films, follows Bianca, a young ballet dancer who is struggling with her reflection because of low self-esteem and body dysmorphia.

In the film, directed by Hillary Bradfield, Bianca’s teacher can be seen reminding her to have a “tight tummy!” and a “long neck!” while she stands in position at the barre.

Bianca is then seen gradually grows in confidence and steeling herself to continue with her ballet class.

Bradfield has worked as an animation artist on Frozen 2 and Encanto – the latter introduced Disney’s first princess with glasses.

Reflect arrived on Disney Plus on 14 September, but is now gaining a new online fanbase.

One tweeted: “Sixteen-year-old me needed this Disney short before I quit ballet because I didn’t want to be the fat girl in class any more. I’m glad little ones will have this. 10/10 for Reflect!”

“This is amazing!” wrote a second, while a third said: “I saw this Disney short called Reflect and it emotionally tore me up.

“It’s about a little plus-size girl doing ballet and the mirrors start to swallow her up because of her body insecurity but she destroys them by dancing anyway.”

Disney has been making efforts to improve its representation in new projects. In March, Disney-Pixar’s animated film Turning Red, which tackled periods and puberty, sparked much debate between critics and fans.

Read The Independent’s review here.

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