Disney, no stranger to criticism that it perpetuates troubling gender dynamics, has decided that one of its most iconic characters needs a makeover. After decades as a beloved children’s character, Minnie Mouse will get “leggy, modern and glamorous” thanks to a partnership with Forever 21.
Disney did not come right out and say anything was wrong with the “old” Minnie Mouse per se, but the makeover implies plenty. The “new” Minnie is stretched and has become a well-traveled fashionista who knows her way around the fashion capitals of London, Paris and Tokyo.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with taking a fresh stab at an old favorite, especially as American culture has evolved since Minnie’s introduction. But our images of girlhood have come a long way and don’t have to include our daughters as thin-spired consumers. This is especially true given the target audience for Minnie Mouse. She’s not popular with the tween set. She’s popular with the preschoolers.
While the move may seem harmless, it is yet another reminder of the relentless onslaught of sex and consumerism facing our daughters. Minnie Mouse was one of the few characters that had remained, well, child-like. Just like Dora the Explorer though she has become a marketing vehicle, which means she must push the image that sells the most products.
I wonder how long till we see Mickey’s makeover?
photo courtesy of Jeff Christiansen via Flickr