This past holiday season, Barney’s New York stores partnered with Disney to create their holiday window display. The display, called Electric Holiday, featured a distorted version of one of America’s iconic characters, Minnie Mouse. Minnie, who was wearing a Lanvin dress, was stretched twice her height to appear 5′ 11” and the mouses normally jolly, curvy body was distorted to a size 0.
The patients and staff at Walden’s South Windsor, CT Clinic were outraged when they saw the advertising campaign and pictures of “Skinny” Minnie posted on the website Change.org. For this reason, they decided to write Barney’s a letter explaining how they felt. (see letter below)
Attn: Matthew Reed
Vice President of Display
We as a group are writing from the Walden Behavioral Care facility where we are in treatment for eating disorders. We have recently become aware of a certain ad campaign of yours which portrays Minnie Mouse in a Lanvin dress. Our concern with this ad is that Minnie’s body has been drastically altered to conform to the average super model’s dimensions. We, as a group, are comprised of women ranging from age 17 to middle age and are all angered by your misuse of a beloved children’s icon to promote a product in a way that also promotes distorted body image. The mothers in our group have expressed concerns about what messages their children will draw from seeing familiar characters transformed in this manner. We fear that young girls who view this image will conclude that they must look a certain way in order to be considered beautiful even if their health suffers in the process. We would have hoped that a company of your influence would be doing more to promote acceptance of a wide range of figures and body types. We would appreciate seeing a greater diversity of body sizes in your collections and also in your advertising. We hope that in the future you give greater consideration to the impact and consequences that your ad campaigns have on others.
The concerned patients of Walden Behavioral Care