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When Barneys announced that it would feature extra tall and extra skinny versions of Disney cartoons in its holiday windows, positive body image activists accused the department store of "adding to the tremendous pressure on young girls and women to attain photoshop perfection." One activist in particular, a Los Angeles-based dance teacher, started a petition on Change.org that has over 133,000 signatures.
Yesterday, Barneys and Disney released a joint statement, the gist of which was basically "everybody chill out." More specifically, it begins with this: "We are saddened that activists have repeatedly tried to distort a lighthearted holiday project in order to draw media attention to themselves."
In the statement, Barneys continues to explain the concept of their Electric Holiday windows, which will include a short film of Minnie Mouse having a dream that she's a model on the Paris runways:
They have deliberately ignored previously released information clearly stating this promotion is a three-minute 'moving art' video featuring traditional Minnie Mouse in a dreamlike sequence set in Paris where she briefly walks the runway as a model and then happily awakens as her normal self wearing the very same designer dress from the fashion show."
However, that doesn't really change the fact that Barneys' Dennis Freedman explicitly told WWD that "the standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress." He adds that while working with the animators on the film, "There was a moment of silence, because these characters don't change. I said, 'If we're going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie,' and they agreed. When you see Goofy, Minnie and Mickey, they are runway models."
· Barneys' decision to turn Minnie into a rail-thin model draws outrage [NYDN]
· Barneys' Skinny Minnie Under Fire From Body Image Activist [Racked NY]
· Minnie Mouse Will Wear Lanvin at Barneys This Christmas [Racked NY]