A depiction of Minnie Mouse as a rail-thin model is drawing criticism for… (Barney's New York )
It seems innocuous enough: Minnie Mouse dreaming of being a fashion model.
But Disney and Barney's New York are getting hammered by critics who say Minnie's little daydream -- part of a film in a Barney's display -- reinforces the notion to women (and mice) that they're only attractive if they look like they haven't eaten in a few weeks.
The problem: When Minnie has her dream, she appears on the catwalk not as her normally plump self but taller and thinner -- you know, your basic underfed fashion model.
"Girls have seen Minnie Mouse as a healthy character in their lives," said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, founder of SumofUs.org, a watchdog group. "To have her image subverted like that is troubling."
In just over a week, a petition on the website has attracted about 80,000 online signatures. Similar petitions are up on other sites.
Barney's says it's all a misunderstanding.
"Viewers will recognize the Minnie they know and love, as she takes a turn on the runways of Paris and in her own mirror, wearing a custom creation from one of the world's greatest designers," the store said in a statement to the Associated Press.
It said the Minnie display "proves that true fashion lovers come in all styles and sizes."
While this might be a rodent in a teapot, I agree with those who say it's time to highlight women looking like, well, women, not some highly stylized and frankly alarming image of a person who sacrifices a healthy diet for some stick-figure body type.
The same goes for depictions of men. Seen the J. Crew catalog lately? These guys need a cookie.
Minnie, if you're reading this: We love you just the way you are.