Last weekend I went to see the new Disney movie, Finding Dory, with a friend of mine. It was cute and funny and touching and exactly what one might expect from the sequel to Finding Nemo. Dory was the standout character from the first movie and it was a wise move to feature her in a sequel.
One of the previews we saw was for Disney’s new film Moana, the story of a Polynesian Princess. My friend and I both thought it looked cute and worth watching, and I was pleased to hear Dwayne Johnson voicing one of the characters, a demigod named Maui.
I was later dismayed to find out that a wall of complaints is already hitting the internet about this movie and it isn’t even out yet, due to Maui’s non-standard body shape.
One camp is offended that Disney is “fat shaming” all Polynesians for depicting them as looking like Maui. To be honest, I didn’t actually think Maui looked fat – just extremely dense and powerful in a cuddly sort of way. It’s true that he doesn’t particularly look like Dwayne Johnson, but it’s a voice acting part – he doesn’t need to. And why does one Polynesian character looking a certain way mean all are supposed to be seen that way? The title character Moana, also Polynesian, is a very petite size.
The other camp of complainers is whining at Disney for promoting “unhealthy lifestyles”. This always crops up and never fails to make me want to scream. Of course any glimpse of a character with a bigger body in media doing anything but focusing solely on becoming smaller is going to cause permanent damage to children. Said children will no doubt proceed immediately to their kitchens and inhale mass quantities of food if they get the slightest inkling that it’s in any way, shape, or form okay to be anything but whippet-thin. Makes perfect sense. We mustn’t allow that.
I find both of these camps of complainers to be thoroughly exhausting.
If the general public continues to be so quick to scream a multitude of complaints at every depiction of a human being that differs from cookie cutter standard then I think animators are likely to say, “to hell with it” and just go back to drawing all their characters with a waist circumference that matches that of their neck. Because that’s totally realistic and healthy.