Disney released a short film titled Reflect this week, the company’s first film to feature a plus-sized female heroine.
Available for streaming on Disney+ as part of the second season of its Short Circuit Experimental Films, Reflect follows Bianca, a plus-sized girl aspiring to be a ballet dancer.
The film addresses issues related to body dysmorphia and feelings of inadequacy due to a person’s weight, while encouraging people to persevere through such challenges.
Body dysmorphia is an all-too-common phenomenon in the U.S. According to the Cleveland Clinic, between 5 million and 10 million people are affected by this mental condition that can magnify negative feelings about “an imagined or very slight defect” in a person’s body.
Additionally, some who are afflicted by this condition may be hesitant to seek an official diagnosis, increasing the odds that many more suffer in silence.
While there has been a mixed reaction among fans online, body positivity stakeholders have praised the film.
Yours Clothing, a plus-size clothing company, said the film highlights Bianca’s “battle with her own reflection, overcoming doubt and fear by channelling her inner strength, grace and power.”
Similarly, Models of Diversity, an advocacy campaign for diversity among fashion industry models, commended Disney for producing a “powerful short film about body dysmorphia,” adding it is “exactly what kids need to be seeing.”
Broadway actress and Tony Award winner Ashlee Latimer tweeted that she would “be different” had she seen representation through characters like Bianca as a child.
The release of Reflect comes as Disney+ readies its new ad tiers for a launch in early December. The streaming platform is battling Netflix and other connected TV services for subscribers while also balancing the interests of marketers seeking to advertise on the platform.