Disney’s ‘Reflect’ Hosts The First Plus-Size Protagonist Debate

“Reflect,” Disney’s first plus-sized female protagonist, is drawing praise and provoking a backlash. The 2-minute movie is about a young ballerina who struggles with her body image.

On Twitter, author and MSNBC opinion columnist Evette Dionne said, “No plus-size heroine in an emotional film about body dysmorphia. Please give fat people new stories.”

Hillary Bradfield, director of “Encanto” and “Frozen II,” told Disney+ in an interview that she based the film on her own experiences.


Bradfield said, “I feel that I am a very body-positive person in principle, but when it’s on a personal level, it’s a lot harder to be body-positive.”

A happy ending awaits with “Reflect.” The protagonist, Bianca, overcomes her fears and insecurities.

Tigress Osborn, chair of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, praises Disney for portraying weight bias in dance. Osborn told TODAY Parents, “It’s a beautiful story of an individual fat dancer’s experience,” noting that it’s important to normalize the word “fat.”

Disney and Pixar have historically portrayed fat as lazy, stupid, unintelligent, or evil. Osborn said “Reflect” is a step forward since it goes against the idea that fat people put their lives on hold until they lose weight.


Dance and service organization Big Moves aims to empower people of all sizes to get into the studio. Matilda St. John and Jessica Erin Judd, co-directors of Big Moves and EmFATic DANCE in the San Francisco Bay Area, find “Reflect” representative of progress. St. John and Judd applauded Disney for portraying a thin dancer as a skilled and joyous performer.

Judd and St. John wrote, “Big Moves was founded partially on the premise that people aren’t used to seeing these images, and they’re incredibly normalizing and powerful. Performers gain their greatest strength and power when they can fully unfurl themselves, occupy and move through space.”

Nonetheless, they point out body positivity is not enough. Streaming of “Reflect” began on Sept. 14. It is the seventh episode of Short Circuit Season Two.