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Thin privilege in the Disney Store

This past weekend, I was in the huge Disney Store in Times Square, NYC. I was buying a present for my daughter in the children’s section (more like an entire floor!) when I overheard a family talking. The mother & father had two beautiful little girls, I’m guessing about 5 & 7, both of whom were very excited about being allowed to choose a dress to take home. The younger girl trotted right over & picked out an absolutely beautiful Rapunzel wedding dress. I ended up buying the same dress for my daughter because it was just so lovely. Upon seeing this, the older girl decided she wanted the same one too - but after looking through the rack, her mother gently told her that her size was unavailable.

"That’s OK, (sister) got that one, so I should get something different anyway."

Belle was the next choice. Again, unavailable. Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora… all unavailable. Frustrated, her father asked an employee if any of the dresses were available in a size 14.

"Sorry, sir, the little girl dresses only go up to a 10."

My heart broke for this little girl. There would be no dress for her because, according to Disney, little girls bigger than a size 10 don’t get to be princesses. We can’t have fat little girls thinking they’re beautiful, special, or worthy of the same treatment as thin little girls, can we?

As the family walked around the store, the younger daughter had her dress, with matching shoes, tiara, and wand. The older daughter had a backpack, an umbrella, a tiara, and a Minnie playset. They were in line to check out when the older girl noticed two other girls get in line, both of whom were holding the same dress she had wanted to have and had been unable to. She started to cry.

"I know you’re disappointed, honey, but we all feel disappointed sometimes. Be a big girl now and we’ll talk about it later."

The crying turned into sobbing.

"We’ve talked about how we behave when we’re out. This is your warning. If you don’t stop behaving this way, you’ll have to leave the store without buying anything today."

Of course, the kid couldn’t stop. I have never seen parents actually follow through with this sort of threat before, and I’m still not sure whether I feel tremendous respect or tremendous animosity for these people, but when they got up to the register and the little girl was still crying, they actually gave her items to the cashier to put away and only purchased the outfit for the younger daughter.

My concern is that the little girl will feel that she’s being punished for being fat, both by her parents and by Disney.

(Incidentally, when choosing a T-shirt for myself, I got to select from the shirts that were nicely hung up on hangers. When choosing one for my mom, I had to select from the shirts that were rolled up and tossed in bins underneath the hanging shirts - because only shirts in size XL and smaller are worthy of hangers.)

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    I was always big. I’m not as big as I was but still. And when you’re a big girl it’s so hard to find clothes in general...
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