Minnie Mouse has been stretched and whittled into a 5-foot-11, size 0, supermodel in the Barney's New York holiday window show. When dress designs didn't fit her body, they chose to change the body rather than change the dress. Critics howled that it sends the wrong message to girls who are already struggling with body image, eating disorders and self-acceptance.
In a film for the "Electric Holiday" display, Minnie daydreams she's skinny and walking down a Paris runway in a Lanvin dress. "The standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress," Barney's creative director Dennis Freedman told Women's Wear Daily. "I said, 'If we're going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie,' and they agreed."
Activist Ragen Chastain launched a petition at Change.org that has drawn more than 140,000 supporters. Another petition on SumOfUs.org has more than 80,000 signatures.
Barney's and Disney, meanwhile, defended the project by saying that Minnie actually awakens as her normal self wearing the same designer dress.
Sources: www.bitchmagazine.org, change.org, www.wwd.com
Compiled by Nancy B. Olsen
Who is Stella today? An Omaha third-grader, Stella Ehrhart, has been dressing for school as a different historical figure every day for more than a year. Inspired by the book "100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century," her subjects have included Joan Baez, Rosa Parks, Georgia O'Keefe, Princess Grace, Billie Holiday and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Ky.
According to the Omaha World Herald, Stella, 8, asked: "Mom, was I her on Friday?" and pointed to a picture of Sandra Day O'Connor. "No," answered her mother. "You were Queen Elizabeth."
Power of the vote Women made their votes count in the milestone 2012 elections, determining the outcome in four marriage equality measures-including Minnesota's-and in races for president and the U.S. Senate, according to exit polls. Of note:
In Minnesota, 56% of women and 46% of men voted no on a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Gender gap: 10%
In Maine, Washington state and Maryland, women voted for marriage equality by larger margins than men. Gender gap: 14%, 8% and 7%, respectively.
President Barack Obama won 55% of women's votes and 45% of men's votes. If only men had voted, Gov. Mitt Romney would have won 52% to 44%. Gender gap: 10%
Elizabeth Warren was elected a Massachusetts senator with 59% of women's votes to 47% of men's votes. She becomes one of 20 women in the 100-member Senate, the most in history. Gender gap: 12% www.feminist.org
"Save the Boobs?" Pornhub.com, an adult website, announced a fundraiser for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. For every 30 "small tits" or "big tits" video viewed, the site promised to donate one cent to breast cancer research. By the end of the month, nearly 75 million views were recorded on the site's counter.
"The sexualization ... is not helping research; it's not helping women in treatment," advocate and breast cancer survivor Stef Woods told USA Today. "I don't believe someone turning to an adult video will then turn to the women in their lives and say 'OK, let's talk about self exams and let's make sure mammograms are scheduled.'"
Sources: www.bitchmagazine.org, www.USAToday.com
Even more pink washing? Businesses are still trotting out tired "pink" stereotypes. Here are a couple of gems for today's gal on the go:
The car: The Honda Fit She's is not only pink, it has an air conditioner that blasts treated air for women's skin. Even the apostrophe in "She's" is designed as a heart. Sorry, Americans. This model-which also comes in brown and white tones apparently to match the color of eye shadow-is only available in Japan.
The brewski: Chick Premium Light Beer says it's the only American beer created just for women. With only 97 calories and 3.5 carbs, it is lightly carbonated "because women generally aren't as fond of belching as men are," the company says.
Sources: www.Honda.com, www.chickbeer.com