Minnie

An Open Letter to Minnie Mouse

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Dear Minnie,

I know it’s been a while since we last spent any quality time together. We used to have a great time when we were younger, but then we grew apart. I went to college, moved away, got a job, and I’ll admit – I neglected our relationship. And for that I’m sorry, because now I feel like I have to be totally honest with you and tell you some things that you probably won’t want to hear, and would definitely be easier coming from a close friend.

I know you’ve always been career-minded, and I know being second-tier to Mickey and the rest of the boys was always frustrating for you. I get that. But I think you’ve gone too far in pursuing success at any cost – and I’m worried now that you’re damaging your health.

I think you’re taking advice from the wrong kind of people, now that you’re trying to make it big. The Barney’s show is one heck of a coup, but in all honesty, I’m not sure it’s worth it. I don’t know what they said to you before you signed up for that, but I’m guessing it was something along the lines of “you’re a nice girl, Minnie, but you’re just a little too overweight to have mainstream appeal.”

Maybe they even put it like our dear friend Kenneth Krause to Jennifer Livingston and told you that “you’ve got a responsibility to young girls to make sure you’re thin, so that you can be a healthy role model.”

Either way, whatever the words whispered in your ear, they did the trick. You used to look gorgeous, healthy and happy, like this:

But I saw this picture of you the other day, and my God – you’ve changed:

You know how passionately against body snarking I am – fat or thin, I don’t think anybody should have to suffer jibes about their weight, height, or size. But Jesus, Minnie, look at you. You look ill. Not only that – but you don’t look anywhere near as happy. I know you’re a cartoon character, but… You’ve lost something, and it’s not just weight.

I don’t know how you did it, and I don’t know whether it’s a result of disordered eating, or just overdoing it on the diet front, but you just don’t look well. I can’t help but think about models like Isabelle Caro in this situation, who’ve died in the pursuit of catwalk perfection. It’s a slippery slope, and I’m worried about you.

I know it can’t have been fun for you to hear Barneys’ creative director Dennis Freedman say that “the standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress.” I can totally understand why that would hurt, because even though it’s pretty much an unattainable ideal, everyone would love to look as good in designer clothes as the models do. I love fashion as much as the next girl, but to my mind, real fashion is about making your style your own. You always had a great sense of what you liked, and I for one was a big fan of the polka dots and bow. You made that work, and I loved you for it.

Now, though, you’re a public figure, Minnie – and you’re playing a dangerous game by trying to hold yourself up to such rigorous standards. This doesn’t suit you, because it’s not you. It’s just not.

And it’s not just a tricky situation for you, either – you’re a public figure, and you have responsibilities. I know, I know – now I sound like Kenneth Krause. I’m sorry about that. But think about your fans – they’re children. Children who are going to think that the only way to be successful is to be painfully, miserably thin. It’s wrong, not just for you, but for everyone who looks up to you.

Minnie, you’re a gorgeous girl, and you always have been. But please, please don’t believe anyone that says you need to be thin to be successful. That’s a load of crap, and it’ll only ever make you miserable.

I know it’s been a while since we had a good conversation, and I’m not sure going ahead and doing this as an open letter will do anything but push you further away. But if you want to talk, I’m here – so please Minnie, take this on board. You’re gorgeous, and nobody should ever, ever make you feel like you have to change. Ever.

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