Disney, Fatphobia, & The "Pooh Sized" Debate


Earlier this week, a post appeared on the blog Disney Kicks Ass, informing readers that some rides at the original Anaheim Disneyland had to be re-engineered. Oh boy.

The problem, quite simply, is that the flume that the boats ride in, and the boats themselves, were designed and built in 1963 on the assumption that the male adult riders would average 175 pounds and the women about 135, which they pretty much did at the time. The ride now must accommodate adults who frequently weigh north of 200 pounds, which it often cannot do. Increasingly, overweighted boats get to certain points in the ride and bottom out, becoming stuck in the flume.

While this is not exactly news (the blogger was referencing a story from 2007), it brought up the fact that many heavy Disney enthusiasts call themselves “Pooh-sized.” Yesterday, the Disney Kicks Ass blogger wrote a post titled: “I’m Just Going to Say It: This ‘Pooh Sized’ Stuff Is Bullshit.” She explains:

I am so glad that Disney accommodates people who are overweight (some parks don’t.) I want everyone to be able to ride Space Mountain and The Haunted Mansion. But let’s call it what it is. If you’re 5’5″ and weigh 200 pounds, you are obese. You might have high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, gout, reproductive complications, bladder control issues, or psychological disorders or other serious conditions. That’s not cute, it’s scary.

The use of the word scary is appropriate, since this is the most common concerntroll type of fatphobia: imagining that under the fat is a big ol’ mess of health issues. Despite the fact that you absolutely cannot look at someone and judge their health. Cancer is a serious health problem, but a thin chain-smoker who goes into Disney World wouldn’t be deemed “scary,” would she? We have often referred to the many studies and essays detailing how weight — in and of itself — is not a health problem. Kate Harding has written extensively about the fact that while eating junk food and living a sedentary lifestyle are unhealthy, there are fat and thin people who do this. And there are also folks — like dancer Ragen Chastain — who live extremely healthy, active lifestyles and happen to be fat.

So let’s get back to the issue at hand: Some Disney enthusiasts do not wish to be called “Pooh-sized.” One writes, “I’m overweight and I do not refer to myself in any cutesy way. I’m not pooh sized. I’m not fluffy. I’m overweight/fat/whatever.” She is irked that other Disney fans want to call her “Pooh-sized.” You know what? Tough. This is what you signed up for when you became a Disney enthusiast. Disney World is where you go to pretend you’re a princess who’s friends with a dog named Goofy. Disney is where grown-ass adults ride in teacups. There is a giant fake castle in the middle of the park, and there’s a mouse wearing shoes and gloves. You’re paying to be part of a precious child-like fantasy. Plus, Winnie-the-Pooh was a philosopher. You know? The Tao Of Pooh.

The point is: If you are an adult seriously invested in all things Tinkerbell, you shouldn’t be writing stuff like “If you aren’t healthy, you’re sick, and you could live a short life. Mickey Mouse would not want that.” Mickey Mouse is not real! And if he is, he welcomes the sick and the old and the fat and the thin and the rude like you, because he’s a symbol for the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue, and as long as you have cash, you are welcome in his Magic Kingdom, be you “Pooh-sized” or just a judgy Pooh-sized jerk.

I’m Just Going to Say It: This “Pooh Sized” Stuff Is Bullshit [Disney Kicks Ass]

Illustrations by Creepy Miranda, used with permission.

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