Skip Nav
This Mother's Reaction to Her Son's Fit of Anger Can Teach Us All a Lesson in Parenting
Is There a Twin Baby Boom, or Are You Just Imagining It?
Shopping Guide
The Most Instagrammable Onesies For Your Sweet Baby

Disney's New Characters Stir Complaints of Stereotyping

Disney's New Characters Stir Complaints of Stereotyping

Disney's New Characters Stir Complaints of Stereotyping

Teaching children about healthy lifestyle habits without stereotyping heavyset people can be a real challenge for parents. It's proving a challenge for Disney as well. 

As reports, Disney is reworking its new exhibit on childhood obesity after critics said "the exhibit reinforces stereotypes that obese children are lazy and have poor eating habits." The exhibit, produced in partnersip with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, features bad guys who are called "Snacker" and "Lead Bottom."

Read the full story here.

How do you talk to your kids about healthy lifestyle habits?

Image Source:

Join The Conversation
JasmineZoschak JasmineZoschak 5 years
99% of what is medically considered obesity (which is making our kids sick) is caused by lack of physical activity and /or poor food choices/ habits and that is what we want to change. Call it a stereotype. I call it reality. Maybe add some more encouraging characters, but are we really offended by the Snacker and Lead bottom.
SherryMellott SherryMellott 5 years
I believe it was an exhibit not a tv show in this case. Its so interesting that so many people feel so entitled to say something causes any subject not just this one and yet there are so many good studies that show many different factors. Peoples personal experiences and knowledge is just stories they hear. If any one stands up for anything there are people who will say quit blaming the "they's) and blah blah I find these type of comments boards get me so torn about reading them and it's not on a personal level it's on a mental level. I know what I have seen in my life and the outcomes. Its like ok you can do this with a Maya Angelou way or a Joan Rivers way. I see some comments and even some I don't agree with I feel uplifted by then there are others that just make me feel drained and think how can we expect to fix the government issues in the United States when there are some sadly uninformed people or sadly shallow views. This is about a business DIsney having a poorly thought out exhibit and some folks are like yeah go for it be hard on obesity. Study after study shows if you put negative labels on things it's more likely to create negative results in adults and children. Yet with all the things in the world wrong there are people going yeah put up the thing that offend people. And it's always don't blame others until it's something that steps on their toes then it's standing up for themselves. I kinda think this could go into a subject of it's own. I think that people like me should speak up because it's just so bad to want to go do things and be fearful to. When I was a kid my friend and I were playing tennis and two bullys from our class came and were hollaring (while standing there doing nothing ) hey you fat stupid girls why don't you quit playing tennis and do a real sport and get rid of that stupid fat. It just went on and on.. my little dog wanted to bite them but was smart and knew he couldn't. If you want to motivate people to go out and do things shaming is not the way. I totally recognized that all they were doing was showing something bad about them not us and knew they were being horrible rotten jerks and I sure bet Karma bit them in the bottoms for all the harassments but because of so many negatives and hearing over and over the things I did as a younger kid my internal dialog is still a struggle. I get the feeling of disconnect when people talk about this kind of subject I got with a gal who had posted on my blog when I was venting about not being able to go get our daughter because our adoption case had suddenly almost stopped and the fact there was an issue with unicef paying millions of dollars and asking that Americans stop being allowed to adopt from there. I said please if you disagree just save it I'm not up to it right now. This gal posted how it's because of selfish people like us that babies are being born there and we should have just let our daughter have her fate and if she was meant to die so be it..and she was adopted and she was "a disgruntled adoptee" I posted a long letter back saying you sound like your 20 or younger and you just don't get your not the only one who had a bad childhood and many children in the world have it rougher than almost any child in America. I left it up for like two days then took it down some people were saying don't be upset but the fact was on an emotional level I was so glad to see some one say it out what the articles unicef was putting out ..they were saying we want zero population growth and dancing around the issue with terms like that. The was I found out that girl was 20 and her other id was havemoreabortions. Maybe I should have left my letter back to her up cause it was dead on. But I just wanted to drop it and I really was not in the mood to deal. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree I guess. Maybe it's an issue I need to work on more but I have a hard time opening up and getting close to people because I just think you never know what huge moral, ethical and judgmental views your gonna suddenly get into. On a lighter note I love science fiction because it goes places and expresses things in ways other genres don't. There is an outer limits episode where there is the pompous self important politician who has no mercy for another species on there planet who are enslaved and then he ends up being turned into that species and is made a slave.
SherryMellott SherryMellott 5 years
The point about the bad guys names has a bit of validity, but I think that it needs to be flipped. Have the good guys be Super duper gymnastic girl or brave brad the veggie eater. We had a garden when I was a kid and we loved it. Now it's just sad sometimes searching the veggies isle then trying to get little one to try new things. Slowly she's getting there.. she is liking carrots and some other things and has always loved fruits so we encourage that. I think baddies for a health thing could be like the mario brothers type bad guys..there could be things like sugar meanie monster, or goopy grabber who won't let you get outside to play. I just really think making the focus positive not negative is the way to go. I don't say hey don't take your yogurt and throw it on the floor and spill it and mess everything up.. I say come sit at your table and eat that. Or I don't say don't call your friends stupid lazy dumb I say be nice to your friends cause if I said it the other way she'd be calling her friends those things. We had a conversation awhile back about one of her friends saying I was fat and snickering. My husband was like shshhh trying to quiet her and I was like ok what are we talking about. She said Cindy said your fat and laughed, but your not. I said no, unfortunately I am kinda fat. we went back and forth on that for a bit. Then I said but you know what I don't like what Cindy said because she was trying to say something to make you feel bad but next time you say I have a good momma who loves me. My biggest concern dealing with obesity is the fact my daughter says I'm doing this or that just like momma. l love it but I tell her but your gonna be a smaller size than mom cause we are going to always do stuff like gymnastics and dance etc. and be strong so you can keep doing your flips for a long time because a lot of people can do things as kids but stop and then they can't any more. And she is so proud of her skills we've been working on the monkey bars and now she can go all the way across. Is it better to have a kid come in an call another kid lead bottom or come in and say lets go play zippy fast legs. I started this today earlier and then my sweetie called and such and never got back in here. Its so much easier to comment on my computer than ebook.. after daughter got home I told her some things I'd like to do in the house rearranging and cleaning wise she said and mom we can clean my room so theres more room in the middle cause now you just can't do a cart wheel in there now. So funny and while I try to have her do that stuff else where its amazing how she can do it so smoothly. I just noticed she's doing one of those growth spurts where she's getting longer, her checkups are always great it's not that she is smaller just getting a bigger kid shape. I said wow I think your getting taller kiddo look at that cute little tummy and tickled her and she giggled and beamed because we were having fun mostly but it leaves her with a good feeling about herself inside I didn't say you look so skinny now don't get fat cause I told you all week you needed to go outside to play and if you don't your gonna be lazy and fat. etc..
MelanieGordon1113 MelanieGordon1113 5 years
I remind her everyday that people get sick when they don't eat healthy foods. I remind my daughter that before I started eating healthy Mommy had to take medicine that cost as much money as our groceries for a week, and now I only take vitamins. I think the best way to teach children is through action. Junk food is fun, and has an appropriate place, but so do veggies. We're still working on it. In my experience, you say something for 17 years and when they move out they realize that you're right.
KathieCatlinSorell KathieCatlinSorell 5 years
The truth hurts. So you have kids who are now playing on the computer or games and not going outside to get the proper amount of exercise. Then the parent are letting them eat what ever they want and not looking at the sugar and carb content. I only let my kids have an hour of computer time. Then they eat veggies and fruits for snacks and cheese is good for them as well. I don't think Disney should rethink what they are doing. Obesity in children is huge and diabetes is serious. How else can we get it across to the parents?
AmandaLaick AmandaLaick 5 years
Sorry again auto correct. I know read through before posting. I did not mean tarty I meant fatty. Also not gay but fatty. Wish I could get rid of auto correct it could get a person I'm trouble. Also not we did budget but we need to budget
AmandaLaick AmandaLaick 5 years
Sorry about the typos in the last post kids started messing with key board and hit post before I could fix them. I want done. I had one last point and it had to do with being rich our poor. They a are correct that it doesn't matter any one CAN do it. It is just more difficult for the poor. Because tarty premade processed food are cheaper than a healthy alternative. Look at fast food places yes they have salads but it is cheaper to go with a cheese burger. Now I am not saying this is an excuse go get that gay food I am saying it is more difficult and we did to learn to budget for it
AmandaLaick AmandaLaick 5 years
I think some of you are missing the point. Disney did not name the bad guys aplep figure or pear shape or even fatso and tubby. They were named lead bottom and snacker and yes these are problems in weight gain. No, not THE problem. There is no one problem, but do you really a kids exhibit should get into all the medical conditions that cause weight gain. Kids just won't get it. Disney's primary concern is not "fat people" it is healthy. Which it does not matter fat or skinny if you don't eat right or be active you can not be healthy. And by the way I was 280 lbs so I am not just some skinny person blowing smoke. Yet even skiny people know what they are talking about even if they don't always know what it is to struggle with weight. And my problem was gentics and medical. BUT I started working out more eating right ALL the time not just part of the time and and theweigt di come off best the important part is I was healthy. Which is my main point Disney is not steriotyping, they are just saying that no matter who you are snacking wrong and inactivity are the. BAD GUYS
SherryMellott SherryMellott 5 years
I guess this discussions turned into a wow so many people do get it and a wowow some people really can miss a point that is really important. The good thing is maybe this can be an eye opener for some. These stereotypes aren't just stupid (yeah I said it Stupid, if it walks like a duck quacks like a duck, well you all know that saying. I was not gonna get into details cause its just so frustrating. Children's thyroids are super sensitive,to things like radiation. I have a good mom who unfortunately had her own weight issues and for whatever reason wasn't able to deal with me about weight appropriately. I was 90 lbs 5 foot five being told I was fat. For years I struggled with just feeling like crap.I was the kid who got the kickball games going me and my bff were never on the same team cause we were captains. Some times id just fall into bed and cry ..and there is a special place in hell for (people)teachers who say oh you are just saying you don't feel good to get out of doing a super fun activity. So with all the negative input from dr's, and other people making comments some "well meaning"some not so much I thought thyriod issues were an excuse ..never was checked in years of problems, jogged/walked 4 miles a day for a long time. Bottom line my Dad was a uranium miner and dust I was around that, by the time I had seen where other daughters of miners and such were having troubles and had mine checked my thyriod was full of cancer and had to be removed. And just putting this out there don't accept it if they say its normal my Dr practicality patted me on the head and said why would you think you have thyroid trouble you've been through so much stress like you've been throughis so hard a person. About 3 weeks later in surgery for hours longer than supposed to be cause it had started to tear out and spread. Went from 95% survival rate for that cancer to 95% not survival but I did I am truly blessed. Some of the comments make me wonder if maybe you just cant get unless you been there,some make me wonder if its more a competative thing like yeah something I win at. An old lady was telling me there is no sh h thing as Pms its just an excuse. She never had that and she had a bunch of kids. I know she didn't get it because I know its real.Can you imagine if they were educating on that subject with ladies attitude. Here we have whinygirl nasty stinky sweaty lazy ass..
becchamber becchamber 5 years
WAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! "Mommy, that mean old Disney hurt my feelings!" People grow up! I am getting pretty sick of political correctness! It's getting to the point that you can't call round "round", white "white" or black "black"! You have to second-guess everything you say & do, otherwise you're pegged as stereotyping or the all-worse racist! Come on! I am 25 years old & I can even see how ridiculous being politically correct is, it turns you into a babbling idiot because you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Everything you say instead of being one word turns into one paragraph because you have to say it so that it can be "accepted". Maybe they just like hearing themselves talk?! Or turning us into dingalings that never say what we mean?! Oops, sorry! Guess that wasn't politically correct!
MelissaCorrigan MelissaCorrigan 5 years
This is ridiculous. Obesity in general is an epidemic in this country. It shouldn't be something you "accept" for yourself. You change it. I don't care if you're rich, poor, in the country or in the projects... there is NO good reason to eat bad and especially if you have health issues! Kids these days ARE lazy! I grew up playing in the streets until dark, watching TV was a reward or for specified "movie days". Kids these days want to be stuck to their video games, lap tops for facebook, smart phones..... and parents are being ignorant about what is in the foods they are feeding themselves and their children. It's time we took charge of ourselves and our children. Medical expenses alone are far more expensive than just eating right. They don't like vegatables? They'll learn really quick to like them when they don't get to have the option to pull out a pizza or burrito from the freezer. And they will thank you later for it. Type 2 diabetes is killing our kids, our loved ones. It's reversible!!! Instead of being politically correct, which gets us in these messes anyways because issues aren't addressed directly, we need to power house through this. Your feelings are hurt? Well boohoo. Get off your butts, go play some soccer, eat some carrots and stop ordering pizza. I don't care if you have a medical condition or not. Excuses are excuses are excuses. America... we're being ignorant to what's really happening in our nation. Open your eyes.
DanielleDetiege DanielleDetiege 5 years
this is funny to me. while I can see how a child who has a medical condition may feel bad seeing kids their size portrayed as lazy or overeaters, I don't think Disney should change the exhibit. By far, the main reason for childhood obesity is not being active and eating poorly. As a society, we have started sacrificing dealing with our shortcomings and making progress in our quest for politically correctness. Obesity is a serious problem and their is no excuse for the amount of childhood obesity in this country. There will always be exceptions to the rule but we can't eliminate the rule just because exceptions exists.
CoMMember13631078274518 CoMMember13631078274518 5 years
Kalyn says: "Some of you are quite Ignorant and down right stupid and I teach my children not to call other kids name especially stupid." HUH? But Kalyn brings up another important point: there are many prescription medications and birth control pills that cause weight gain. I know a child who is taking steroids for his asthma, which causes weight gain. I know another child who takes insulin shots for Type I Diabetes and that causes weight gain too. Maybe Disney should take on the Food and Drug Administration and leave us kids alone. (And Doritos for all of their Superbowl Ads - they are evil too).
SoniaJohnsonBrown SoniaJohnsonBrown 5 years
Let's just help those who ask for help and pray for the others. Oh gosh the praying will probably be a problem too. Ok, ok let's just wish them well. Oh no, black magic, umm , hope. Hope, is probably laziness disguised . Listen the point I am trying to make is it does not matter what you do, somebody is going to have a problem with it.
CoMMember13631078274518 CoMMember13631078274518 5 years
Cinderella probably purges. (Why hate on one eating disorder only?)
CoMMember13631078274518 CoMMember13631078274518 5 years
Like I was saying (go back to your cave Alix Gillen). By the way, are Lead Bottom and Snacker apple-shapes, so all the fat is around the waistline? Or are they pear shapes, so that all the fat is in their legs and arms? (We wouldn't want to discriminate against apple-shapes only). If we are going to hate on kids and their parents, lets go all the way.
CoMMember13631078274518 CoMMember13631078274518 5 years
Like I was sayin' (go back to your cave Alix Gillen). Obesity is not just a matter of calories in/calories out. It is a very nuanced health and social condition complicated by such factors as low metabolic rates (especially those destroyed by diet programs), chemical addiction, stress, sleep disorders, work fatigue, coffee crashes, cheap fast food, restaurant-sized portions, relentless corporate advertising, and/or expensive organic foods/nutrition classes available only to the wealthy longterm. Anyone who thinks that obesity of the 95% is a simple problem should go work for Disney.
alixGillen alixGillen 5 years
this is ridiculous though, I think we should be harder on obesity. The obese in rare circumstances that are attributed to genetic or medical cause should not be offended by addressing the way that the rest of the 95% of Americans get obese. I think this is the PERFECT type of exhibit to see in Disney to influence children more significantly. Most of these parents would rather complain about their obese kids being stereotyped then worry about there health!
CoMMember13631078274518 CoMMember13631078274518 5 years
Disney stereotyping and discriminating? Not surprising. Disney oversimplifying an important bio-psycho-social issue? Nothing new. Disney hating on kids? SHOCKING! Thanks for encouraging all of the haters to crawl out of their caves this week, Disney. Way to go!
ToriGradowski ToriGradowski 5 years
OK... So I am assuming all the people who are writing that obesity is caused by laziness poor eating habits and the parents of kids who are overweight are all thin themselves.... It has nothing to do with be predisposed to obesity (which is scientifcally proven) or by medical conditions !!!! I am the parent of a an 8 year old boy who has ADHD and he eats all kinds of food chocolate, butter, syrup, ice cream lots of peanut butter 3 meals a day and 3 or 4 snacks a day and weighs 56 pounds... now on the hand I have a 5 year old daughter who is 48" tall and weights 80 pounds.. and she eats whole grain organic waffles for breakfast with no butter and very little syrup, she makes healthy choices at school for lunch like salads or turkey sandwhiches on wheat and has one snack a day.. she drinks no soft drinks and only has skim milk , oj or water.....she is active she dances , plays soccer and tell me is it because she makes bad choices or she is lazy??? NO NO NO she is predisposed to being a bigger girl I am in no means a small girl... I am a size 18 which people would think is obese but I also eat healthy and work out 4 days a week. I am also 6ft tall... My son on the other hand takes after his dad who can eat a whole bag of chips or a half gallon of ice cream and not gain an ounce... it has a whole lot to do with genitics and shame on all of you who are so small minded and simple to think it is all about be lazy
KarenBennett20435 KarenBennett20435 5 years
Sorry but I hit the post button before I finished my point. After telling you about my son with Aspergers, I wanted to let you know that I asked him how he would feel about this exhibit. He liked the idea of teaching everyone a better way to be healthy. He did not mind the characters, but did not like the idea of the heavier characters being called the "bad guys or villains". I think it depends on how Disney conveys this message. There has to be a better way of helping people understand good healthy habits without making them out to be the "bad guys". I do think it is great of Disney to work this into a kid friendly venue. Just needs a little work.
KarenBennett20435 KarenBennett20435 5 years
Did anyone think of asking the children how they would feel about this exhibit? I have a 9 year old son, with Asperger's Syndrome, who is very tall for his age and also struggles with his weight. He does not eat cookies or chips or even juice and soda. With his sensory issues he mainly eats peanut butter, plain hamburger and sometimes chicken for his protein. He will eat fresh fruit, yogurt, rice cakes, granola and baked potatoes. He just started eating low fat motzerellla cheese sticks. He only drinks water and milk. We have cut out any foods with dyes. We joined a gym with kid activities and he goes to 2-3 of them in a week. He also swims and plays outside by himself on most sunny days. Even with all this, he still struggles with his weight
Amberyoung68027 Amberyoung68027 5 years
umm... but most kids who are overweight are either less physically active than their peers or eating worse/more food than their peers... It's not re-inforcing bad stereotypes.. It's showing the truth.
sondrahamilton sondrahamilton 5 years
parents should all ways make sure that the kids eat healthy and get a lot of working out and watch they in take of food you are the parents so make sure your kids eat healthy
RoseStevens RoseStevens 5 years
This is silly. MOST of the time obesity is caused by laziness and overeating. If you work out and eat healthy and you are still obese than its because of a health issue. If your kid is obese because of a health issue they shouldn't take offense to this because your kid is not lazy and a bad eater. People need to stop worrying about these silly things. There are MANY more issues out there that are way more important that need to be addressed. Everybody is too sensitive anymore. In your life you are going to get offended. Learn to get over it. Crying about it gets you nowhere.You are teaching your child to be a whiner and how NOT to handle real life. This disney character isn't going to be watched by your kid when they grow up but the way you reacted to this character (if you are one of the over sensitive people) will be practiced by your kid and its not healthy. I personally don't like some of the cartoons and shows they have for kids because they teach bad behavior but do I write and complain about the show? No. I don't let him watch it. There are MANY other options for your kid to watch something else.
How Our Generation's Parenting Differs From Our Moms'
Kids Naming Their Private Parts
Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
Being a Good Mom
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds