TODAY   |  February 28, 2014

Teen circulates petition for plus-size role models

In Friday’s installment of TODAY’s weeklong “Love Your Selfie” series, TODAY hears from teens on body image, including one who started a petition asking Disney for a plus-size princess.

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>>> all week long in our love your selfie series, we talk about body image , and how the images we see affect how we feel about ourselves. it's time to hear from young people about what they want to see as their role models .

>> yeah, a 17-year-old started a petition on asking disney for a plus-size princess. and a teen fashion and entertainment blogger for huffington good morning, ladies.

>> good morning.

>> let's launch into this. this petition, you've got over 30,000 people to sign and join with you. why was it so important to push disney to bring in a plus-size princess?

>> well, i just think society has very, very few positive plus-size role models , especially in films. in the film industry , a lot of people are given the short end of the stick, not fairly represented in a way that's positive. so when people see those people in the movies acting that way, they sort of accept that as their stereotype. and i definitely think plus-size people have been, you know, one of those people that have been treated unfairly. and so i think that, you know, our perceptions start when we're children. so, you know, i think disney is so influential, especially to little girls with their disney princesses that a plus-size princess would sort of be adding something new to the variety that plus-size princesses are starting to have nowadays.

>> used to be the princesses were damsels in distress , but now empowered women who are saving the world . haven't they come a long way, though? from what they started with?

>> definitely. i mean, i love how far disney has come. you know, they now have different races, cultural backgrounds and, you know, they've kind of gotten away from the damsel in distress to the -- to the more, you know, empowered person.

>> right. by the way, disney released a statement saying there are many types of princesses just as there are many types of girls who have their own unique history, character and story. we appreciate and celebrate all types of women and girls and their own individual beauty. are you happy with that?

>> i'm happy with that. and i think that i'm glad to hear they think that. and i would like for them to, you know --

>> a little more.

>> to do a little more. if they really do feel that all women are beautiful, promote the kind of body image .

>> how do you feel about that idea?

>> i think they're all amazing in their own way. especially the newer princesses, merida, how she was herself. and i think that's important. and i think disney 's starting to recognize and represent that.

>> and you represent a group of young women who celebrate barbie while there are some critics who say the image is unrealistic. you celebrate what it brings to the table. why is it important for you to have that voice?

>> i think it's important that people understand i personally have never wanted to look like barbie . i think that barbie is just really great because she is exactly who she is. and she's tried everything she loves to do and i think it's important for young women to recognize that. if there's something you really want to learn and something you want to try, you should be able to try that, that's what barbie represents.

>> by the way, barbie this week released a special op-ed on facebook. basically she's beautiful as she is and not apologizing for being skinny or having that image. so thank you both for being here. such smart, beautiful young women .

>> thank you.