A New Disney+ Short Discusses Body Dysmorphia, Here's What People Are Saying About It

Reflect still with mirror Disney+ short
(Image credit: Walt Disney Animation)

These days we’re blessed with so many new Disney+ releases that it’s easy to miss a powerful short like “Reflect,” which was released back in September as part of the latest season of Walt Disney Animation’s Short Circuit series. Widespread audiences are finally talking about the animated project that discusses body dysmorphia, following a young ballet dancer battling her own reflection, to varied reactions. 

Reflect is a two-minute short (opens in new tab) available to watch with a Disney+ subscription features a young dancer who finds herself uncomfortable in her skin being next to thinner peers and being asked to have a “tight tummy” and “long neck” while in form. When she looks in the mirror in disappointment of her image, the mirror begins to envelope and surround her. In order to battle the morphing reflection, the dancer must overcome her perceived flaws and own her passion for dance. Once she does so, the mirror monster collapses into itself and she can enjoy her class. Check out one response to the short: 

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Reflect is receiving a lot of good buzz for tackling an important topic through Disney animation. As the above Twitter user says, due to our society's insistence on holding our looks to such a high standard, just about all of us find some sort of struggle with the mirror image. Here’s another reaction: 

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It does feel particularly purposeful that the lead of Reflect is a plus-sized young girl, considering being of a body type that’s not stick thin or one of Kim Kardashian may deal with body dysmorphia because it doesn’t adhere to what we’ve learned is the "right" way to look like. Of course, we're all complicated humans and it's impossible for any of us to be "perfect" or fit into societies boxes. One user shared that she actually quit ballet due to looking like the Reflect lead and hopes the generations to come may see this and change their minds about how to view themselves. 

One the other hand, Reflect did get buried in the Disney+ lexicon is a rather short depiction of a complicated issue. One viewer felt the short only highlighted how rare it is for the animation company to have any plus-sized characters on center stage, saying this: 

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It’s true that a disproportionate amount of Disney characters fit the typical mold of what society believes one’s body types should look like, helping feed the kind of body dysmorphia Reflect seeks to discuss. 2008’s WALL-E featured an imagined future where all humans are overweight and in wheelchairs as a “warning about obesity” as the above Twitter user viewed it. Here’s another point: 

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While Disney has certainly made strides in representation and its messaging over the years, the release of Reflect shows there’s still a ways to go, especially when it comes to body positivity. The Short Circuit short is a great first step, but here’s hoping the company and more of Hollywood continues to have this conversation in more ways. The next major Disney Animation project coming our way is Strange World, hitting theaters this November 23. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.