In the upcoming movie Moana, Disney’s depiction of a Polynesian character in it has some people pretty upset.
Moana is Disney’s first princess of Polynesian descent and is scheduled to be released on November 23rd of this year.
The princess’s sidekick, Maui, a demigod, has been getting quite some criticism though. Despite being voiced by Dwayne Johsnon, the guy who could probably crack walnuts with his thighs, Maui is on the hefty side.
According to New Zealand politician Jenny Salesa, Maui’s depiction is “obese,” and thinks children might get the wrong message about their bodies.
“The environment our kids grow up in and what they are exposed to have a role to play. Disney movies are very influential on our children. It is great that Moana is the lead. However, it is disappointing that Maui, one of our beloved historical ancestors from hundreds of years ago, who was a very strong man [and] a skilled navigator, is depicted to be so overweight in this kids’ movie.”
According to Karla Ivankovich, she doesn’t believe Maui is depicted inappropriately. “When I saw the character, I did not see a fat man,” she says. “I saw a strong man who would easily fit the male stereotype of hunter, gatherer, and provider. Now, when I read what’s out there, I can see how some might be offended — but it’s drawing inferences that not everyone else might share.”
Disclaimer: We have no position in Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) and have not been compensated for this article.