Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Peter Pan

I've been reading J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, for the first time. Interesting, both in its strengths and weaknesses. Without much warning, the writing sometimes dips its toe into darkness, before quickly pulling it out again. And I was astonished to read that Tinker Bell, in Mr. Barrie's imagination, was 'embonpoint'. Tinker Bell! I had never imagined her as other than the Disney character design, as ectomorphic as Barbie. Oh, Uncle Walt, you took such liberties.

But Walt Disney's reimagining of Tinker Bell's three sizes merely reflected a broad cultural change in the esthetics of the human figure. The the first of the Peter Pan stories saw print in 1902, a time when 'chubby' still meant 'healthy'. The iconography of children in commercial art -- for example, the Campbell Soup kids -- reflects this. The Campbell kids were slimmed down in the early 1980's, but Tinker Bell preceded them by a generation.

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