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Once Upon A Time — Ursula

November 14, 2013

**Spoilers**

In case you haven’t heard or seen the episode yet, Once Upon A Time (a magical show in which fairytale characters are cursed by the Evil Queen to a life of normalcy… and then weirdness) featured Ariel and Ursula in one of their latest episodes. Ariel was — as you would expect her to be — thin, redheaded, and a bit naive. Ursula, whom we never see in person, so to speak, is featured as a sea goddess (not a witch!) with a beautiful golden statue. The kicker? They’ve made this CG Ursula thin. CG people. That means the creators could have made her any way they wanted and they chose to take a beloved fat character and sex her up and trim her down.

We see her twice: once at the ball that Prince Eric is holding in Ursula’s honor and once at the end of the show when she comes to life and gets all pissy, thus showing us she’s a real goddess who doesn’t appreciate someone masquerading as her. So she’s not just a statue, but a real being —  who’s thin. I know, it might be a small thing to complain about, but it’s the small things that sometimes add up to just make you shake your head in disappointment sometimes.

Ursula is a much-loved fatty character from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She’s unapologetic about her size and why should she apologize? She’s a freaking Octopus. It’s not like those things have waists or anything. But goodness forbid that Once Upon A Time should feature a fat character. Other than the giant, Tiny, whom we meet much earlier in the show, Once Upon A Time has sucked at having actors of various sizes. It’s an issue that’s bigger than just this one character because it’s an issue in so many shows. Fatty erasure is a real thing. Considering we supposedly make up three-fourths of the population, you don’t see a whole lot of us represented. Gee, no wonder everyone’s so obsessed with thinness when it’s the only thing they happen to see in the media despite looking around in real life and seeing fatties and chubs everywhere. These shows need to step up their game because I’m tired of being erased (or worse, beheaded just to be represented).

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2013 12:50 pm

    Yes!! I got so angry when I saw this episode. I was waiting to see how they´d portray Ursula, but it never occured to me that they´ll make her thin. I guess not even a sea goddess can be fat.

  2. Nof permalink
    November 14, 2013 1:09 pm

    Something similar happened to Mycroft Holmes in Elementary. It’s mentioned he was fat in the past, but he contracted cancer and is now extremely thin even though he’s been in remission for some time. There’s really no justification for the change though, and the cancer storyline is barely touched and could have easily been replaced by something that didn’t turn Mycroft into a “former fatty.”

  3. November 20, 2013 3:56 pm

    It’s depressing. I like big, bold Ursula.

    • November 20, 2013 5:53 pm

      I Loved Ursula… she was Big, Bold, Sexy, (yes, she was!) and except for the tentacles, she was built just like me! Now she may have been an “evil” doer, a ‘bad girl’…. but she really only wanted one thing- a beautiful voice. That is another way I identified with Ursula…it’s the one “natural gift” that I ever, EVER wanted- “a voice that could make the angels weep with joy.” Never got it. :-(
      But anyway, my two girls grew up watching Disney movies, (served up with plenty of gentle lessons about feminism and being independent and forgetting all that prince charming to the rescue crap)… and we would always laugh when Ursula hit the screen and they’d say “There you are, Ma! That’s YOU!!”
      And I would laugh (evilly) and say something like; “You better believe it, girlies!”
      They even called me “Ursula” or “Urs” for several years. LOL

      I hate this ‘new and improved’ Ursula!!

  4. Jessica permalink
    November 25, 2013 11:20 am

    Ursula’s body type doesn’t reflect anything about her character. She can still be bold and powerful regardless. You’re literally claiming that she loses a part of self when her body changes. That a skinny Ursula is a weak Ursula. Fat or skinny her character or the story line doesn’t suffer AT ALL. Is the actress a healthy weight? Did she deserve to portray the role she auditioned for? It’s not fat erasure. It’s over sensitivity. Ursula is a villain. She’s an evil manipulative bitch and shouldn’t be looked up to based on that alone. Being an unhealthy weight is just another reason to not idolize her. I don’t want my daughter wishing to look like Ariel or Ursula. They’re both awful role models.

  5. November 25, 2013 3:54 pm

    Jessica-
    If Ursula’s body size had nothing to do with her character… why did Disney change it?
    I am not saying anything of the sort about her “losing something” when they changed the body.
    All I said in so many words was; She was fine and dandy as a villain THE WAY SHE WAS. Why did they need to change her – to slim her down?
    Ohhh, because we don’t want our children to idolize anyone fat? Well don’t worry about that, because only the evil doers are fat- everyone knows that! Or the sullen slobs, or the dumb ones…
    Now don’t get all wadded up, I’m *not* saying there are NEVER any thin evil doers, there certainly are. So…. I wonder when will Disney decide to fatten up VERY thin Cruella DeVille so that she can *look* as loathsome as she is?
    Or how about the evil Queens in Sleeping beauty or Snow White? Both tall, imposing, powerful, very THIN women. Why?
    Ursula was powerful, bold, and imposing too…. and she was fat. But now she is thin. Why? What was the freakin’ point to slimming her down?
    I think it’s because Ursula – the FAT Ursula, that is – needed to be eradicated …. like many people believe ALL fat people should be.

    As for role models, *personally*, I always believed role models should be chosen from the field of REAL people- starting with parents, family and friends and moving up from there to other REAL people who actually accomplish things in real life, and set a good example; not cartoons, movie or comic book characters.

  6. madeoneup permalink
    December 13, 2013 1:59 pm

    They did the same thing in the Broadway production, except they put a thin woman into a fat costume for the sea scenes.

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