To Whom It May Concern, specifically at Walt Disney/Pixar Animation Studios:
My name is Hannah Diviney and I’m a 16-year-old girl who currently lives in Sydney, Australia. I have a physical disability – Cerebral Palsy which impacts my muscle control and function, causing spasticity (tightness) in my muscles, which leads them to grow at a different rate to my bones. This means I mainly use a wheelchair for mobility in everyday life, which can present many challenges and frustrations.
I want to mention how much I admire the creativity, hard work and vision of Disney as a company. Recently, I went to see Pixar’s latest film Inside Out and I would very much like to applaud the minds behind that concept.
The characterisation of emotions and how they exist within a person is a complicated concept but I think this movie understands and deals with it brilliantly, all the while creating tools for those around the world who may struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety/depression.
Watch the trailer for Inside Out. Post continues after the video.
I would now like to challenge Disney to take it one step further by creating a prominent character such as a princess/hero that uses a wheelchair and is still allowed the same hopes, dreams and happy ending. If you created such a character, you would be giving hope and resilience to the thousands of people (not to mention children) that live with a physical disability every day.
In other forms of film or media, we are woefully under-represented and if we are, it’s often by actors who are completely able-bodied. But I think Disney has the reach and the minds to be the catalyst for change in this world that we need. I have faith that the extremely talented creative teams have skill and imagination enough to work around this challenge, thus educating those who don’t have a disability that just because we might not be as physically able does not mean that’s a boundary for interaction or success in the world.
When I was younger, there were two main Disney characters I could identify with – Belle and Tigger. That might sound like an odd combination but let me explain.