Remember Ursula from The Little Mermaid? She was fabulously full-figured, super sassy, and, yeah, evil–but dude, she was so much fun to watch, wasn’t she? From her thunderous voice to her python-tight tentacle grip, Ursula was one of the original badasses from our childhoods, and she was also one of the only full-figured cartoon characters, despite being a villain.
But uh, what the heck happened to her now? Disney completely revamped Ursula’s appearance for their Disney Villains design collection, which includes makeup (their nail polishes look kind of awesome, not gonna lie), dolls, and other items (journals, etc.). Ursula now sports a dark purple seaweed-textured skirt instead of her trademark black tentacles and a rather gaunt body type, which is a really stark contrast to her original full-figured, wicked glory. She actually looks a lot more like Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmatians than like, well, Ursula. Even her cropped ‘do is different–she sports a white bouffant instead now, and her full red lips are now narrow and purple. Take a look at the difference:
To be fair, Ursula isn’t the only Disney villain to get a makeover. The Queen of Hearts looks like a hybrid of her cartoon and live-action version, more svelte and more made up, but donning the original costume. The Wicked Queen from Snow White has a new hair style, too. But Ursula’s transformation is the most jarring. If it weren’t for the seashell, she’d be pretty much unrecognizable.
The dramatic transformation of Ursula raises a few questions. Firstly, since the collection is reflective of design–of beauty, high fashion, and glamour–thinning down Ursula can make us ask, “Are full figures not glamorous?” This new look isn’t different from a lot of runway model body types (save for the greenish blue skin, naturally), so it bums us out a little that for Ursula to fit into a designer collection, she has to lose about 75 percent of her body weight.
Second, the thinning of Ursula and the Queen of Hearts may reflect and reinforce society’s stereotypes that thin women are wicked, shallow, and snobby–think of how Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and the three fairies (Flora, Fauna, and the ultra-adorbs Meriwether) in Sleeping Beauty were all round and friendly. Who says thin women can’t be helpful and larger ones can’t be malicious?
And third, does Ursula having only one sharp chin instead of a few rounder ones simply going along with our visions of what represents a Disney villain as a whole? Perhaps.
But all of these questions and their prospective answers drive home that certain body types appeal to certain stereotypes–and none of those are too great. All in all, we gotta say: With her vermilion pout and dramatic eyeshadow of yore–not to mention her massive, heaving bosom and unapologetic curves–we kinda think the old Ursula was a lot more fabulous. The new one is still cool in her own right (the dress is pretty!), but compared to the cartoon Ursula, she looks like a poor, unfortunate, and rather hungry–and Cruella DeVille doppelganger-like–soul.
Who is your favorite female Disney villain? Do you think they should have slimmed down Ursula? Do you prefer the new Ursula to the old one? Tell us in the comments!