It’s been a full 24 years since Aladdin first came out in theaters, bringing the fictional land of Agrabah to us all. The movie featured a strong titular hero, but had some of the best side characters in a Disney movie yet. That includes the caring and adventurous Princess Jasmine. As a little girl, I loved her. I found her brazen attitude sassy and invigorating. She continued the 90’s effort to make the Disney females more reflective of real women while maintaining their air of elegance.
Jasmine stood out for numerous reasons that were even obvious to kids. She was the first (and still only) princess in the Disney line who is not the main character of the story. She is also, by far, the most provocatively dressed. An argument could be made for Ariel while she’s still a fish, but comparing human to human, the argument falls flat. Now, fast forward 24 years, and apparently, that’s a problem.
Disney Changes Things Up
This past weekend, Walt Disney World debuted a new official outfit for the Jasmine mascot. The most glaring change was immediately noticed by attendees: Jasmine’s midriff and arms were completely covered. While other changes were made (the teal color was lightened and a new wig was added), this seems to be the most divisive. Disney representatives were quoted saying that multiple complaints were made by park-goers regarding Jasmine’s exposed midriff.
While this costume does deviate strongly from the familiar animated one, it still projects the same image of Jasmine as before. It also bears a striking resemblance to the wedding outfit Jasmine wears at the end of the film and the third movie.
Since it’s debut, the multitude of fans hating the costume has grown. It seems like a silly change to make so far from Jasmine’s live park debut. Why would they do that now?
It’s no shocking breakthrough when a woman is judged based off of her clothes. While I was a cocktail server at a casino, I was repeatedly called a “whore” for my required uniform (a simple cocktail dress). Usually, though, my response to forced modesty on women is a big “F U!” However, I have to consider the full scope of this. There have been many accounts of former Disney mascots reportedly harassed or even assaulted by park attendees in the past, with most of them agreeing that Jasmine gets the brunt of it. If this is more of a measure to protect the women in costume, then I can’t argue that. I can only wonder why they haven’t done similar costume changes for Ariel, Pocahontas, and Tinkerbell (midriff exposed, short skirt, short skirt). The aforementioned characters are almost harassed as much as Jasmine.
Another suspected reason is a roll out for the upcoming winter season. Most of the Disney parks change things up with the seasons, doing big themes for Halloween and Christmas alike. People have largely forgotten that Aladdin also got a costume change, reflecting his more regal position at the end of the film. Yet again, the question remains, why are these characters singled out? When the parks make the large changes for the seasons, it’s not just one or two characters that fall in line. It’s the entire park. They’re also way too early for both Halloween and Christmas.
Lastly, changes in costume are often made when new merchandise or films are going to be released. Both Elsa and Anna got beautiful makeovers for Frozen Fever which were reflected in merchandising and park representation. Yet no news has been released regarding any new endeavors into Agrabah, so while this is the most agreeable reason to change costumes, it’s the least likely of them all.
Jasmine’s Still Hot
As of now, there’s been no other changes to modify Jasmine’s modesty. There hasn’t been a huge roll out of new toys and dolls (they are not the same thing!) of midriff-covered princesses. Even the official Jasmine costume sold by the park to children still comes in two pieces rather than one.
It will be some time before we know the true motive behind the unusual change. I know I personally can’t wrap my head around the switch. Is it possible that the 90’s was actually a more progressive era regarding women? Have we socially regressed or is this the park wanting to protect their employees? We may truly never know.
Personally, I believe the new outfit is absolutely beautiful and reflects the nature and culture of Jasmine just as well as it had in the past. My preference still lies in the previous style, but that is due to my love for all screen accurate costumes (it’s a cosplay thing I have.)
EDIT: Back in May, Pocahontas and Mulan both received new costumes, seemingly enhancing their regal positions, however, neither changed the modesty of the costume itself.
What do you think about Jasmine’s new outfit? Are you outraged? By change or by tummies? Comment below!