I am a huge Disney fan. I did the Disney College Program in 2012 and worked in the Magic Kingdom. I follow way too many Disney social media accounts, (for real though, how many accounts of children in princess dresses can you follow before you have a serious problem!?) So when the news of the costume change for Princess Jasmine was announced, it was surrounding me. Every time I got on Facebook or Instagram I saw either outrage or enthusiasm. Everybody had an opinion, and many of these opinions were unhappy ones. I'm not going to lie, I was a little shocked by the change at first, but I did still recognize Princess Jasmine for who she was. Disney has not released an "official statement" as to why several of the characters have received new looks, but cast members have hinted at the fact that it is due to the company working towards being more "culturally accurate." This answer really hasn't helped those individuals who are upset about the change, because the land that Jasmine and Aladdin hail from, is in fact, made up. But I have to applaud Disney for trying something new and for combining both fantasy and culture. But there are many reasons why I have to give Disney a nod for this change...

When I found out I was going to be working at the "most magical place on earth," one of the first things I looked at was requirements for characters, specifically the princesses. I mean, who doesn't dream of hanging out with their favorite princess, right? But I quickly realized that I would have to grow a few more inches and drop more than a handful of pounds if I even wanted to get in the door. I understand why Disney would want characters who fit a certain standard, and yes, it makes everyone look uniform in the park, but I'm not going to say I wasn't frustrated reading the requirements because I assumed myself to be in good shape at that time. I have known girls who are "friends" with princesses and it is incredible the stress it puts on them. They are constantly watching what they eat, counting calories, cutting carbs, running miles upon miles and worrying about how they look when they are in the public eye. But there were always two who stressed a little bit more than the others... Princess Ariel and Princess Jasmine. Why? Because up until very recently, both of their costumes were midriff baring. I could not imagine having to sit out and get hundreds of pictures taken of myself everyday, with my stomach out in every single one. But these girls did it. They kept themselves on a very strict exercise and diet regimen and they stressed. But they did it. But with this change in costuming these girls can hopefully have a little bit of that stress removed from their lives. Hopefully they can feel a bit more pride in their appearances and not feel so exposed. I think this also helps girls who dream of being princesses, but maybe were raised more conservatively, not have to choose between hanging out with their favorite princess and keeping the values that are important to them.

Over all, I think that changing up the costume was a good move on Disney's part. Is the costume the most flattering thing in the world? No. But honestly, once you see those costumes up close and then put one on, you realize that none of them are flattering... especially in 100 degree Florida humidity. I see this move as a step forward in helping girls feel more comfortable in their own skin, and in their own cultural identity. And for that, I have to applaud Disney.