In January 2022, Snopes readers asked about a meme circulating on Facebook alleging that Disney animators had to “fight” with corporate brass to create the character “Encanto” Luisa, who is gifted with superhuman strength and big muscles, only to see Luisa’s theme merchandise be more in demand than other characters in the movie.
The meme was an example of copypasta, or text that goes viral thanks to users copying and pasting from one account to another. Since individual Facebook users may not intend their posts to gain national intent, we won’t name the person who originally posted them. The text of the meme reads as follows:
The Encanto artists had to really fight Disney for Luisa to have big muscles…because you can’t argue that Disney isn’t superficial and misogynistic. Anyway. Jokes on them because the little girls have GRAVITY on that AF buff character and they weren’t prepared for the amount of demand for Luisa merch when they made a bunch of Isabella merch that didn’t sell well because they thought kids would love the beautiful classic character the most. They were wrong. Turns out the kids want a giant muscular woman. Thank you. I love it.
This prompted readers to inquire about the factuality of the message.
“I wonder about the new Encanto movie based on a meme claiming the artists had to fight Disney to have a tall woman as the main character,” wrote one reader.
“Does Disney sell Luisa merchandise? Did they have to ‘fight’ for Disney to include a muscular female character in Encanto?” another asked.
The 2021 animated film “Encanto” is about the Madrigal family, each of which is gifted with special powers derived from their magical house. The power of Luisa’s character is strength, and her muscular physique reflects that.
News articles and posts that claim the animators had to “fight” Disney to give Luisa this frame, which goes against the slight builds of most other female Disney protagonists, are all derived from a only tweet posted by a Disney host, but the statement itself is a little vague and doesn’t necessarily prove there was a “fight” over Luisa’s bodybuilder figure.
The Comic Book Resources website, or cbr.com, for example, displayed the title “Encanto Artists Had to Fight Disney for Luisa’s Fan-Favorite Muscular Frame.”
The story quotes Dylan Ekren, an illustrator who worked on “Encanto”, tweeting in July 2021:
“I think we all wanted to do it in a way that worked well with the style and really made sense for the character and I’m really proud of how it turned out. The whole team was so awesome I just pressed the buttons in the correct order.
The tweet is no longer accessible because Ekren has made his Twitter account private.
Entertainment website HITC.com pointed to social media posts written by people allegedly looking for Luisa-themed merchandise, who say the problem is that Disney didn’t anticipate the character’s popularity and did not create enough.
Apparently, Luisa’s merch far exceeds Isabella’s merch. It turns out that children are more difficult to identify with strong, honest, imperfect and interesting women than with those who are simply considered beautiful. Go figure. #Encanto pic.twitter.com/FewHPqprDH
— badly drawn bee…🐝 (@soapachu) January 19, 2022
We attempted to contact Ekren through an email address listed on the animation site ArtStation.com and will update this story if we receive a response. We also reached out to Disney to find out if Luisa merchandise was indeed outselling merchandise for the character Isabela, who has the slim figure most often drawn for Disney Princesses, but did not receive a response in time for publication. .
“Encanto artists had to battle Disney for Luisa’s fan-favorite muscle frame.” CBR, January 22, 2022, https://www.cbr.com/disney-encanto-artists-fought-for-luisa-muscles/.
Wilson, Shania. “Encanto Merch Sales Prove Disney Needs More ‘Relatable’ Characters Like Luisa.” HITC, 19 January 2022, https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/01/19/encanto-merch-sales-prove-disney-needs-more-relatable-characters-like-luisa/.