With just one letter, Lowri Moore sent a powerful message around the world.
The 9-year-old girl from Chilwell, England, has worn glasses all her life. But she realised that her heroes — the Disney princesses who defined her childhood — never did.
So she wrote to Disney CEO Robert Iger with a special request.
“I’ve grown up watching Disney princesses,” Moore wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately none of the princesses wear glasses and that made me feel like I wasn't beautiful enough."
"Please may you make a Disney princess with glasses?” she continued. “I feel like there's lots of girls who wear glasses and I don't want them to feel like I did.”
She added: “Sadly, most of the characters who wear glasses are called geeks and I don't think that's fair."
BBC Newsround noted that Disney have featured characters that wear glasses in the past — but never the female lead, a role arguably still aesthetically defined by traditional expectations of beauty.
Despite their brilliance, the characters of Carl Fredricksen from Up, The Incredibles’ Edna Mode, and literally every minion from Despicable Me could hardly be described as princesses. And it’s pretty implausible that Ariel could wear contact lenses underwater.
Moore’s parents, Cyrilyn and Brad, run a charity called Operation Orphan — a charity that offers to support to vulnerable children across the world — and helped their daughter send the letter.
"I thought it was such a brilliantly unique idea — she's very sensitive of other people and feels sorry for other girls younger than her who may not feel confident in their glasses,” her mother told Nottinghamshire Live. “She just wants to speak on their behalf."
"I just want Disney to consider the impact their choices have,” she added. “They have such a huge voice in the lives of young people and they need to know, as Lowri says in her letter, that they are beautiful no matter what."
Disney did respond. But there was no firm pledge to address Moore’s query.
"Disney holds a special place in the hearts of millions of people ... our stories are timeless because they speak to the heart,” the statement read. "Disney remains committed to continuing to create characters that are accessible and relatable to all children."
We love Lowri Moore so much.— Global Citizen UK (@GlblCtznUK) March 28, 2019
She was only 9 when she realised that her favourite Disney princesses didn’t wear glasses - and suddenly felt like she wasn’t beautiful.
So the superstar activist wrote a strongly worded letter that went super viral! 🙌🥰💪 #OpenYourEyespic.twitter.com/TBYXICzZsr
Moore shared her story alongside her mother at Sightgeist, an event hosted by clear vision advocacy group Clearly on March 28 at London’s Science Museum.
It brought together experts, thought-leaders, and speakers, including physicist Brian Cox OBE and television presenter June Sarpong MBE, to discuss how to tackle the world’s largest unaddressed disability.
More than 2.5 billion people around the world live with poor vision without access to quality eye care — and 90% live in developing countries. That means fewer children making the most of school, fewer adults able to work productively, and a $3 trillion cost to the global economy every single year.
“Being up on that stage was a great opportunity,” the 9-year-old told Clearly backstage. “And who knows what’s going to come from that?”
Sightgeist also saw Britain's Department for International Development (DfID) make a commitment to almost double the government’s UK aid spending on support for devices to help people with disabilities, like glasses.
“At the Global Disability Summit we decided to invest £10 million in that programme,” said DfID minister Lord Bates. “The most important thing I’ve got to say today is … that it's been such a success we've decided to almost double it to £19.8 million.”