Disney Gives Brave’s Tomboy Princess Merida A Controversial Sexy Makeover

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If you haven’t yet seen the 2012 Disney/Pixar film ‘Brave’ then please do yourselves a favor and watch it. You don’t need to be into animation or Disney to appreciate the message it sends to young girls: that being young and happy and confident in yourself doesn’t have anything to do with the way you look, but the inner strength you possess. The film also includes some great messages about family values, and how a girl doesn’t need a boy to make her happy or successful.

Disney has announced that it will crown Merida the 11th official Disney princess on May 11 in a ceremony at the Orlando, Fla., theme park’s Cinderella Castle. The ceremony will include a royal coronation, according to Disney news site Inside the Magic. Merida is the first Pixar character to join the Disney lineup.

Fast forward to May 2013, and the movie company has come under fire for changing an important aspect of the film: the “look” of princess Merida. The studio has redesigned Merida’s look to better match that of the traditional Disney princesses, rendering her image without the computer-generated animation for which Pixar has become known. But fans and parents are not happy about this move.

Critics praised Disney for creating a character who was considered more on the ‘plain jane’ tomboy side, the first red-haired princess who didn’t exhibit the traditional perfect proportions like that of her other Princess counterparts, and whose plot line enabled her to show young girls you can be strong and brave without conforming. It’s OK to be unique and a little bit different.

Princess Merida makeover

One group in particular are very annoyed at this sexy makeover thinking it will do more damage in the long run. A Mighty Girl are an organization based in Washington D.C  who, through the children’s books, toys and music the promote, are dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls and, of course, for girls themselves.

The site was founded on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to read books, play with toys, listen to music, and watch movies that offer positive messages about girls and honor their diverse capabilities.

They even have a section on their website called ‘The Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess’ where readers can find a collection of books that feature girls, much like Merida, who are strong role models, not the typical damsel in distress-types who rely on a prince and a pretty dress for their happiness.

A Mighty Girl founders Carolyn Danckaert and Aaron Smith were so upset my Disney’s decision to change Princess Merida’s looks drastically that they started a petition on Change.org to try and force Disney to “return to the original Merida that we all know and love. We ask you to keep Merida Brave!”

The petition includes an open letter to Robert Iger, the Chairman and CEO of Disney to persuade him of the importance of the original Princess Merida image.

“Merida was the princess that countless girls and their parents were waiting for — a strong, confident, self-rescuing princess ready to set off on her next adventure with her bow at the ready. She was a princess who looked like a real girl, complete with the ‘imperfections’ that all people have.”

“The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls’ capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired. Moreover, by making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value — to be recognized as true princesses — they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.”

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A Mighty Girl want Disney to see the importance of a huge company like them showing girls that they too could go off on an adventure and save the day; that it’s not how you look that matters but who you are.

So far they have close to 35 000 signatures and are still looking for more, so if you too feel strongly about this then sign up and support their petition.

Kerry Ballard from Michigan commented on the petition saying “I do not want to see Brave turned into a “Babe”. Leave something for a girl to aspire to besides being arm candy.”

Jessican Banks from Minnesota suggests “There’s no need to sexualize a strong, young, active rolemodel. Instead of making Merida fit the princess model, maybe Disney should change the princess model to fit girls like Merida.”

What do you think about the Disney makeover given to Brave’s Princess Merida? Does it force young girls to think you have to be good looking to be popular or successful? Or are A Mighty Girl just taking things to the extreme?

9 Comments

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  6. Teenage Tomboy says:

    I absolutely hate this whole sexy makeover thing Disney did to Merida. Like WTH! I watched Brave and totally loved how disney finally made a tomboy princess (besides Mulan), and then they go and do THIS!! >:-(

  7. In My Family we’re tolerant enough about art designs to not care about color changes in the photo, we just hope Princess Merida will be allowed to tell Irish, Scottish,Welsh, and Gaelic stories from Celtic folklore and their cool old mythology plus a few Celtic legends in the future. Youngest to oldest Merida and Elena are my granddaughter’s favorite young looking Disney Princesses and then Jane, Pocahontas, and Esmerelda are her favorite older Heroines, especially when you’re not comparing ancient fairy tale females. But Belle and Ariel her favorite pure fantasy Princesses from the ancient days.

    We wish Merida’s T shirts were easier to find at stores not just online they’re beautiful kid or adult. Princess Merida is lucky she’s already earned a snow globe. But she’s fun enough to also deserve selling a coloring book of her whole motion picture, a coloring book for all ages. Merida’s a brave enough female to add to TV series that include just about any Disney Characters. Go to Alaska, Go to the Wild West, Go To Moscow, Meet someone at sea near Norway, or several other places Celtic people now live in or go to do government speech with other leaders. Merida’s definitely friendly and fun enough to be added to Palace Pets cast.

    But let’s hope the sequel doesn’t ruin Princess Merida’s current story.

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