We had an overwhelming response to our recent story about Disney’s glam makeover of the beloved character Merida from their film Brave, and wanted to share this important campaign update we received from A Mighty Girl co-founder, Carolyn Danckaert. A Mighty Girl is the group that started the “Say No to the Merida Makeover” petition. And although the petition has garnered over 230,000 signatures to date, Disney is still being elusive in their response to the criticism.
A Mighty Girl reveals that the Disney Consumer Products website features both a Disney Princess collection group picture and numerous products intended for “mass retailers nationwide” that feature the madeover Merida. Unlike the response given by Disney that this design was strictly created as part of a “one-time stylized version” for Target as part of her “coronation,” Disney’s site mentions product placements at stores such as Kohl’s, JCP, and Sears.
In her first op-ed on the Merida Makeover, Brave writer/co-director, Brenda Chapman writes:
“Disney’s move of restoring Merida’s bow and arrow seems like a hastily applied band-aid, hoping to quell the uproar about these unnecessary modifications to a beloved girl.”
“Regardless of the support the petition has received the campaign is not over. And it is still important to speak up. In response to the overwhelming amount of support this petition has received, Disney has only backed down a little. They have yet to make a definitive statement that they intend to restore to Merida her original look, staying true to her character, on all future merchandise. The sexier, slimmer version of Merida with a come-hither look and an off-the-shoulder dress is still very much out there. In fact, it remains to be seen what is “limited” about this current iteration of Merida. Instead, it seems like a very intentional image created for the benefit of future merchandising. Disney’s move of restoring Merida’s bow and arrow seems like a hastily applied band-aid, hoping to quell the uproar about these unnecessary modifications to a beloved girl.”
Carolyn Danckaert, co-founder of A Mighty Girl, says “Merida inspired countless young girls by showing them that they too could go off on adventures and save the day; that it’s not about how you looked that matters but what kind of person you are. With Merida, girls finally had a princess role model that looked like a real girl, complete with the ‘imperfections’ that made her such a unique and appealing character. By redesigning her to fit the mold of the Disney Princess line and making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in her appearance, Disney is sending the message that for girls and women to have value — to be recognized as true princesses — they must conform to this narrow definition of beauty. With our petition, we’re calling on Disney to return to the original Merida that we all know and love and to keep Merida Brave!”