This past Saturday, in a faux coronation ceremony that would make even the Royal Family a tad envious, Walt Disney World officially crowned Merida, the feisty, redheaded, bow and arrow toting, “anti-princess”, role model heroine of Disney/Pixar’s film “Brave”, as the 11th Disney Princess. BUT… in order for her to make the royal court cut, the refreshingly, rougharound the edges Merida required a glamazon makeover by some clearly misguided muckety-mucks at Disney.
From Real Girl Princess To Real Housewife of the Scottish Highlands
From head to toe, here’s what they did to the animated film’s spunky and tomboyish Merida in order to Disney Princess-ify her (i.e. make her acceptable for the official induction).
Hair: her wild curls were shellacked with gallons of anti-frizz serum and tamed into perfect flowing ringlets, while crazy amounts of overall volume were added… we had no idea hair extensions existed in the world of animation
Complexion: her ruddy “I just had the adventure of a lifetime” glow is now porcelain with just the right amount of pink rosiness placed perfectly on the apples of her cheeks
Eyes: went from big, bright eyed “I’m taking on the world” circles, to a much more sultry shape accented with black eyeliner
Smile: her delightfully, open mouth goofy grin is now a sexy, pursed lip, come-hither smirk
Body: her waist has gotten inexplicably smaller and her breasts are now noticeable
Dress: is now off-the-shoulder, low-cut and covered with sparkles (essentially, they put her in the same constricting, garish dress that her character loathed in “Brave”); a slouchy, bedazzled belt has replaced her utilitarian leather belt that held her arrow sheath
Shoes: from round toe to bone crunchingly pointy… just what every adventurer needs when it comes to proper footwear
LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST… the young, expert archer’s signature bow & arrow, a symbol of her strength and independence, are now G-O-N-E!
Disney’s sexed up, post-film marketing version of Merida has sparked outrage not only from “Brave” writer and co-director Brenda Chapman, but from parents alike.
Brenda, who won an Oscar for “Brave”, making her the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, based the strong and willful Merida on her 13-year-old daughter, Emma, intending her to be a more substantive role model for young girls.
“Merida was created to give young girls a better, stronger role model… something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance.” – Brenda Chapman
In response to Disney’s redesign, Brenda passionately explained, “I think it’s atrocious what they have done to Merida.” She continued, “When little girls say they like it because it’s more sparkly, that’s all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy ‘come hither’ look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It’s horrible! Merida was created to break that mold.”
Her character’s anti-“typical Disney princess” image was enormously successful. In addition to winning the Oscar, it scored a Golden Globe as well as the Bafta Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and grossed more than $550 million.
Reportedly, Brenda has already given Bob Iger, President of Walt Disney International, “a piece of my mind” for the entertainment conglomerate’s decision to glamorize the tomboy character she brought to life.
In a recent public statement Brenda wrote, “There is an irresponsibility to this decision that is appalling for women and young girls…They have been handed an opportunity on a silver platter to give their consumers something of more substance and quality — that will still sell — and they have a total disregard for it in the name of their narrow minded view of what will make money.” She added, “Disney marketing and the powers that be that allow them to do such things should be ashamed of themselves.”
Brenda has added her name to the “Say No to the Merida Makeover and Keep Our Hero Brave!” Change.org petition that was created on Saturday, May 4 by A Mighty Girl, one of the world’s largest girl empowerment websites and marketplaces.
The petition focuses on the redesign of Merida in advance of her induction into the Disney Princess collection. In it, they say to Disney:
“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.”
In its first two days, the petition had nearly 9,000 signers and at the time of this post it has surpassed 115,000 signers!
Maybe Disney will finally realize that it’s time for a new kind of fairy tale… the one they have been spoon feeding girls for decades is truly gag inducing, especially in today’s day and age.