We were so proud of Disney when it released Brave. The movie’s main character, Merida, was Pixar’s first female lead and Disney’s 11th princess, but the first of her kind who looked like a real young woman. She was cute, smart, funny, and fiercely independent. Brave won rave reviews for its main character — Merida was the perfect role model for girls of any age.
Then someone from Disney decided Merida needed a makeover for her entry into the Disney Princesses Collection — and she was morphed into, well, one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends (if he was into redheads). Watch the video below to see what she looks like now.
The new Merida has a larger chest, a teeny, tiny waist, sex kitten hair, and contoured cheekbones. Basically, Disney threw away the positive message that so many moms were originally thrilled to share with their daughters — that you don’t have to fit a mold to be a strong, independent woman — and decided to go with a more, “I’m sexy and I know it” message that seems pretty inappropriate for girls.
It hasn’t just been parents who are outraged by Merida’s makeover. Filmmaker Brenda Chapman, who won an Oscar for the Pixar movie, has blasted the character’s changes in an email to the Marin Independent Journal.
“I think it’s atrocious what they have done to Merida,” Chapman wrote. “There is an irresponsibility to this decision that is appalling for women and young girls.”
She also says she’s given Bob Iger, president of Walt Disney International, “a piece of my mind” for the glamazon makeover. She has even labeled the situation “a blatantly sexist marketing move based on money.”
Chapman went on to say that she knows the new character will be attractive to little girls because they might be blinded by the glitter and glitz she’s been given.
“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,” she adds. “It’s horrible! Merida was created to break that mold — to give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance.”
After outraged fans started petitions, it seems that Disney has heard Chapman and her supporters loud and clear and have replaced the redesigned Merida with the original princess on its official princess website.
A Disney spokesperson offered a statement to Yahoo! Shine that said, “Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate, and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world.”
Was it the petitions or the bad press that did the trick? Who knows! We’re just happy to have our good, old Merida back.