When Disney released “Brave” in 2012 I was so excited. First: she’s a red head, second: she’s sassy, third: she’s Scottish, fourth: she doesn’t need a man, fifth: she’s beautiful without being package. She didn’t look like the normal Disney princess.
HuffPost blogger Kristen Howerton put it best when she wrote, “‘Brave’ may be considered by many to be the first feminist princess movie. Merida does not pine for a prince to come to her rescue, and solves her own problems without the aid of a suitor.”
She was a healthy role model for girls. Her hair was frizzy, her body was more athletic than Barbie’s 34-18-32, she was tough and smart—she was perfect. When Disney announced they were formally making her the 11th princesses feminists of the world rejoiced!
But with her new role came a new look—her hair is smoother and the curls are more defined, she’s thinner with a more defined waist and hips, her eyes are more almond and cat like, her lips are fuller and she no longer has that open smile it’s now merely a smirk.
In short they ruined her. They turned her into every other Disney princess. Her looks are more important than her mind or personality. A Mighty Girl, a female empowerment website, has taken to Change.org to try and convince Disney to leave Merida alone.
The letter on Change.org reads, in part:
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.
The author of Cinderalla Ate My Daughter, Peggy Orenstein, wrote on her personal blog about Merida’s makeover: “In the end, it wasn’t about being brave after all. It was about being pretty.” I couldn’t agree more, I also think Sarah Gray of The Frisky also hit the nail on the head when she said: “If anything Disney should be looking to Merida’s example, and mold the other Princesses in her image: confident, strong and Brave.”