Last Saturday, Disney introduced a new version of princess Merida, the lead character in Pixar’s 2012 animated movie “Brave”. The new Merida looked sexier that the old one, having a skinnier waistline, a curvier silhouette and less messy curls. But, according to her fans of all ages, all Merida’s original charm has been removed this way. “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”, says an online petition posted on change.org, which aimed to force Disney to stick to the original version of the character. The 200,000 signatures that were gathered, together with the overall negative reaction from the public, led the company to remove the sexy Merida from Princesses.Disney.com
The main concern with the teen princess’ makeover was the impact it would have on young girls who identify with her. Such changes in the character’s silhouette imply that the original wasn’t beautiful enough, an idea which instantly triggers self-mage issues. “We’re seeing body image issues with children as young as 7 years old — young children who say they’re on a diet or that they think they’re fat”, child development specialist Betsy Brown Braun told Y! Movies. The new Merida “joins a barrage of thin, sultry characters for girls, making her yet another facet of our sexed-up, thinned down messaging”, added Dr. Robyn Silverman.
Following the stir created by the change in the looks of the freckled curly cute princess, “Brave” director Brenda Chapman opened up about the subject, describing the move as “blatantly sexist” and “based on money”. Chapman explains that she created Merida after her own daughter Emma, with the intention of making it “a role model for little girls” and believes the makeover is “atrocious”. “I forget that Disney’s goal is to make money without concern for integrity. Silly me.”
It seems like Disney had no choice but to submit to the public’s desire of seeing Merida un-pimped and stuck to the original version.