This past Saturday (May 11, 2013) Disney decided to make Merida from the movie “Brave” its 11th princess. Unfortunately they also decided to give her a makeover which has caused a great deal of back lash especially from the creator of the film Brenda Chapman. The much talked about makeover includes “giving her a Barbie doll waist, sultry eyes and transforming her wild red locks into glamorous flowing tresses. The new image takes away Merida’s trusty bow and arrow, a symbol of her strength and independence, and turns her from a girl to a young woman dressed in an off-the-shoulder version of the provocative, glitzy gown she hated in the movie.” Chapman is disgusted by the changes made to her character, which she modeled after her own 13 year old daughter with the goal of giving young girls a strong role model. This risky move for a stronger Disney female lead paid off, the film grossed over $550 million and earned Chapman a place in film history as the first woman to win the Academy Award for animated feature.
That said it’s no surprise that she is less than pleased with the changes and more than “Brave” enough to speak out for her character and young girls everywhere. In a statement about this changes she was quoted as follows “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 — 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.”
Chapman isn’t alone in her outrage over these changes. A female empowerment website “A Mighty Girl” who aims at providing a one stop website for entertainment and educational resources aimed at helping parents raise “smart, confident and courageous girls”, started a petition to protest the changes Disney made that Chapman has signed and is encouraging others to do so as well. Since this article was published on Saturday the number of signatures had doubled to over 100,000 (I’ve attacked a link at the end of this post, please go sign)!
A Disney spokesperson released the following statement in response to the controversy, “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.” It’s obvious that they don’t truly believe this or Merida could have become a princess without receiving a makeover. This suggests that Disney is stuck in their essentialist mind set when it comes to their princesses. The group of princesses Merida joined are as follows; Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, and Raunzel. Some of the previous princesses are seen as strong female characters but that strength only goes so far in that they all have love interests that play a significant role in their characters development. Although they are of different ethnic backgrounds they all exemplify the same standard of beauty with perfect hair, tiny waists and so on. Merida is the first not to have a love interest or sing a major song yet Disney still felt that they needed to keep things the way they have always been and make her over to match the type of physical beauty shown by the other princesses.
I have had a problem with Disney for a long time now for their strict adherence to the gender roles propelled by our hetero normative society and this is just another strike against them. I don’t think I can close this better than how Chapman closed her own statement on the issue so I will leave you with her words, “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. I forget that Disney’s goal is to make money without concern for integrity. Silly me”.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION!!!
I’d like to start a project for all those on tumblr.
I make lucky paper stars. But, from now on, I’d like to make them for a purpose.
If you (have ever)-
Reblog this and I’ll write your URL on the paper before I fold it into the star. I would like to see how full the jar is by this day next year.
- Teacher: Where is the place you go to get away from all the drama in your life?
- Popular Girl: My boyfriends arms.
- Teacher: Aww
- Class: Aww
- World: Aww
- Me: My fridge.
- Popular Girl:
- Me: Aww.
With school. I just want to give up or graduate.
Why won’t you let me post a photo set from my phone?! >:’(
Dave Grohl (via downbythetyrabanks)