Merida, from Pixar’s “Brave,” was announced as Disney’s 11th princess on Saturday, and her new look has drawn the ire of fans.
The female protagonist of the Oscar-winning “Brave," Princess Merida was defined by her difference from the traditional. She wanted to explore, was not caught up in the pageantry of being a princess and wasn't swooning over princes or looking forward to the courting process. Merida was the antithesis to the traditional Disney princess, but, since being officially named as one, it appears she has undergone a makeover to appear more conventional.
In the drawing of Merida, Disney has made her skinnier while sculpting the girl’s face, making her eyes more oval and further apart. The bow and arrow Princess Merida is seen carrying through “Brave” is nowhere to be found in this new version. According to a petition set up prior to Merida’s induction, Change.org noted the makeover damages the original efforts of Pixar and disregards the young girls who admired Merida in “Brave.”
The petition continues, “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.” That sense of empowerment found in “Brave” seems to have been lost in the transition to Disney princess, and Merida’s transformation has received plenty of negative attention.
In addition to the Change.org petition, which had more than 120,000 supporters, the Atlantic Wire and “Brave” director Brenda Chapman also disapproved of Merida’s makeover. The Atlantic Wire asks why there's a need for a “sexy” makeover, while Chapman wrote to the Marin Independent Journal.
Chapman said the makeover was “atrocious” and added, “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.”