“Brave” heroine Merida just became a part of the Disney princess family, but before joining the royal club, the fiery redhead had to get a controversial makeover. According to a May 10 report by The Huffington Post, the princess lost some weight and had her famous mane tamed for a new promotional picture. Unsurprisingly, some women are not happy that the tomboy hero’s look has been altered.
In the picture that has gone viral, the redheaded “Brave” princess has been given the Jessica Rabbit treatment with a thinner waist and a bigger bust. Her curly hair doesn’t look quite as crazy, and it even looks like she’s sporting a little mascara or eye liner. She’s also wearing the constricting dress that she hated in the movie, and she’s not carrying her trusty bow and arrow. However, she’s smiling confidently instead of pouting about her feminine makeover.
Merida’s character was applauded by feminists who were thrilled that Disney/Pixar finally decided to create a heroine who wasn’t waiting around for her prince to come. She also didn’t have a Barbie doll body like some of the other Disney princesses — her fellow redhead Ariel is one of the worst offenders here with her D-cup seashell bra.
Now female empowerment website A Might Girl has launched a petition begging Disney to undo Merida’s makeover. The petition 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.
Even without the makeover, Merida was still a pretty character — she was slim and had big blue eyes and long hair. Will Disney/Pixar ever mix things up even more by featuring a princess with a few extra pounds or boyish short hair? Could there ever be a Goth princess or one that is an awkward geek? Perhaps the House of Mouse should consider creating such heroines in the future since the princess family has been scrutinized so much.
So do you think it was a mistake to change Merida’s look?