She’s the main Disney character in what some film critics have called the first feminist princess movie. But now she’s getting a makeover.
Merida, from Disney’s animated film Brave, is described as independent, with a realistic body type who does not need to depend on a prince. So it seems suiting the red-headed heroine will be crowned Disney’s eleventh official princess Saturday. But not so fast.
Merida has undergone an extreme makeover for her big day, complete with a slimmed-down look with wider eyes and a new glamorous hair style. And not everyone is happy about it.
“I think we have to be really aware of the messages we are sending to the littlest girls who are Disney’s main captive audience for the princesses,” Beth Kassab, with the Orlando Sentinel, said on Jansing & Co. Friday. “I think what we’re seeing is an attempt by Disney to glam up the princesses…I think we’re seeing an attempt to try to capture a little bit of an older audience.”
Critics of Merida’s new look began a petition on change.org, calling it “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.”
Disney downplayed the negative reaction to the makeover, telling msnbc that Merida’s inner qualities remain intact.
“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,” a Disney spokesman told msnbc.
Not everyone is upset with Merida’s new style.
“Certainly, this type of thing is subjective, but I’m, ah…I’m having trouble seeing the scandal here,” wrote Kristine Cook from the blog ‘Mama Pop.’ “There’s SLIGHTLY more skin around the shoulder, her hair looks combed, and she’s wearing relatively modest dress, but with more gold stuff on it. So, um, be furious?”
“I do think parents have a responsibility to monitor the messages that are out there and what their children are exposed to,” said Vanessa Bush, acting manager of Essence Magazine, to msnbc’s Richard Lui. “The best thing to do, I think, is to see what they’re watching. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on it. And then if they have questions, to be there to talk about it.”