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Disney Reverses Merida Makeover, But Still Seems to Miss the Point

brave-merida

Last week, I spent a bit of time with a 5-year-old girl with flaming red hair who lives in Vienna, Austria, where some very real princesses once lived (she has a hat that reads “Sisi, Princess of Austria”). But this little girl is a fan of imaginary princesses, too. When we met, she was sporting pink Sleeping Beauty socks, and had even adorned her brother’s Cars backpack with a Cinderella sticker.

Even in the land of the Hapsburgs, the Disney princesses still reign.

In case you haven’t met any 5-year-olds lately, here’s the dirt (or pixie dust) on Disney Princesses: In 2000, a Disney executive named Andy Mooney came up with the idea to market products branded with Disney princess characters in the entertainment giant’s back catalog. Old guard princesses like Snow White and Cinderella were posed next to new princesses like Pocahontas and Mulan. This was a new strategy for the company, and it worked frighteningly well — so well, in fact, that Peggy Orenstein wrote a fantastic New York Times essay and book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, deriding the princess fever that infected every facet of children’s pop culture starting in the early 2000s.

Merida, before and after the Disney Princess makeover

Merida, before and after the Disney Princess makeover

Every so often, Disney refreshes its Princess line by adding another movie character to the crew. Last week, Disney officially inducted Merida, the heroine of the movie Brave, into the Princess sorority. In the process, she also received a wee bit of a makeover. While movie Merida is childlike in her features, wears a simple dress, and carries a bow and quiver, her Princess alter ego has an hourglass figure, a face covered in makeup, a gold-embroidered off-the-shoulder gown, and has no weapon at all.

Jezebel and other feminist blogs were not pleased, nor was Brave writer and co-director Brenda Chapman, who said the redesign is a “blatantly sexist marketing move based on money.” She had based Merida on her own daughter, Emma. On Wednesday, Disney announced it would pull the images of made-over Merida from its website, asserting they were part of a one-time-only promotion for Merida’s “coronation.”

Brave is the first Pixar release with a female lead, but long before its premiere, blogger Linda Holmes penned a great essay begging the studio to make a movie about a girl with pluck – and not one about a princess. “If we had to wait for your thirteenth movie for you to make one with a girl at the center,” she wrote, “couldn’t you have chosen something — something — for her to be that could compete with plucky robots and adventurous space toys?” As it turned out, Merida was all that and more: She rides horses, fights bears, casts spells and, of course, shoots arrows. For a movie about female characters, it’s not a particularly feminine film. After all, the other female lead spends most of her screen time as a bear.

Much has already been written about how terrible a hyper-feminine version of Merida is for little girls, who should have role models who aren’t covered in sparkles and wrapped in corsets and lace. I agree with that, for sure. But I also grew up playing with an Ariel doll, and she spent a large portion of her days trying on various shell bikinis. It didn’t mess me up for life, make me want to be a princess or think I should be waif-thin and boy-crazy. My grandfather once gave me a Barbie doll for my birthday (against my mother’s wishes) and asked, “Do you want to look like Barbie?” I looked at him like he was nuts. “Of course not! Why would I want that?” I would like to think that most little girls are smart enough to know they’re not defined by the dolls they play with or the costumes they wear.

But Merida is a lost opportunity for Disney and Pixar. Aside from being female, there’s nothing in Merida’s character that defines her as “for boys” or “for girls.” In the real world, some boys try on dresses, some girls play with monster trucks. Kids didn’t ask to separate toy stores into boy aisles and girl aisles; adults did that for them. No little girl ever said, “Mommy, why isn’t my doll’s waist small enough?” Adults made up those beauty standards all on their own. The Disney Princess line is solidly in a “girl” category, where boys are not — by our narrow definitions of gender — supposed to go. Boys need strong female role models as much as girls do. They need to see that girls are capable of fighting as well as caring, being brave as well as being kind. How great would it be to see a little boy galloping around his backyard pretending to save his Scottish village from a bear, imaginary Merida at his side?

Although Disney has retracted its initial re-imagining of Merida, the company is unlikely to withdraw its re-invention of Belle or Mulan. In the Princess line of products, Mulan typically wears a gown, not her battle garb. Check out the differences between the 1991 movie poster for Beauty and the Beast, and the poster for the 3D re-release in 2012:

beauty-and-the-beast

The colors on Belle’s dress are incorrect in the original poster (she wears blue and white in the movie), but she’s depicted without the Beast (he’s lurking within the clouds), in the outfit she wears for 95 percent of the film. In the updated version, she’s in her ball gown, gazing lovingly — not an active stance, but a passive one.

Whatever else Disney claims that Princesses are about (kindness, bravery, doing gymnastics), they’re really about selling dresses and dolls. I hope that Merida, in her movie form, will continue to be a beacon of anti-Princess for girls who don’t want to wear a sparkly dress — even if Disney executives see it differently.

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Comments

  • JP

    Am I the only one who didn’t have an issue with the redesign? It makes sense that all the characters in the princess line are dressed like princesses, right? It would make no sense for Mulan to wear her battle armor for princess line things. Maybe the problem is the princess line itself, if there is a problem at all.

    I remember the 90s well – and no one complained back then about Disney glorifying princesses. My sister and female friends all loved dressing up like all the Disney princesses. Why is it a problem now?

  • Frank

    You people look way too much into things, you ever think that the reason that the updated boxart is of that scene is because of how iconic it is.

    Jesus, get some common sense instead of just thinking “Oh no, they hate women” or some other bullshit.

  • Trekker4747

    I think the issue was taken way, way, to far. The “redesign” was still a skinny red-haired girl. Oh, she had on makeup, her hair as tamed and she wasn’t carrying her bow and quiver? The horrors. She was still essentially the same. Get over it, people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jz-Belexes/100001188365758 J.z. Belexes

    Except in the movie she blatantly and pointedly derided dresses and makeup, and they were completely antithetical to her character. Parents want strong female role models for their children who aren’t just boycrazy helpless damsels, and for a while, Merida was that. The Disney redesign turned her into yet another sexualized glamorous bimbo, the complete polar opposite of her POINT.

  • http://twitter.com/nataliereed84 Natalie Reed

    And already the comments consist 100% of dudes telling us to all just get over it, and how women are all oversensitive and uptight and flipping out over the tiniest thing. And that’s despite the fact that Anna DID go into how she didn’t regard girly toys in her own childhood as having harmed her in any particular way. You dudes have barely even read the article and are already all ramped up to tell women what we should or shouldn’t have opinions on, what should or shouldn’t be an issue to us, and when we should or shouldn’t speak up. It’s EXACTLY attitudes like that which are why issues like this aren’t non-issues.

  • Dave

    Once again the outrage society gets mad about a meaningless issue

  • http://twitter.com/goodfornuthin Ginga Ninja Avenga

    Its a good thing we cured racism, war, disease and the crumbling world economy so that we can spend time worrying about stupid shit like this.

  • Amanda

    What a useless controversy. Obviously Merida would look somewhat different, it happens with all the 3D to 2D transisitions. And both versions aren’t actually really that different to be honest.

    Can you imagine if the Little Mermaid was released today? All the drama these pseudo-feminists would ensue over Ariel wearing a seashell bra? I miss those simple times, when people would watch a cartoon for what it was, and not pick on every little thing and make fuss over nothing.

    This futile argument undermines what feminism is all about. Instead of worrying themselves with important matters like rape, they make a freaking petition about Merida’s waist being 2 inches smaller. Dear Lord. Are we so bored with our own lives?

  • Leslie

    If you really think this cartoon is a sexualized bimbo, then you sir is a sick person.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dfullam David Fullam

    I’m with you. This may be the dumbest controversy to come down the road in a long time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.ryan.31 Tim Ryan

    yet i dont see men complaining how every show on TV tells us all men are three things 1)sex crazed animals 2)too stupid to know our own names and 3)overly macho leading to the first two. All i’m saying is dont feel so persecuted all the time… we sure dont

  • PK

    actually, the comments aren’t really saying any of that. You’re making these comments, and people who aren’t on your side in this issue, into some diabolical patriarchal, male straw-man.

    Where is the comment saying that all women, or women generally, are “all oversensitive and uptight?” Where are the comments saying that women “should or shouldn’t have opinions” on this? You’re magically turning this into an issue AGAINST WOMEN when really, the opposition is really more focused on this one re-design specifically.

    What I have seen are people who legitimately don’t see the downright seismic difference between the 3D pixar image and the 2d illustrated image. That’s been bar none the single biggest point of opposition I’ve seen on this issue: that many just don’t see a big enough difference between the two images to merit this much “controversy.” And I get that: from some of the comments that have been made against the redesign, y ou’d think Merida was thrown into provocative lingerie or something.

    And then there’s the offshoot of that, which is people legitimately wondering how the redesigned image is “sexualized.” If anything, I’d think that men would be fairly qualified to comment on that latter point given that a sexualized woman is, at a base level, dolled up in their interests….so if the men are all puzzled over how exactly an image is meant to arouse them or how exactly it’s “sexualized”….well, yeah, there’s something of worth there.

  • LightningBug

    Clearly Spinoff/CBR readers have no interest in or understanding of feminism. Comments sections on dozens of similar articles prove that. Bummer.

  • apple

    Did it occur to you that the Beast is also in the exact same position as the Beauty instead of being all frightening and scary like in the first poster ?

    No, because you only look and see what you want to see.

  • CMFTW

    I feel like I’m the only dude that 100% agrees with you which is sad. The blind & sexist comments on here are ridiculous!

  • JP

    Or maybe some people just don’t understand why this is an issue. I’ve probably read a dozen articles on this redesign over the past few days, and I still have yet to see the problem here. All they did was put Merida in her Sunday Best. So what?

    This is for the DISNEY PRINCESS line; why wouldn’t they make her look a bit more like a princess? It’s not like every piece of Merida marketing shows her like this. They also sell bow and arrow sets, which are hardly a typical “girl” toy, and they use her movie look on a bunch of other different merchandise.

    So rather than assuming readers don’t have an understanding of feminism, maybe you should try to explain why this is such a bad thing, because I haven’t read anything yet that’s convinced me.

  • kalorama

    Much ado about nothing.

    Looking at the two images side by side, I’m at a complete loss to see anything in the 2D version that would suggest any kind of “hyper feminization.” The only significant difference is that in the 2D version she appears to have run a comb through her hair and is wearing a more formal version of the same outfit. It’s not like she went from dressing like Robin Hood to dressing like Maid Marion. She wore a dress in the movie. In fact, aside from the lighter shade and some glitter, it’s basically the same dress in the “redesign.” This is the most empty controversy to come down the pike in a while, and that’s saying something.

    At some point shouldn’t we, as a society, just be overcome with outrage fatigue?

  • http://twitter.com/DoctorDeadpool Christopher Shafer

    Hey, if it’s not what little girls want then it wouldn’t make money. And isn’t what they want more important than what we think they should want?

  • http://www.facebook.com/leandroarteagavega Leandro Arteaga Vega

    Oh my God how do they dare to put her in a mini skirt and bra top!!!

  • Matt

    i still don’t understand how Mulan becomes a princess.

  • Claudio Pozas

    That is only one of the many images of Merida done for the Princesses line. She also has images with her dark green dress, and carrying her bow. Several of the changes were part and parcel of the transition between a CGI character and a 2D illustration. For more images of Merida, check the following site:

    http://www.insidethemagic.net/2013/05/exclusive-disney-bravely-responds-to-merida-makeover-outrage-says-2d-new-look-was-for-limited-use-only/

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.dewolf.1 Ryan DeWolf

    The Belle argument here is just insane. The updated poster makes a lot of sense as the dance is THE MOST IMPORTANT AND MEMORABLE SCENE in the entire movie! It’s when she realizes that just because he frightening looking doesn’t mean he’s a malicious monster. It’s where the heroine finally looks beyond looks and at the person underneath. The beast has rage issues but wouldn’t you if you were turned into a horrible scary monster for 10 years (which would, according to Supervising animator Glen Keane, would have made him 11 at the time he was turned) along with everyone who cares about you being turned into objects? Beast had the lives of hundreds of people depending on him finding someone that he loved who could look past his monstrous appearance. I don’t agree that holding Belle prisoner was the right thing to do, but he was attempting to save everyone he loved from a horrible fate.

    Besides anyone who’s seen the movie in the last 22 years knows that they fall in love so it makes sense to take away the poster where the beast is a creeper and Belle is in incorrect clothing dancing with characters who couldn’t be where they are. It makes the villain look like it’s the beast and not the Enchantress who cursed an entire castle of people for a pre-teen’s foolish insult or the fearful and ignorant villagers who attacked their monarch because Gaston wanted to screw some girl that was 1000000% not interested.

  • Charlie

    Oh . So you see comments that are not really on here , too ? Smh .

  • http://www.facebook.com/lsticka Luke Sticka

    No one’s prioritizing this over rape or employment equality. That is an unfortunate artifact of your own perception. The existence of an article on the Internet has not de-prioritized those issues.

    As for writing this off as a cosmetic overhaul and nothing more – the statement in and of itself is indicative of a thorough lack of understanding as to just how distorted and incomplete the female image is in popular media, but I’ll try not to patronize anyone by directly suggesting such a thing.

    Image is the difference between casting Megan Fox over Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, and directing her to strike a seductive pose against the equipment she’s maintaining(I mean really, Bryan Singer? would YOU fix a motorcycle in that position?)

    Yes, it *does* matter when a person’s body language and appearance belie their tasks. The fact that one would argue “well of COURSE a princess has to look a certain way” is proof enough, wouldn’t you say?

    Look, I don’t need to recite the standard speech about what popular media does to body imagery. Just consider what’s really lost when someone – real, fictional, CGI, anyone – manages to rise above all that and portray someone in a different light, and then have that fundamental aspect of their character taken away.

  • P!

    Nothing about making something 2D requires sparkly off the shoulder dresses, tiny waists, makeup, and a lack of weapons. All of the concept art was done in 2D mind you. It looked nothing like the redesign. People care because it’s so difficult to find strong female roles in films, even in films for children. This is the only Pixar film with a female lead. Often with female characters beauty is shown to be the most important trait for them to have. Also, putting the tomboy character who HATED her fancy dress, into a fancy dress to market her is completely ridiculous.

  • P!

    All of the concept art was done in 2D mind you. It looked nothing like the redesign. People care because it’s so difficult to find strong female roles in films, even in films for children. This is the only Pixar film with a female lead. Often with female characters beauty is shown to be the most important trait for them to have. Putting the tomboy character who HATED her fancy formal dress, into a fancy dress to market her is completely ridiculous and missing the point. Did you see the film? I don’t really see why they couldn’t just go off of the original concept art designs.

  • P!

    You’re saying that’s what they want.

  • P!

    Concept art is part of the process of making a 3D animated film. There was already 2D versions of Merida before the movie was even made. None of them featured sparkly off the shoulder dresses by the way.

  • P!

    Well said. I feel for the frustration of the character’s creator.

  • http://twitter.com/DoctorDeadpool Christopher Shafer

    Not universally and my main point is that it’s a choice no less valid than any other.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=48805881 Michael Fitz-Gibbon

    But she looks exactly the same in the “redesign”, except being rendered in 2D rather than CGI.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Miller/1680738593 Brian Miller

    The only thing wrong about this situation is this article. Disney doesnt know the importance of female role models? You are dense and should not be allowed to write.

  • http://twitter.com/Vrtlmrk Mark Rosenthal

    For all you guys who don’t think this was an issue – you’re showing your true colours

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1583430075 Quinn Hopkins

    how much can you bitch about the same insignificant thing?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1583430075 Quinn Hopkins

    Except she wore dresses the entire movie?

  • kalorama

    Makeup? What “makeup”? Her cheeks are just as “rosy” in the before image as they are in the after. So if she’s wearing makeup in the latter, then she’s wearing it in the former as well.

  • PK

    oh no, she’s showing approximately one more inch of shoulder than in Pixar’s design! The horror! The travesty! The rampant sexuality.

    How Victorian of you. Thank goodness she didn’t show her ankles, or you might well pass out.

  • PK

    except there’s nothing sexualized or disempowering about her actual body language. She has her hands on her hips in a confident, self-assured posture.

    Failing to see how you are able to find equivalence between that and Megan Fox bending over a car in short shorts.

  • PK

    yup, you got me, I’m clearly a raging misogynist because I find myself unable to get up in arms over one inch of exposed shoulder blade.

  • http://twitter.com/snakebitgoat Boondock Brony

    I agree Merida’s not even 10 years old and people are crying over it. As for the makeover itself. It’s NOWHERE near as different as it could’ve been seriously the only thing really missing is the weapon and is that really what made Merida cool? A prop? No

  • Bl00dwerK

    Just because the character is female doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion…

  • Amanda

    Wrong. This is one of the clipart arts of 2D Merida. There are others out there with her carrying her bow and arrows. Funny, how people outraged by the redesign NEVER post the 2D art version with the bow, right?

    It’s not difficult to find strong female roles in films. This is the same company who gave us Pocahontas, Mulan and Tiana, who IMO are much better role models than Merida.

    Also, wrong again. This is not a fancy dress. It’s the same dress Merida wears at the end of the movie when she reconciles with her mother, hence it’s not a dress she hated.

    All in all, a futile controversy.

  • Leslie

    Reading too much into it, pal. There’s nothing sexualized about this piece of cartoon. If you really think this is sexy, then you’ve got a problem.

    Children don’t pay attention to this kind of stuff. It’s adults who make a fuss over nothing.

  • KimAZ

    There are so many other things to worry about that the look of a Disney princess doesn’t really rank high up there on my list. Now that this has gone on for more than a week I am annoyed and so I am commenting. She’s dressed up for her Coronation, people dress up for stuff like that even when they don’t want to. I also wouldn’t think she would show up for her own coronation armed with her bow and arrow.

    Last week when all of this started, I found it ironic that the people that complained the most were the same people that had just posted pictures of their daughters dressed up for Prom. They added comments like, “My ‘Julie’ is a bit of a tomboy and never wears dresses but she was excited for Prom and even wore makeup.” I guess I should have left comments that ‘Julie’ was a sellout or how this would put her morality into question.

    My daughter will have a good body image because we (her parents) are teaching her that people come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one size fits all. My daughter loves Disney but she knows the difference between reality and storytelling, As much as we might want flying carpets, talking animals and birds fixing us breakfast, our family is aware that it’s not going to happen.

    I am a mom of an eleven year old daughter, so I get this issue, I really do. The important thing here is that women don’t have to choose between being strong or sexy. I love to watch football and I can wield power tools like a pro, and yet, I am also a bellydancer and like to get dressed up on occasion. And I have a geeky side that loves Sci Fi and goes to comicon every year. Just because I am wearing a dress doesn’t mean I couldn’t kick some ass, and I think the same goes for Merida.

  • Carol

    Well duh! No shit, Sherlock. The redesign is for the Disney princess line of products. Of course it won’t look the same as the concept art. The point is to make the princesses to stand out and sell products.

    All of the princesses were redesigned early this year, all of the designs are full of sparkles and glitter.

    It’s not Disney’s job to raise your children or to teach them lessons. It’s their job to sell their products. That’s what the DisneyPrincess line is all about. To sell princess merchandise.

  • James

    Hear hear. I was thinking the same thing about her dress. Why wouldnt she dress up? Also its disney, what did people expect?

    As the ‘feminists’ commenting on here and elsewhere, you really need to pick your battles. Getting worked up over the smaller things (of which this is neither large nor small) just guarantees that the people your preaching to wont get why your so upset, and so when a big issue comes along they’ll be so bored of it all that they wont be listening when it matters.

  • werehawk

    My biggest problem is that no Disney princess should wear makeup at all, let alone adolescent ones. That is what led my daughter (when she was 2) to put red marker all over her lips one day and today (now 4) to constantly ask me if she looks pretty after she puts on chapstick. Disney should actually take a page from the Barbie movies which has more of women in action than most female character Disney movies (Brave & Mulan being the exceptions)

  • echo P

    I do see the point of contention with most female and some male viewers. The dress, while not that much different than her own, is more similar to the one she didn’t like in the film. However, the dress in the film also had more elements that are missing on this one. But sure, for the sake of argument, I’d say let her have her original dress (the one that she liked).

    That being said, I totally understand the male standpoint. Women and men are NOT the same. This whole issue of women being over-sexualized can be interpreted as male/media propaganda. However, women are as much to blame for this social stigma as men.

    The next time a woman wants to get married, she can save herself a few hundred (or a few thousand) bucks by not purchasing that super expensive wedding dress that makes her look like (Gasp!) a princess! The next time a woman decides to dress up for a party, she should think twice before wearing a mini-skirt or anything revealing because in that case she IS over-sexualized and no one is doing that to her but herself! It is a deliberate choice!

    My point is this: Yes, I understand the Merida issue and it’s really a simple fix for disney to change the design a bit. But the bigger issue on the over-sexualization of women in the media, is a contradiction of how women themselves present their own image. If you want to change that, start at the source which is yourselves. If you don’t want to be seen as a sex-object, present YOURSELF in a different manner. Same for men! End of story. That’s my two cents on the issue.

  • Outrageous@outrage.biz.jem

    ::Writes comment about how objectifying women makes total sense from a business standpoint (you ladiez don’t know anything abt biz, obvs). Writes comment about how men actually have it worse b/c of Kevin James stereotypes & also Chris Hemsworth looks good w/o his shirt on so there. Pops collar. Eats Doritos Locos. Is outraged by the outrage.::

  • Jake Meier

    Second article regarding this I’ve read, and again all the commentors are saying, “I dont see a problem or much difference” so I’m wondering how all these bloggers keep their jobs, when clearly their readers disagree with everything they say. Also, why do these readers return, they are looking for meaningful commentary on pop culture, and this is where they keep turning? You want to talk about sexism? Maybe we should talk about how women make less money than men, or how women in the middle east get punished for being raped, not about how Mulan isn’t wearing her battle armor. Choose your battles people.

  • Jake Meier

    Whats a bummer, is that there are more articles on this site about disney princesses being changed than there are about women who are abused and treated unequally, and I’m talking in the western world, where women are treated “equally” let alone the rest of the world where women are so oppressed they can’t even leave their homes alone. You know what princess this reminds me of? The Princess and the pea. She was such a pain in the ass she felt a pea under a dozen mattresses, kind of like how bloggers feel the sting of 3d rendering turned illustration. I have quite an understanding of feminism, and art, as that’s what I do, and what I see here, is a redesign from one medium to another, we can judge it as such, but this has no where near as much to do with sexism as you think.

  • Jake Meier

    you shouldn’t. they sold their soul and character to disney, its theirs to do with as they please. If the creator wanted to retain control over the character, they should have considered how disney is when it comes to controlling their universe of characters. Greed is more powerful than a desire to tell good stories. The creator proves that.

  • http://twitter.com/verdaera Vera Campbell

    No, she derided tight, constricting dresses meant to make her look like a ‘proper lady’ when she really wanted to run around, get dirty and have fun. It was still a dress, but you’re obviously missing the point.

  • http://twitter.com/p_keely Patrick Keely

    Michael Bay directed the Transformers movies. So if you’re going to call out a movie director for their film making choices, at least call out the correct one.

  • http://twitter.com/verdaera Vera Campbell

    The point of this whole thing is the Merida make-over is entirely against what this one particular character is about. Now I grew up with the classic Princesses and as a costumer, I love dressing up in that ballgown, but then will turn around and put on something bad-ass like a Jedi… the Princesses didn’t alter my view on what it means to be feminine, and there’s nothing wrong with liking that sparkly dress as much as wanting to go play in the woods and get dirty. The whole point was this one particular character, being the sparkly princess was NOT what she was about. It was obvious in the film the corset (though historically inaccurate for the time period, but I digress), restricting dress, and being made to act like a ‘proper lady’ were making her miserable. It was great to have a more ‘tom-boy’ role model for girls, that told them it’s ok to want to run around, climb trees and rough-house. The fact that Disney took this particular character and put her in exactly the type of role she didn’t want, and was in fact the opposite of what her whole character is about, was wrong. That’s why there’s a controversy, minor though it may be. It’s not like people are taking time off their jobs to organize protest rallies. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, unfortunately some people on here are using that right to be total assholes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dfullam David Fullam

    AMEN!

  • Siriously?

    Disney is a company that is out to make money. Adding a character to their princess line is their Tuesday. Crowd control over whatever knee-jerk reaction the public has over Tuesday, is Wednesday.

    My Tuesday and Wednesday is spent raising my daughter. It’s not spent worrying that Disney is going to turn her mind into mush. That’s one of the many things parenting is for. For me to explain to her how little this matters and how she can do whatever reasonable thing she sets her mind to.

  • JP

    Yes, I’ve seen the film. To be honest, I didn’t like it as much as I hoped/expected to, but that’s not really relevant here. I agree that Merida was a great character, but she’s not alone in that, especially among these other Disney Princesses. Mulan, Aladdin, Pocahontas… these movies aren’t ones where “beauty is shown to be the most important trait for them to have.” Jasmine hates the traditions of being a Princess as much as Merida does, and Mulan poses as a man to fight in a war. Sure, they’re not as tomboyish (to use your description), but I think you get my point.

    As to why they didn’t use the original concept art, it’s because she’s meant to fit in with the overall design of the Princess line. By the end of the movie, I’d say she’s learned enough that, while she doesn’t like wearing dresses, she would dress up for her coronation. I would also like to emphasize that she’s DRESSED UP – not SEXED UP – because the “sexualization” complaint is absurd (not directed specifically at you). It’s not as if this is the only design they use – there is still plenty of marketing and merchandise with her and her bow. If she was only shown in this dress from here on out, then maybe I’d see the issue.

  • Spiderlantern

    Two things.

    One. Why is a tomboy pretty much the only seemingly considered strong female role? Women that are boy crazy or into their looks can be strong too.

    Two. If there was like a gentleman’s gang or something like that that had like James Bond and similar characters that were mostly smooth, debonair, get the girls types depicted in suits pretty much and they were like we’re inducting Indianna Jones and put him in a suit without his hat and whip and a shaved face, would you be saying anything? No, you wouldn’t. In fact you’d probably laugh at and tease any of us that might complain. “Oh what he needs his whip? Grow up, he looks a little cuter since he shaved.”

  • http://www.living-silver.com Living Silver

    That’s because us men have tons of role models giving us options on who we want to be like. There are at least 10 male leads in the first 13 Pixar movies, speaking to a variety of male types. Flick is different from Woody who is different from Buzz who is different from Mr. Incredible who is different from Sully.

    Little girls have Merida.

    I think it makes sense that some women will be a little protective of how she’s portrayed.

  • The One and Only

    Long story short. Jezebel was on the rag. This bit of info came across her laptop. Needless to say all hell breaks loose.

  • Emily

    I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. I grew up with Disney Princesses and I am anything but girly. I play sports and my next project is fencing. I’ve played soccer and softball and honestly, I hate wearing dresses and I especially hate wearing makeup. So in all honesty, I don’t think that its the Princess that makes the stereotypes, it’s the environment around the child that creates those stereotypes. But even more so, it’s a little upsetting to know that a girl has to be a strong role model means she can’t wear dresses. Just because the Princess line (Princess’ who wear dresses in the line) has Merdia in a dress, apparently changes that she’s a kick-ass awesome person. If anything, it can show that you don’t have to wear dresses to be feminine and it shows that just because you wear pants instead of dresses makes you a tom-boy.

    So if the fact that Merida gets a dress and and some make-up really upsets you, then think about your own perception of life. As I said before, I was brought up on Disney and the “demeaning” values on women haven’t stuck with me. It’s a cartoon.

  • Chloe the condor

    Why are people mad that her waist is slimmer? Maybe if she wasn’t wearing 12 petticoats in the movie, her waist would look like that. I also think that yes, JP, they should be dressed like princesses if its a reinvests lineup. Calm your sensitive souls

  • Chloe the condor

    I meant princess not reinvest. Darn auto correct

  • CP

    This kind of story is one of the reasons that SEX is so prevalent in our society. From crying “sexism” about every princess to California’s law requiring that history books make note of gay historical figures – society is now indoctrinating SEX into kids at a very young age. And not in a positive light. And then there are those that wonder why kids are so sexually active early in life. Really?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1583430075 Quinn Hopkins

    The point being what exactly? That sparkles automatically undermine the feminist messages of the character and film? Tell that to the millions of feminists around the world who love playing sports, going camping, or just digging in the dirt one day and going to a ball in a beautiful sparkly dress the next. Merida didn’t hate dresses, she hated being forced into one. She hated being presented to men as a trophy for some contests. She hated not having a say in her life. The issue surrounding the “redesign” (a different art style and some glitter) is mostly projection, being upset that one depiction of the character doesn’t support your otherwise subjective interpretation of the source material. Or maybe I should rewatch the movie. Maybe she does say, “I like dresses just fine, but I hate sparkles and being drawn instead of rendered.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/lsticka Luke Sticka

    Hey good call. Miss the entire point so you can tell me who directed a really terrible movie. Feels good man.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lsticka Luke Sticka

    Show me where I said the cartoon was sexy. I didn’t.

    I juxtaposed Megan Fox and Sigourney Weaver because one is the depiction of a female character who can handle a flamethrower her own damn self and isn’t largely reduced to vapid screams and eye candy when it’s time for a boss fight, and the other is in the Transformers movies.

    You don’t have to ‘pay attention’ to be a product of your environment. When kids are shown images of women being groomed over and over to be slimmer and sleeker and curvier than they were in the last movie, it does color their perception. When women are portrayed as props in media, it colors their perception. As sentient creatures we have the privilege of being able to read into things, but very young children don’t necessarily fully realize that – would you really suggest that exposing children to tropes without engaging them in conversation about the things they just saw isn’t essentially leaving all the teaching up to the media they were just exposed to?

    Look Disney can do whatever it wants, but adults have a big responsibility in making sure that kids really do get that, after seeing a long line of cartoons where all the females are squeamish scaredy-cats that fit into size 2s and all the males are strapping up-to-the-task heroes, that really in real life it doesn’t always play out that way. Yes even the small stuff; no woman looks like that when she wakes up first thing in the morning. Men don’t have to be heartless, emotionally retarded doofuses who solve everything with physical confrontations or beers and a punch on the arm. Women don’t need men to complete their lives in spite of the line of rom-coms would have us believe. Men aren’t necessarily reduced to quivering morons whenever a woman is attractive. And so on.

    The way media shapes our view of ourselves is well-documented, how can you argue that?

  • http://twitter.com/p_keely Patrick Keely

    Not a problem, glad I could help.

  • Gaunt Dusk

    Here’s a random statement. Why is it that Mulan is thought of as a princess? She’s not one. She’s married to a General and that’s it. The Emporer is in no way blood related to Shang. Not only is she married to a General but she’s probably his second in command or also a General.
    That being said, the disney princesses really are supposed to be the epitome of femininity. Or at least that’s how I think of them. Hence why I don’t really include princesses that exhibit any sense of baddassery among them.

  • Rebecca

    She also has longer eyelashes and eyeliner… It is very different.

    I think the bigger problem that you are not noticing the differences. That speaks to the issue more than you know.

  • Rebecca

    Yes. If the Little mermaid was released today it would get a shitton of negative reactions. I think what you mean by simpler times is silent times. That film is incredibly racist and sexist. Not just because of the seashell bra and unbelieveably tiny waist on Ariel, but the entire premise of the film.

    A girl who gets her voice taken away and has to make a man fall in love with her using only her looks? and it works? It’s awful. Like I dont even understand how this is up for debate.

    It is as clear as day that Walt Disney himself favourited dudes over chicks. He only hired guys as animators for god sake! That was how it was back in the day. But that doesnt mean it is right.

    I am very happy that people have the education to know what this character redesign represents and the ability to speak up about it.

  • Kim Reid

    Have to respectfully disagree – anyone who has seen the movie Brave would know that dressing up Merida in a dress with make-up would be completely against her character. Ironically, the whole thesis of the movie is to not force people into boxes – or you’ll get turned into a bear ;-)

  • Victoria Gates

    Sorry
    I get people are angry about this.. but as a child I grew up on Disney
    movies and I loved them. Going to Disney World was like stepping into a
    fairytale and exciting when I was a teen. Princesses Snow White,
    Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, and Belle were all gorgeous and thin and
    pretty. I also played with Barbies in the 80’s when they had leather
    like pink skirts, fishnets, and everything parents today would complain
    was slutty and sparkles. Yet here I am as an adult.. I have great
    self-confidence.. I don’t worry about being a princess or having fancy
    things and I certainly don’t dress like a slut. All this uproar is
    wasted.. Get in an uproar about Starvation, Hate, Racism, Politicians
    taking our money and giving it to terrorists in the name of foreign aid,
    ((The things TRULY will effect our children.)) and stop with wasting
    time on demanding pretty dollies be made to look like average Jane Doe
    over there.

  • RHAddict

    Why can’t she be a princess without wearing a certain type of dress? Why can’t she be a girl without wearing makeup or having a tame hair? This is what people are angry about, she did not have visible eyelashes, eyeliner or makeup in the movie. She did not like wearing dresses that are tight. Her hair was so wild and fuzzy and not tame. The ‘princess’ version is completely opposing her personality and does not represent her true self at all. Introducing her in the ‘redesign’ form means having that redesigned picture of her everywhere instead of the REAL Merida.

    This is why people are apposing the redesign, it is like saying that women cannot be women unless they wear this or men cannot be men if they don’t look like such and such. They redesigned her to fit the ‘typical princess’ ignoring the fact that she IS a princess even if she did not wear what her society wants her to wear or did what she is told to do.

    Children and adults loved her for her movie version, her personality and looks. The redesign is not the same character everybody loved. It’s as simple as that.