Disney, a company I'm always leery of, just decided to "re-fashion" Merida. They made her thinner, sexier and more conventional in appearance. In the process, they strip Merida of the qualities that made her special and healthy. (Of course Disney isn't re-doing the movie but, as with all Disney characters, they continually use Merida in numerous spin-off creations.)
Both the film's creator and child-development experts say this change is bad for girls. (See here and here.) I know nothing about raising kids but I agree that giving girls only one acceptable image (thin, "sexy", traditional) is not good for them. What do you think?
Why would a character meant for very young girls need to be sexy? What a travesty!ReplyDelete
The audience for this character is age 5-8.Delete
The redux is disappointing, but entirely surprising. It puts me in mind of the Dora the Explorer rebranding as well. Have you seen that? They made her a "preteen" who looks like she's 17 years old, with friends to match. Disgusting.ReplyDelete
I dislike this, I don't know what is up with all this "need to be skinny" stuff all of a sudden between the Abercrombie thing and now this? Makes me fear ever having a daughter someday, this is all so sickening.ReplyDelete
Having two girls Kayla (a teen) and one that is almost 8, we are exposed to these "personas" of skinny, etc. in our house through the TV and commercials. It drives me insane that a lot of things in general are glamourized for girls that you have to be skinny or dress a certain way to be accepted. It's scary raising girls in this day and age! HeatherReplyDelete
Boo! That stinks that they refashioned her. I really liked that she was relatable to young girls. Blarg.ReplyDelete
I don't regret consuming a massive amount of television as a child (I still played outstide and all that), because contrary to the popularly held belief that it stunts development, it encouraged my imagination, nutured my vocabulary and intelligence, and engenered in me a great curiosity in the world and thirst for knowledge. That being said, it did royally eff up my body image and self-esteem. However, those who play such marketing ploys failed miserably, for I was so messed up as to give up entirely, knowing without a doubt nothing could ever make me attractive or 'pretty', and thus not buying their stupid products anyway. It was only in the past five years or so when fashion and 'beauty' were introduced to me as an art form and expression of individuality and self worth that I became interested in having anything to do with 'looks' at all. It would be nice if TPTB discovered that positive reinforcement and messages about being true to yourself would in the long run help sell their product better (not to mention be the morally responisble approach to treating their fellow human beings).ReplyDelete
I love her as well. she is something!ReplyDelete
I havent seen the movie yet but am absolutely smitten with her. I do not understand why there is one 'normal'that being thin. It has been a problem for us 'bigger'girls for a long time. Ah well ... the challenges that we are faced with in life!!!ReplyDelete
I think it's a shame. Merida is my favorite disney princess because she's the closest to my own personal background. I loved that her story wasn't a romance story, and it included bears (a totem for my own mom).ReplyDelete
Disney is always going to go with what makes them the money. They are a corporation like any other company. They are looking out for their bottom dollar, not little girls self-image. It's disgusting, but the only way to hold them accountable is to continue reaching out to the company and let it be known.
I actually don't think there are a lot changes to Merida in the "new" picture though. She was already thin. The new 'style' just makes her more "sparkly" and look like she has make-up on. The original issue I take is within the character design itself. The corset is neither period appropriate or even proper corsetry appropriate. Neither of which make for good accuracy.
I am so sad that they changed her like this. I noticed on a recent trip to Target that a lot of Merida's merchandise featured her in much more glittery, feminine clothes that she wore in the movie that were completely against her character and she seemed to not at all like wearing in her movie.ReplyDelete
Disney also released a revamping of some other princesses in which they made Pocahontas, Mulan, and Jasmine look much more traditionally white. http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg41/soras_girl101/revamped.png
(and in that picture, allllll the princesses of colour are squished wayyyyyy in the back)
I just read about this this morning and it left me shaking my head. I mean, c'mon. Is there no where we can turn on this planet that isn't sexualized? Young women have enough to contend with, without worrying about being "sexy". Why does a 7 or 8 year old even need this in their vocabulary? It's just sad that with all the feminist influence, at the end of the day, women are still encouraged to and lauded for their sex appeal above all else. Thanks for writing about this! SereneReplyDelete
I've been disappointed by this. I think it's very silly to change the appearance of a character when the title of her film is a quality to be admired. The film wasn't called Hot and Thin! And where is her bow and arrow now? She was fine before she was a Disney princess and I don't see how this is an improvement.ReplyDelete
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I'm pretty sure they just glammed up her look so they can add her to the Disney Princess group pictures featuring Cinderella, Belle, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White in sparkling gowns and fancy hair. She would stick out like a sore thumb on the posters and lunch boxes in a plain gown and no makeup. I think they're just trying to help her make a smooth transition into the demanding role of Disney Princess.ReplyDelete
I think she's been tampered with a great deal. Her waist is noticeably smaller, boobs are larger, longer neck, thicker more controlled hair, more feminine dress, thinner more mature face and larger hips.ReplyDelete
I'm so tired of these hypersexualized and/or unrealistic body images that leave girls wanting something impossible or wanting to exploit themselves for acceptance. I've cried numerous times about how unfair this is and how women are so much more than a body type/their sexuality. It's even more sad for Disney to be a part of this because their audience is younger kids who should be worried about scraping their knees on a playground, not having bigger boobs and a smaller waist(well no one should be worried about that). These kids don't need to have their heads filled with such bull shit that is doing more harm to their esteem and value than good. Merida is around 15 I think? Merida wants to be respected and be dirty and can't be bothered by women's social roles of the time. That's what made her such a great disney role model. That's what made my inner child squeal, because it reminded me of my 15 year old self. That and her mother wasn't killed off like in every other Disney movie so you actually got a nice mother/daughter bonding movie. There's so much wrong with how they have chosen to "sexy" her up and I'm so disappointed. Sorry for the long wind lol this happens to be something I'm passionate about and have fought since I was in 5th grade and was told I couldn't play soccer with the boys because id get hurt. Ugh...just ugh.
Forgot to mention the lowered neckline, the makeup, and how her bow and arrows are gone entirely...you know archery. Pretty important part of her life and the movie. The one thing she loves doing, especially over sitting around waiting for romance as a sexed up doll. Ok now I'm done...I promise. =]Delete
Thank you Jess for expressing your thoughts. I agree with you completely.Delete
I love Brave, just for the reasons you described. The new Merida is so boring looking. There is nothing interesting or Brave about her. Leave our Merida as is! She is beautiful!ReplyDelete
I'm with you a 100%! I think that girls (and young boys) need to see a wide range of different body types represented in mainstream culture. We are not all one size and shape, nor is only one size/shape beautiful or worthy of attention by any stretch of the imagination.ReplyDelete
Interestingly enough, when I look back on my childhood, it is two women (one a close friend of my mother's, the other a mom of a fellow Girl Guide) who were curvier than the stereotypical norm that the media portrayed at the time, who still stand out as being so gorgeous to my young eyes and inspiring me (simply by looking the way that they did) to embrace the curves I developed as I started hitting puberty.
i don't like when they do this. they are only seeing $$. i don't know this particular movie/character, but girls need "Real" role models. i remember some similar controversy when Dora the Explorer grew up.ReplyDelete
keep it real!
I was watching Brave last night with the boys - I like this pricess' spunk and I don't like the updated version - far too 'sexy'. This makes me sad.
This really pissed me off. I am SO SICK of moving backwards instead of forwards on these issues!! Why can't Disney just LISTEN for once.ReplyDelete
Why, oh why, couldn't they leave her alone? Yes, I know they have a certain image they're working with the princesses, but Meridia was just so perfect as she was. And, yes, as Jess said, where are her bow and arrows?ReplyDelete
I'm glad they changed her back! I really liked how cute she was and she was something more realistic to look up to, the other stuff is so disappointing. As a kid I loved the princesses, and now I look back and think how atrocious it is that they create these characters the ways they do. And we wonder why we have body issues...ReplyDelete
Xo, Megan, www.TfDiaries.com
I loved the movie Brave for the reasons listed above, and so many more. I didn't know that they had decided to give her a "makeover". How frustrating. I'm so tired of the boarderline child pornographic images Disney gives it's female leads. It's not okay. It's maddening.ReplyDelete
I wonder why there isn't a louder outcry.
Not a fan of the trashy updated image. Not suitable for young children whatsoeverReplyDelete
Love it! ^^ReplyDelete
The sad part is intelligent girls and guys are usually portrayed as plain like that's a bad thing. I really tried to raise both my daughter and son to value integrity and character in others no matter how they looked.ReplyDelete
I love Disney's animation!ReplyDelete
I've already read about the re-interpretation of Merida's image by Disney and I must say I'm disgusted. Turning a powerful and independent woman, with arrows and a bow, to a prettier, skinnier woman is awful, it's like saying "the only weapon you can have as a woman is your body and your pretty image!". Sorry but this makes me wanna puke. (harsh words I know...but I get all raged up when things like these happen)ReplyDelete
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm disgusted (not surprised) that Disney has "sexed" her up... Ugh!ReplyDelete
Society has reverted women back into the 1950s like the feminist movement never happened in the '60s and '70s.ReplyDelete
Oh, yeah, and all the commercials with women waxing their floors in skirts and pumps. What's with that?