She’s A Disney Princess — What Did You Expect?

May 17, 2013

Merida copy 2

Disney’s recent unveiling of its newest official princess, Merida, has caused quite a stir.

The 11th Disney princess and star of “Brave” has been stripped of her bow and arrow. She’s also been given more voluminous locks and a sparkly, lower cut dress.

Critics are crying foul, saying the Merida’s transition into princess-hood took away the very things that made her a strong, independent woman. Many parents are raging about the implications of this makeover … Disney is just trying to make a profit … the new Merida will harm the self-image of their daughters … the list goes on.

I can understand the complaints. However, it’s not as though Disney princesses have dressed demurely in years past. Ariel predominantly wore a seashell bra — granted, she is a mermaid. Belle’s cleavage is on full display and Jasmine rocks a body-baring midriff. And I’m not even going into the supposed sexual messages hidden throughout some of the films.

That said, why is it that people are so up in arms about Disney sexualizing their newest princess? Why are they expecting anything more out of the company? Perhaps the outrage stems from the fact that Merida was changed to look like more of a “Disney princess,” who is less like the character that fans fell in love with. It should be noted that “Brave” creator, Brenda Chapman, is among those outraged by the change.

In just twelve days, a petition on change.org collected more than 200,000 virtual signatures, all urging Disney to go back to the Merida from the film. When the news first went viral, Disney issued a statement saying “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.”

Disney seems to be changing its tune. Apparently, the new sexier version of Merida was only for the character’s induction into the Disney Princess Collection and Disney always planned to phase it out within a few months. Seems rather odd that a company would change branding on a product for only a few short months. More likely is that the company is reacting to its petitioners.

Rumor has it that Disney quietly took down all images of the made-over Merida after sparking consumer outrage. The original film version is still seen on Disney’s website and only time will tell how, and if, the made-over Merida will be incorporated into the company’s marketing efforts.

Merida isn’t the only princess that was recently updated. Check out the makeovers of a few other Disney princesses: