Merida has been given a makeover in advance of her official induction into The Disney Princess Collection. She now appears slimmer, older and somewhat sexualised, in comparison to the teenage tomboy from last year’s Oscar-winning animation. The new Merida appears wearing a tight dress for which the princess herself expressed hatred in the film.
A petition launched on the Change.org website calling on the studio to return the character to her more realistic origins has reached more than 100,000 signatures in just over a week.
Addressed to Disney chairman Bob Iger, the petition reads: “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 recognised as true princesses – they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.”
Merida’s creator Brenda Chapman, who was replaced by Mark Andrews part way through the production of Brave but maintained a co-director’s credit, said Disney had completely missed the point when creating the new version of her creation.
Disney has released a statement which neither condemns nor praises the petition.
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