Did This Disney Princess Get A “Sexy” Makeover?
Disney Princesses have represented an ideal for generations of girls. But is Disney now overtly “sexualizing” its animated characters? That’s the accusation after the company unveiled a new appearance for Merida, the lead character from last year’s Oscar-winning Brave.
Images began circulating online this week of the original Pixar film version of Merida next to a “Disneyfied” 2D image. The Disney version had a slimmer waist, larger bust, more luxuriant hair, lower neckline, sparklier dress, more “make-up,” and did not carry the signature bow-and-arrow from the film. The new image was reportedly used as Merida was introduced to Disney’s official Princesses website.
But a petition on Change.org objecting to the “narrow definition of beauty” exemplified by the changes garnered over 200,000 online signatures. Even the film’s co-director, Brenda Chapman, called the redesign “a blatantly sexist marketing move.”
Disney pulled the revised version, but claimed that the new image was used only in an event invite and Target promotion, and wasn’t intend for wider usage.
Disney might not have run into this level of resistance with other characters, but Merida has been celebrated as a game-changing heroine. The whole movie revolves around her bucking traditional gender roles and taking matters into her own hands; she doesn’t even have a secondary love story. (Even Mulan had a crush on her commanding officer.)
What do you think? Was this a big mistake by Disney, or a big overreaction from critics?