You might have seen the buzz this week over the Disney website giving the star of Pixar’s Brave a “sexy” makeover. Her frizzy hair looks like it’s been through a shampoo commercial, her waist is slimmer, her shoulders uncovered, and her bow and quiver belt was replaced with a fancy sash. Even her facial expression went from a youthful, excited smirk to a sultry stare.
It seems the outcry was loud enough to make them reconsider, because they have replaced the new images of Merida with the original Pixar version, giving her back her bow and arrow and returning her to the fierce, prince-be-damned princess we know and love.
When Disney makes a 3D Pixar character into a 2D cartoon, there are always going to be some changes. However, peeping shoulders and fancy sashes where they shouldn’t be are inexcusable. For example, Rapunzel is depicted as a small-waisted princess in a pretty dress throughout the movie Tangled, but as dreamy-eyed as she was, she could still hold her own and didn’t need a prince to save her.
Yet, when she’s depicted as a 2D cartoon, she loses some of her spunk…
It’s really a disservice to children to make these changes. Merida strayed from the traditional ideas of a princess and a great role model for children. She was independent, she was strong, and she wasn’t interested in getting married. In fact, when the realm decided for her that there was going to be a competition for her hand in marriage, she entered it herself to prove that she didn’t need a prince to be happy.
I think this is especially important for LGBT little girls, even if they don’t know they’re LGBT yet. ESPECIALLY if they don’t know they’re LGBT yet. Growing up, I loved Disney movies. Magic and singing and cute animals and adventures. I ate it all up. But I definitely had my favorites. Snow White did nothing for me. Sure, that movie had some great songs, but who just sits around waiting and dreaming for a prince? Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite, because she had zero interest in Gaston, the town hunk, and she wasn’t looking for love, she just found it. Plus she liked books as much as I did. But none of other princesses were LIKE me. They were all so poised and…pink.
Merida is important to today’s youth because it represents a type of girl that is very common in the world we live in, but not often depicted in fairytales: the tomboy. The girl resistant to dresses because she would rather wear something that she can easily run around in, the girl who likes to get dirty, and go on adventures for the sake of going on an adventure, not to find someone to marry. Someone who doesn’t need to be saved.
Merida proves that you don’t have to be frilly and girly to be a princess, and you don’t need to be on the hunt for a man to be awesome. It’s okay to be different, and to just be you. Hopefully, Disney actually understands and agrees with the points that were being made by the voices in the outcry, and didn’t just replace the image to shut us all up. And hopefully they will make more movies like Brave, where the leading lady’s “happy ever after” isn’t dependent on marrying a man.
I, for one, would rather see the Disney princesses made UNDER. (Shush, you know what I mean.) I’m not sure the show Once Upon A Time is appropriate for children, but I do think that the idea that Snow White could be a bow-slinging, woods-smart, spunky thing instead of a swooning, fainting, super-soprano would be a great image to give kids.
I would love to see the classic Disney princesses in play-clothes. Why can’t the Disney website show them playing sports or, I dunno, wearing PANTS. Why are they constantly in ball gowns? Maybe some of them theoretically wouldn’t have been allowed to wear pants in the time they were supposedly living in, but it’s not like Disney is known for their historical accuracy. (When I learned the real story of Pocahontas in school, I felt like my whole life was a lie.)
But, one step at a time. For now, I’m glad they decided to give Merida her original look back. I think it’s a step in the right direction, and hopefully we keep moving that way.
Besides, does this look like the face of someone who wants to put down her bow in exchange for a fancy sash?
Didn’t think so.