So in case you don’t obsessively follow Disney like I do, here’s the story so far: Merida, the Oscar-winning princess from last year’s film Brave, was popular enough to be inducted into Disney’s line of princesses. Apparently being a princess in a Disney movie isn’t enough to cut it, but whatever we’ll go with it (Though a note is that Mulan is considered a Disney princess, while Pocahontas is NOT, explain that one…). Anyway, as part of her induction Disney gave the sassy tomboy with the bow a little makeover.
Fans were not happy.
Now say what you want about the film (The second act was a mess, the villain was sub-par, the magic was confusing and kind of stupid, the backgrounds looked like stuff they recycled from Tangled…) Merida was cool. She’s a no-nonsense princess who can shoot a bow like Hawkeye and her main motivation isn’t marriage. She’s a lot like Disney’s recent princesses who are in pursuit of their own goal, only unlike Repunzel and Tiana she didn’t end up with a man. I loved it! Then Disney decided to make her look older… and skinnier… and show more of her… femininity… The masses were outraged. It seemed like for every positive step Disney have taken towards showing a more diverse and colorful world they were about to take a step back and try to recreate Barbie.
Fans across the internet spoke out against this move, as moms in droves staged online protests and petitions to the House of Mouse.
And guess what?
The image of the “improved” Merida has been removed from their website. Everyone’s favorite ginger archer is going to stay as she always is. Sassy and classy.
To me this is extremely encouraging, not just at Disney but at society as a whole. I like the idea that children’s media is going beyond making emotionless drones to sell to boys and girls. This is one of the reasons I love Monster High, because unlike Barbie’s Malibu/LA plastic world each girl has their own look and personality rather than just being colored differently. Merida’s victory is a victory for all parents and children everywhere, that we won’t stand for shoddy carbon-copies any longer!
Go Merida! Keep shooting for your own hand!