Okay, I know you dudes might not be all that interested in this, but you should be. Especially if you have daughters.
I mean, come on. How hard is it for someone, someone in Hollywood to present us with a female hero who isn’t pining for some man, waiting for a man to rescue her or show her how it’s really done? Apparently very.
It wasn’t until Pixar’s Brave that Disney/Pixar finally found the gumption to showcase a strong, independent young girl that moms and dads could feel comfortable showing to their daughters and sons. Merida was a princess who appealed to girls and boys, thanks to her outgoing ways, love of the outdoors, horse riding, bear fighting and all that.
Well, she was originally.
See, here’s the deal. A few years ago, some smart guy at Disney realized they could start merchandising all their female protagonists together. It went over like gangbusters. It’s called the Disney Princess line. Each and every princess is showcased in frilly, glittery finery. Even Mulan, a young girl who spent most of her story in the army and fighting the bad guys with sword and fireworks, shows up in a gown.
So guess what the geniuses at Disney did when it was Merida’s turn to join the Disney Princess line? Yeah, they stripped her of her bow and arrow, tamed her frizzy hair, aged her a bit more, gave her a low-cut gown and then threw her into an explosion at the glitter and make-up factory.
You think I’m kidding. I know you dudes do.
But I’m not. Not even a little bit.
Here. Take a look.
Yeah. Like that. Take your time and look at that mess. Really look at it. If it weren’t for the red hair and the fact that they labeled her as Merida, I’d never believe it’s the same person.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who was horrified by the changes wrought in the name of selling to 8-year-old girls. And? Sexing up a character to sell to 8-year-old girls? Something deeply wrong with that.
Just ask Merida’s creator, Writer and co-director of “Brave,” Brenda Chapman. She wrote the following in an e-mail to her local newspaper.
“Merida was created to break that mold — to give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance … They have been handed an opportunity on a silver platter to give their consumers something of more substance and quality — THAT WILL STILL SELL — and they have a total disregard for it in the name of their narrow minded view of what will make money.”
Disney heard the outcry and told everyone to relax. Sexed-up, aged Merida was only drawn like that in her finery so she could look good at her induction ceremony as part of the Disney Princesses. She’d not look at all like that. Much. Supposedly.
Disney went so far as to remove the new drawings of sexed-up Merida from her Disney Princess website, but I have a feeling, just a feeling, mind, that we’ve not seen the last of this appalling revamp. Disney thought it would sell better once, so I don’t foresee them letting go of the idea any too easily.
Call me cynical, but I think it’s only a matter of time until she’s back.