The Effects of Inequality

Yup, I’m late again! But I have good reasons. The movie in question isn’t for my demographic and my child is already grown.

Disney Effs Up Yet ANOTHER Princess.

“Bow-slinging 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.


A petition launched on the 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 and gained the support of Merida’s creator Brenda Chapman.”

You should prolly go on ahead and sign that petition. I’ll wait. *listens to  amTWiB, touches up the silver glitter fingernail sich*


Ok GOOD. Thank Yew :)

What is doubly horrific about all of this, is this isn’t just the usual dolling up of a Disney princess in preparation for marketing. The whole movie Brave is all about this little girl who’s character goes against the princess grain, from her looks to her behavior. And there is even a scene where she is forced – as in against her will – into the very dress the Disney marketers put her in for her debut. *facepalm*

What message are we sending all those millions of girls who fell in love with and could totally relate to a princess like Merida? Not So Brave Disney indeed.

“Merida is a tomboy – the ‘Touch The Sky’ scene follows her running away from the kingdom into the Highlands, riding horses, shooting targets, scaling mountains. Brave asserts that muddy shoes and scraped knees aren’t the exclusive province of young boys. Merida can do anything her suitors can, and in many cases, she can do them better.

Given this trajectory, it makes the decision by Disney’s marketing department to redesign Merida all the more cowardly – it’s entirely at odds with the studio’s ongoing project to craft a more positive message for future generations while not erasing the past. (Notice how they haven’t placed Pocahontas into an evening gown – divesting her of her native dress would be too controversial.)”

Interesting that last little bit. The changes made to Merida should also have been too controversial. Disney understood the line that could not be and should not be crossed when it came to Pocahontas. Why not the same understanding with Merida?

I’ll put forward the theory bare facts that we have a long way to go in this country when it comes to gender equality. I’m going to bet that the marketing department or committee that decided on and gave the go ahead to these changes was primarily male. And I suppose none of them actually sat down and watched the movie, but that’s another post for another day.

If there were more women involved with the princess marketing process, I think that somewhere along the line the proposed Merida makeover would have been halted in its tracks. And not just “women involved”. Women in positions of power, where their voices would be heard and taken into consideration. Because I would also bet there were women who spoke up and were ignored.


Now let’s talk some turkey shall we? These changes came from the marketing department, who’s end goal is to package the princesses up so they can make scads of dinero for Disney.

Merida is all about her bows and arrows. Guess what huge pop culture influencing series of movies (books!) is all about a young girl kicking butt with her bows and arrows? Yeah The Hunger Games. Playing down Merida’s awesomeness with/and her weapons of choice is that ties in with something that huge is umm estoopid.

And lets tune into the actual demographic that Disney is supposedly marketing its princesses to. A 7-year-old’s verdict on the Merida Makeover.

“Yuck!” squeaked Laurel when her baby blue eyes saw the side-by-side before and after versions of Merida on my computer this morning.

“Yuck?” I responded. “Which one’s the one you like?”

A chunky little finger went to the old Merida. So I asked her why, and she responded with what, for Laurel, is a super cohesive answer:

“The one in dark blue is smiling and her hair’s prettier ’cause it’s more like mine and ’cause the new one’s scary-pretty with all that blowy hair and cat-eyes. The new one looks mean and I don’t know her.”

Then she made my day and my blog by pointing back to the make-over Merida and asking, “Is that the Evil Merida?””


There you go. I’m going to go out on a limb make a sure bet that little Laurel’s response is echoed by the millions of young Merida fans everywhere. Guess those same millions of little girls haint gonna want their mommies to buy them anything with “Evil Merida” represented instead of the Merida from the movie.

So Disney. If your sense of injustice and wrongdoing and responsibility for your part in furthering gender stereotypes doesn’t kick in – take a look at your future fiscal returns on your Merida marketing package. It doesn’t look good.

Change her back.



About Awake BW

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