Controversy is brewing over the new Disney princess. Merida, the heroine of Disney-Pixar’s Brave, has joined the ranks of Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora, Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine, Snow White and Cinderella. These princesses are all an integral part of the media franchise that sells toys, dresses and videos to little girls who dream of happily ever after. But it seems that happily ever after is not in the cards for the Brave Merida.
“I think it is atrocious what they have done to Merida,” says Brave director Brenda Chapman in an interview with the Marin Independent Journal. Merida, in the film, embodied a rebellious spirit who sought to break free from the dainty and damsel-in-distress persona that typifies many of Disney’s previous princesses. The unkept hair sand scruffy manner that viewers have seen in the film is replaced by long flowing red locks and a sparkling dress that is much more form- fitting.
“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,” says Chapman.
Sadly, this is not the first time that the Disney Princess franchise has altered the look of one of its heroines. When Mulan was introduced to the cannon, the suit of army and boyish appearance was swapped for a traditional Chinese garb in pink.
In a statement to Yahoo! Shine, Disney responded to the outcry: “Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate, and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world.”