It may have been exciting for fans to hear that Disney plans to add the plucky Scottish princess Merida from Pixar's Academy Award-winning film "Brave" to their official roster, but photos of the "new" Merida didn't quite look like the old ones. Known for her unruly red hair, crooked smile and her plucky spirits, the character was an inspiring symbol of independence, often praised as a wonderful heroine for little girls to look up to. But critics argue the new Merida looks like she's been made over to fit the "Disney mold" -- and some people have made it clear they don't like that change.
A petition has popped up on Change.org that already has over 78,000 supporters to convince Disney to scratch the sexy version and keep the original design, frizzy curls and all. Even the creator of "Brave" has signed it, saying, "It's horrible! 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."
The page states, "The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls' capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired. Moreover, by making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value -- to be recognized as true princesses -- they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty."
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Disney released an official statement on the controversy regarding Merida's new look, saying, "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."
"Brave" has often been hailed as a feminist sonnet, as it marks the first animated princess in film history who does not fall in love or ride off into the sunset with a strapping young man who just so happened to save the day. Instead, Merida saves herself, sending a powerful message to young ladies growing up in a new era of Disney history.
What do you think of Merida's new look? Is Disney stepping out of bounds? Tell us what you think by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.