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OpryLeigh's avatar

Old Merida or new Merida (see inside for details)

Asked by OpryLeigh (25260points) May 10th, 2013

Sorry folks but I have been reading the Daily Mail website again (can’t help myself!) and I have just read this article about the redesign of Merida, the main character from Brave.

So, which Merida do you prefer and do you agree with the parents who are “furious” about her sexier new look?

Personally, I see their point and I do prefer the original Merida (although I much prefer the new sparklier dress!!!) but I wonder if their “fury” is a bit of a waste of energy! One of the comments under the article said something along the lines of, “if you want your daughter to grow into a strong, ambitious woman don’t leave it to disney to do the parenting. Make sure they are surrounded by strong female role models and get them involved in sports, girl scouts and encourage a sense of adventure etc etc” I have to agree with this. I like Disney and thought the princesses to be beautiful as a child (Jasmin was my favourite, now it’s Mulan!) but they were never “role models” and, I think, Disney does no harm, providing we teach our children the difference between a fairy tale and real life.

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23 Answers

jordym84's avatar

I honestly can’t see much of a difference and I don’t think Disney’s target audience will either (unless, of course, their parents make a big fuss out of it). And I wholeheartedly agree with the comment you quoted!

OpryLeigh's avatar

@jordym84 I don’t see enough of a difference to be worried about it, she just looks a bit more “polished”.

zenvelo's avatar

Typical Disney “Princess” objectification. My daughter loved Brave, and one reason is my daughter has the same curly hair. And one of my my daughter’s favorite movies of all time is Mulan. And a big reason is that both girls are strong women.

nebule's avatar

Yip! I see a difference and I prefer old Merida. We can never underestimate subliminal messages. And for the record if my hair was down (in my pic), it would be as frizzy as the original Merida’s hair too…but not today because I am fabulous today so what does that statement tell ya? . Bit peeved about the bow and arrow thing too, I have to say.

ucme's avatar

She looks like Mick Hucknall in a frock, Simply Dread…now that’s a brave makeover.

Buttonstc's avatar

Her waist looked just fine in the original. But in the new one, she would have to be severely corseted 24/7 and have a few ribs removed to get a waist that unnaturally thin.

She’s supposed to be portraying a human female not a wasp.

Is this what we want little girls to see as ideal? Good grief !

Disney is in serious need of some more high level female executives having input on decisions like this. Some realistic balance is very much needed.

tedibear's avatar

Old Merida, please! There was no need to change her. Yeah, yeah, I get that Disney is a for-profit venture. I still don’t like the change.

And then re-read @Buttonstc‘s answer for the rest of what I think!

Cupcake's avatar

Thanks – I didn’t know this. I signed the petition in the link you provided.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

UGH, yep, they’ve turned her into the typical Disney Princess- completely unrealistic. I liked the “old” Merida much better. Disney seems to want all their princesses to look like malnourished hookers in ball gowns.

Buttonstc's avatar

Ha ha. You got it. That was so on point. You sure know how to turn a phrase :)

That gave me my daily chuckle.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It’s understandable why some parents are angry over the change. What I don’t understand is what this change means. Surely Disney isn’t changing the way she looks in the movie, right? Is this more of a “Hey, we have the 11th Disney Princess being recognized” sort of marketing? Will the young fans see it? Don’t most of us attempt to put on the glam when we know there is a school or press photo about to happen?

Having not seen the movie, I looked up the description. Yup, Merida is a princess in the movie. So then I started to wonder about real life princesses. Sure enough, there is a web site that has a list of them. Those women are not only focused on doing good deeds, but looking well groomed. The point being, in case you are wondering, is that it isn’t only fairy tale.

While I agree that setting role models shouldn’t be left up to Disney, it goes beyond getting a child involved in extra-curricular activities, such as sports, Girl Scouts, etc. It comes from the parent setting an example of being beautiful from within. This comes from their words and actions.

P.S. I have to laugh that the article would take a quote from Petra Guglielmetti who spoke out against the change. Here is part of her profile “Despite growing up mostly in Maine (where the top-selling beauty product is probably Carmex medicated lip balm) and getting her journalistic start as a Boston Globe intern who covered plane crashes and hurricanes, Petra Guglielmetti somehow ended up writing and knowing a lot about beauty. As one of the first writers for Glamour’s now-super-popular—and Webby-winning—Girls in the Beauty Department blog, she loves to dispense skin care advice, solicited or otherwise. And do not get her started on the importance of lash curlers, antioxidants, and investment hair-dryers.” Source

jordym84's avatar

@Leanne1986 Yea, it’s definitely not something I would consider worthy of my “fury.” I work for Disney and two of my friends work in the creative media department, one of them directly in the marketing/design department (i.e. the people who come up with the new product lines) and I know that these updated looks are just part of their new marketing strategy and not something that was done on a whim. It all just goes along with the new Disney Princess look and being that Merida will be getting crowned and joining the existing Disney Princesses this weekend, it’s only expected that she would also get a makeover to go along with the new, sparklier looks. I personally don’t care for some of the new looks, but it’s not something over which I’m going to lose sleep. Besides, they’re not changing the characters’ personalities or their stories or their “role model” qualities.

The way I see it, if this is all these parents have to worry about, if battling Disney over Merida’s new look is their biggest fight, then they should consider themselves lucky…there are people out there with much bigger problems.

Cupcake's avatar

@jordym84 I would consider losing the bow and arrow “changing the characters’ personalities or their stories or their “role model” qualities”. I’m more upset about that than a sparkly dress (although the unattainable waist, big boobs and perfect hair are not ideal).

I don’t think signing a petition (for about 30 seconds) indicates that I don’t have any other “problems”.

jordym84's avatar

@Cupcake I honestly don’t get it…she’s a cartoon character for crying out loud!

I sincerely hope this doesn’t come off as an attack on you because it really isn’t, I’m just really confused as to why people would put so much importance on something so trivial. Maybe I’m missing something here, but hopefully someone can enlighten me.

Cupcake's avatar

@jordym84 Do you have kids?

jordym84's avatar

Nope. I can see where this is headed, so I’ll go ahead and say this: I have younger siblings that I pretty much helped raise and a young niece over whom I’m very protective, and I can assure you that, even if I had kids of my own, I would rather use this change in Merida’s appearance as a teachable moment instead of getting mad at a company whose main bread and butter is to find ways to make their products more attractive and marketable to young kids. But maybe that’s just me.

Cupcake's avatar

@jordym84 I was just curious. I don’t think your perspective is irrelevant because you don’t have your own progeny.

Cupcake's avatar

@jordym84 Well, we have different perspectives. I won’t try to convince you, because I think it would be a waste of my time.

I personally think Disney does more harm than good in terms of healthy self-image. Disney is so vast and pervasive that I believe they have a responsibility to be a role model. That doesn’t abdicate parent’s responsibility to teach children about beauty, self-image, being authentic, being different, etc. But the effect of Disney’s decisions and marketing is far more vast and pervasive than most parents can overcome.

jordym84's avatar

Although I work for the company, I don’t totally disagree with what you’ve said above in terms of it having a certain amount of responsibility as a role model. But then again, it’s a for-profit company. I can assure you, though, there is way more to it than what’s shown on TV. I see on a daily basis the amount of good the company does for the local community (Disney Cast Members put in thousands of volunteer work hours every year and the company donates tons of money to different charitable organizations and educational institutions) and it’s kind of sad that so many people have such a negative image of the company. But hey, we can’t all like the same things…

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I love your answer. I can understand why people are pissed about the smaller waistline to a certain extent but the hair style? Most women get dolled up every so often and this may include straightening, curling or taming their hair in some way. Why has this been made into such a big deal? I agree about the bow and arrow though. That should stay!

@jordym84 Thank you for your professional insight into the world of Disney. Very interesting.

ucme's avatar


Buttonstc's avatar


You wrote: Don’t most of us attempt to put on the glam when we know there is a school or press photo about to happen?

Combined with the fact that real life princesses do their best to look well groomed, this makes perfect sense.

However, real life people can’t manage to reduce their waistline to resemble an insect overnight.

This takes dedicated devotion to the daily practice of anorexia or bulimia. (One of the problems which real life Princess Diana admitted to struggling with)

Like you, I don’t get all the fuss about the hair. Lots of people tame their unruly locks. No biggie.

But between Disney and Barbie, (and the hell that the press put some real life Princesses like Sarah Ferguson through with insults about looks) its a real challenge for parents to convince their young girls about inner beauty being more important when so much of popular culture presents images of exactly the opposite. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and that one speaks loudly and clearly not in a good way.

Her original waist looked just fine for her character. She certainly wasn’t chubby or unfit in any way whatsoever. The extreme SEVERITY of that particular change was way over the top and completely unnecessary. Disney really didn’t have to go that far with it and I have no idea why they would.

Yes, there are bigger problems in this world than the looks of a cartoon character but its the combined effect with other of this with the other parts of our culture that I find troubling.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thanks @Buttonstc. I understand what you and others are saying about the change in her figure. I never would have noticed it if the fact hadn’t been pointed out in the article and in the OP. Even upon close scrutiny of the two images, she still seems not well endowed; her waistline is smaller, but that took careful study of both photos to pick up on that. I doubt that a child would either.

As someone who grew up with the original Barbie Doll, I never gave a second thought to her body proportions. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned about the controversy over the Barbie figure.

So, back to my original questions…Will a child ever see the “new” Merida” in this marketing promo? Even if they do, will they even notice the difference, other than the hair and dress and missing bow and quill?

Here is a new question. If a child requests to dress up like Merida for Halloween, would she expect to look like the one from the movie or the marketing image?

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