|Merida as a "princess" on the left and then as she was originally depicted in Brave|
It’s the before-and-after makeover heard around the world.
When Princess Merida of “Brave” was crowned the 11th princess at Walt Disney World this weekend, she had a new look that included not only a tiny waist, sultry eyes, and cleavage but also the teal gown that the feisty tomboy so detested in the Oscar-winning movie. It was as if Merida stepped onto the cover of “Vogue” magazine and her rebellious spirit was photo-shopped right out of the red-headed heroine.
Nearly 212,000 of her fans weren’t having it. Through a Change.org petition, “Keep Merida Brave,” girl empowerment blog “A Mighty Girl,” demanded that Disney reconsider the redesign. By Wednesday, word had spread on the Internet that Disney had removed the sexified image from its official princess website, and the movement declared itself victorious.
The Internet is the great leveler in animation, art, commerce and film. If you take something that people love and screw it up, you are going to hear about it (Google+ had a redesign yesterday that made people retch and scream). Disney may have marketing people who indicate that the Merida pictured on the left was softer and more preferable, but think about the implications here. She does not have her bow and arrow on the left, but she does have a new dress. This means that she can be accessorized when purchased, forcing the consumer to add the pieces separately and for extra cash.
Marketing people love to change up a costume or a uniform. Witness the "throwback" frenzy in professional sports. The other night, I watched the Chicago White Sox play in their crappy old uniforms from the 1980s--and the only reason why they had those uniforms was because someone in marketing believed that there were fans who would stop by the retail outlet nearest to the stadium and actually buy that horrible thing.
Merida has been altered for marketing purposes. The fans have stymied their plans by demanding that the costume stay the same and that their old Merida dolls should look like the new Merida dolls.They want their bow and arrow, no matter what. And Disney better listen.