Signal Boost: petition Disney to keep Brave’s Merida marketing true to movie

‘Brave’ creator blasts Disney for ‘blatant sexism’ in princess makeover:

Two illustrations of the same character side by side for comparison - one shows a teenage girl with wild red hair in a simple dark green dress casually holding a bow and wearing a quiver of arrows on her belt. The other shows an older glamorous version of supposedly the same girl, with styled flowing curls and a fancy aqua dress with a lower neckline and sparkles,  the belt now supports a long and delicate sash, she is striking a "look at me" pose.

The movie’s version of Merida from the movie Brave contrasted with the Disney Marketing Dept’s version of Merida

Chapman, the first woman to win an Academy Award for an animated feature, said she has added her name to a petition with more than 50,000 signatures that has gone viral on the female empowerment website “A Mighty Girl,” joining other mothers outraged by Disney’s sexualization of her headstrong young Scottish heroine, an expert archer with a head of wild, curly red hair and a mind of her own.
Signers variously described the new Merida as “vapid,” “arm candy,” “unrealistic” and “vacant looking.”

In an official statement to Yahoo! Shine, a Disney spokesperson said, “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.”

Chapman begs to differ.

Read the rest. You can find the A Mighty Girl petition at

Categories: arts & entertainment, gender & feminism, media, parenting

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8 replies

  1. I haven’t seen any Merida dolls, not that I’ve been looking, but I wonder if they have ‘prettified’ or ‘masculinised’ and of the male characters from the movie. From memory the boys looked dorky and awkward, as boys of that early adolescence stage do.

  2. Chapman fumed. “When little girls say they like it because it’s more sparkly, that’s all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy ‘come hither’ look and the skinny aspect of the new version. 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.” … Her character’s image as a different kind of princess turned out to be hugely successful, grossing more than $550 million, winning an Oscar, a Golden Globe and the Bafta Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

    There is a market for Merida exactly as she is. I just hope that Disney listen, but if they won’t then someone else does.

  3. Yes sorry, I should have said ‘There is a market for Merida, or characters like her original one, exactly as she is.’ I hope that other companies make their own strong, young girl characters without the ‘princessing’ because Merida has proved that it works.

    • @Mindy – Sadly, without a popular and profitable movie or TV show, there’s unlikely to be the momentum necessary for such a character to make a mark on the highly competitive toy market, and to make a hugely popular entertainment creators have to get tied up in contracts with one media conglomerate or another, and the all the media conglomerates have marketeers who are indistinguishable from (and deserving the same fate as) the Marketing Dept of the Sirius Robotics Corporation, so I am pessimistic about the likelihood of any creative team managing to overcome all that corporate inertia.
      A quick google on “handmade doll merida brave” however at least shows that the good crafters of the internet are offering many a non-sexualised option.

  4. It looks like they have given a waist that is about the same width as her arms. That’s just…. there’s no words for it.

  5. Those two pictures are not representations of the same (fictional) person. No way, sorry. Not so much physically (I personally shrank 5cm around the waist between 15 and about 20) as demeanour and personality. And the second girl isn’t even Merida’s mother’s fantasy of the ideal daughter, I don’t think.
    I’m glad it’s being rethought, because I can’t imagine little girls who like the Disney “Merida” being able to deal with the movie Merida at all.

  6. Good article:

    Girls on Film: The real problem with the Disney Princess brand
    The company’s wildly profitable Disney Princess line sends a dangerous and regressive message to young girls. It’s not too late to fix it.

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