Brave director slams redesign of Princess Merida

Ben Arnold

The director of 'Brave' has slated Disney for its redesign of Princess Merida from the film.

A new version of the character, with a slimmer waist and what has been described as a 'Victoria's Secret' hairstyle, emerged last week after Merida was crowned as the 11th 'Disney Princess'.

But the film's director Brenda Chapman has now joined the growing anger among parents at the decision to give her a makeover, which also includes the removal of the character's bow and arrow.

“I think it's atrocious what they have done to Merida,” Chapman said in a letter to her local newspaper, the Marin Independent Journal.

“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 mould - 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 Scottish princess, voiced by Kelly Macdonald in the film, is now among the 'Disney Princess' franchise, the merchandising banner which includes various princesses from the Disney films, including the likes of Snow White, Cinderalla, Aurora and more recently Mulan and Rapunzel, as featured in 'Tangled'.

A petition launched last week on addressed to Disney boss Robert A. Iger and a host of other Disney executives, called for them to 'keep Merida brave'.

So far it has been endorsed by over 107,000 supporters.

“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,” writes the petition's creator A Might Girl.

“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 recognised as true princesses - they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.”

Disney has responded to the criticism, 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 mums and daughters around the world.”

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