I’ve mentioned before that I like Disney. Besides their wonderful parks and the uplifting mantra that dreams really do come true, I enjoy the entertainment they provide for children in a world that has fewer G rated movies. I’ve also mentioned that I like the movie Brave despite the buffoonish male archetypes. Now, Brave’s Princess Merida is to become an official Disney Princess, an honor I’m sure. However, the approach has left me baffled.

It’s being called a “Barbie-style makeover” giving Merida a tinier waist, controlling her curly locks, exposing her shoulders and taking away her trademark bow and arrow. In its place they’ve added makeup and sparkles to her dress. Why?

merida full length
Courtesy Disney Pixar’s Brave



I’m not the only one who feels miffed at the transformation. A petition at change.org was started saying “No to the Merida Makeover”. Our modern fairy tale has opted to become a cookie-cutter princess which completely negates the character’s essence. She spunky and fights not only conventions, but also her dress and any attempt to control her hair. Yet Disney has decided that before she can wear the princess tiara she should take it easy on the dessert tray. Which image do you prefer?

new merida
Courtesy Disney Pixar’s Brave


Purpose or pretty?

Determined or dolled-up?

Natural or nymphet?

In honor of Mother’s Day I was originally going to write a post about the role of motherhood in fairy tales, but instead I wanted to take the time to remind us that today’s princess could be tomorrow’s President and lipstick should not be a requirement. (And on behalf of curly girls everywhere, stop trying to tame my hair!)

3 thoughts on “Princess Makeovers?

  1. Oh, this makes me so angry. In the first picture that you’ve put up, the made-over Merida has that truly awful head tilt (I once heard someone say that head-tilts make one look more feminine, so many women tilt their heads in that silly way while being photographed), plus a come-hither look that no child should be learning at that age. Sheesh…what happened to personhood?

    1. Your comments make me think of another female Disney protagonist, Mulan. She hasn’t achieved princess status and therefore never received a makeover. (No head-tilt there!) It makes me think that Disney is saying that princesses should just be decorative. Meanwhile queens with power are always evil. Scared of feminine power, much? I’m not one to look for the evil patriarchy lurking around every corner, but if I were a pantomime villain I would definitely stroke my beard (Very interesting…)!

      1. That’s probably why the ‘happily ever after’ is never shown – because the sweet, helpless girl suddenly gaining power might turn into a scheming bitch by the established standards.

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