Brenda Chapman, the Oscar-winning writer and director of Brave has responded to Disney’s recent makeover of the film’s lead character Princess Merida. In conjunction with adding Merida to the Disney Princess line, Disney gave Merida a “more adult” look, dropping her bow-and-arrow and putting her in the type of glitzy gown she hated to wear in the original picture.
Chapman wrote to the Marin-based Independent Journal this past weekend and criticized Disney for its blatant disregard for the original film’s message and called the movie “a blatantly sexist marketing move based on money.” She said she has given Bob Iger, president of Walt Disney International, “a piece of my mind” for the entertainment giant’s decision to glamorize the tomboy character she envisioned.
“There is an irresponsibility to this decision that is appalling for women and young girls,” she said. “Disney marketing and the powers that be that allow them to do such things should be ashamed of themselves. I think it’s atrocious what they have done to Merida. 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.”
Chapman has also added her name to a petition with more than 50,000 signatures that has gone viral on the female empowerment website A Mighty Girl.
“They have been handed an opportunity on a silver platter to give their consumers something of more substance and quality — THAT WILL STILL SELL — and they have a total disregard for it in the name of their narrow minded view of what will make money,” Chapman wrote. “I forget that Disney’s goal is to make money without concern for integrity. Silly me.”
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.”
LATEST UPDATE: On Monday, May 13, Disney responded to the controversy by removing Merida’s new look from the official Princess website and swapping in the original.