Chapman Responds to Misguided Merida Makeover


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.

Merida from Brave gets a controversial makeover.

Merida from Brave gets a controversial makeover

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  • gene

    Vsem Srat’!

    • Alex Vvedensky

      A vot i net.

  • Adam Oliver

    Right on, Brenda!

    Disney execs really seem to be losing it, don’t they? Where is their passion to create? It seems to be just another bank disguised as a studio nowadays.

  • DarylT

    The only thing that annoys me is how she puts down the other princesses like there is something wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with teaching girls to be kind and considerate.

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  • TaDPoLe

    The redesign was just god awful. You expect better redesign coming from disney, but they didn’t get the character at all. Good move to change it back, maybe next time they can actually think about what they are drawing before that splatter it on the net.

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  • Francois Maree

    I agree, Disney should have thought about it before making changes to Merida. However, I suspect they are so used to making all their princesses look the same, and most of the times the princesses are successful in connecting with the target audience (young girls). I think that they were afraid to change that winning formula. So they put it out there and fury erupts worldwide (thank you internet). What happens? Instead of ignoring the masses, Disney goes and make the change back to the old Merida. I think they learned a lesson there and with the next princess they will think twice. I see the change back to the old Merida as Disney’s apology. :)

  • Mari

    Wow, people really know how to overreact. She hardly looks that different. Besides stylistic differences in art. People really will flip shits over anything these days.

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