There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Brave‘s Merida recently over the redesign Disney did for her character. In the movie, Merida looked like a young girl with wild red hair, normal body proportions, and a simple dress suited more to riding through the woods and shooting arrows. In Merida’s redesign for the Disney Princess line, she looks like an adult with wavy, perfectly tamed red hair, a stick-skinny body, and a fancy sparkly princess dress. Many people protested the change, claiming, understandably, that the redesign completely undid any of the positive feminist messages from the Brave movie. Peggy Orenstein, the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, had this to say about the redesign:
Because, in the end, it wasn’t about being brave after all. It was about being pretty. (source)
Recent protest of the redesign forced Disney’s hand and the “new” Merida was removed from Disney’s website, but the battle isn’t won—not by a long shot. In fact, I’d say we already lost the war a long time ago.