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From Go-Getter to Glamour Girl: Merida Makeover Sparks Controversy

Brave heroine Merida’s transformation from spunky tomboy to sleek, sexy vixen has sparked outrage among fans, who are demanding that Disney change her back.

The original Merida had round, flushed cheeks, slightly frizzy hair and a spot-on aim with her bow and arrow. Before being crowed as Disney’s 11th official princess, the revamped Merida stepped out of her plain, comfy dress and into a sparkly blue and gold gown. She was also given polished waves, chiseled features, and a pinched, itty-bitty waist.

Brenda Chapman, Brave’s writer and co-director, had said in an earlier interview with Pixar Portal that her aim was to offer “a stronger princess that both mothers and daughters could relate to, so mothers wouldn't be pulling their hair out when their little girls were trying to dress or act like this princess.”

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She told her local newspaper the Marin Independent Journal that she finds the transformation of her heroine “atrocious.”

“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,” she says. “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."

She’s not the only one who thinks so.  The girl empowerment website A Mighty Girl  launched a petition imploring Walt Disney’s chairman and chief executive Robert A. Iger to keep Merida as a “strong, confident, self-rescuing princess ready to set off on her next adventure with her bow at the ready.” The petition has reached over 100,000 signers.

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In their official statement to Yahoo! Shine, Disney didn’t speak to the reasons behind the makeover: “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.” 

Do you think that Disney should bring back the original Merida, or do you prefer the made-over version? Leave a comment and let us know.