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  1. #1

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    Disney gives Brave's Merida a makeover, and mom's aren't happy about it

    I found this article on sfgate.com and was wondering what the Micechat community thinks of it.

    When Disney Pixar released Brave last year, the animated movie’s spunky heroine Merida was like a breathe of fresh air. With a messy mop of springy orange curls atop her head, Merida is sporty and fierce, determined and strong, and rides on her horse through the Scottish Highlands shooting arrows. She isn’t anything like the typical female protagonist in children’s films—a prissy, pink-wearing princess who’s waiting for her knight in shining armor to charge through the castle door.
    Merida and her fiesty ways quickly captured the hearts of children and their parents. It was clear that America was hungry for a female protagonist, an anti-princess, a role model for little girls, somebody who could kick Cinderella’s butt (although Merida would never do that because she’s not a bully).

    But now some moms are concerned that the girl with an adventurous spirit and independent mind might be losing some of her girl power. Is this really something to worry about?

    This week, Merida was officially welcomed into Disney’s Princess’ Royal Court…after undergoing a mini makeover.
    Here’s the before…

    And here’s the after…
    Notice her curls are more wavy than springy, her waist smaller, her cheekbones higher, her pose sassier, her mouth prettier. And she has lost her trusty bow and arrow. She has matured and looks more like a teenager on her way to a Taylor Swift concert than a determined young girl about to take aim at an archery range.

    Moms are in disagreement over Merida’s new look. Some are disenchanted and think the new Merida is too sexy for young girls. They’re mourning the loss of her girlish, sporty look.
    Over at Glamour.com, Petra Guglielmetti writes.
    Having a curly-haired daughter has changed my feelings about hair texture in this world. More specifically, I wish there were more celebration of natural curls in our popular culture. So you can imagine how I feel about the news that Disney has given a keratin treatment to its heroine Merida. Yeah, those curls have definitely been smoothed a bit. They’re more like Victoria’s Secret model waves now.
    Some moms are so outraged that they’ve started petitions on Change.org asking Disney to bring back the original Merida.
    Carolyn Danckaert, co-founder of A Mighty Girl, a girl empowerment website selling books, toys, movies, and clothing for “smart, confident, and courageous girls”, launched a petition on Change.org a few days ago, and over 18,000 folks have signed on so far.
    Carolyn writes:
    Merida inspired countless young girls by showing them that they too could go off on adventures and save the day; that it’s not about how you looked that matters but what kind of person you are. With Merida, girls finally had a princess role model that looked like a real girl, complete with the ‘imperfections’ that made her such a unique and appealing character. By redesigning her to fit the mold of the Disney Princess line and making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in her appearance, Disney is sending the message that for girls and women to have value — to be recognized as true princesses — they must conform to this narrow definition of beauty. With our petition, we’re calling on Disney to return to the original Merida that we all know and love and to keep Merida Brave!
    But some feel these moms are overreacting to what they’re calling a benign makeover.
    Kristine Cook of the blog MamaPop.com writes:
    Certainly, this type of thing is subjective, but I’m, ah…I’m having trouble seeing the scandal here. There’s SLIGHTLY more skin around the shoulder, her hair looks combed, and she’s wearing relatively modest dress, but with more gold stuff on it. So, um, be furious?
    Cook also reminds us that women sometimes get dressed up—and when they’re taking off their play clothes and putting on a ball gown that doesn’t mean they’re changing their interior qualities. We might lounge around the house in sweats in the morning, put on our sporty gear for a hike and then when we go out to dinner we slip into a dress, do our hair, wear a little makeup. When we put on our fancier attire, we can still be that independent, adventurous person.
    “If a woman changes her clothes, IT DOES NOT EQUAL that the woman is therefore better one way or another,” Cook writes.
    What do you think of the Merida makeover?
    So what do you think? Do you like the makeover? Do you agree with the mom's? As for myself, I like the original Merida better.
    Growing older is manditory
    Growing up is however, optional

  2. #2

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    Re: Disney gives Brave's Merida a makeover, and mom's aren't happy about it

    Where exactly was she "made over"? In the parks?

  3. #3

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    Re: Disney gives Brave's Merida a makeover, and mom's aren't happy about it

    Big deal, it's just a 2D redesign of a 3D character. There were bound to be some missteps along the way.

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    Re: Disney gives Brave's Merida a makeover, and mom's aren't happy about it

    So is tomboyish the new girlish? It also seems that some people have a short memory with regard to Disney princesses that "broke the mold"--there are way more of those now than there ever were of the "traditional" ones that some people keeping ragging on.

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    Re: Disney gives Brave's Merida a makeover, and mom's aren't happy about it

    People should probably stop relying on a fictional character to be the sole influence and role model to their kids.

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    Re: Disney gives Brave's Merida a makeover, and mom's aren't happy about it

    Actually, it's disappointing. Keep her fierce. It's not that people are counting on fictional characters to be their ONLY role models for their kids, but it's nice to have one that is rough around the edges, even a bit wild, not as over-the-top glam, but kept more like her character is in the film. Hopefully this actually is a misstep and they correct it.

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    Brave creator criticizes Disney for changing Merida into a weaker, sexier character

    The creator of Merida/"Brave" has publicly criticized Disney's marketeers for replacing Merida's strength with sexiness.


    Disney princess' sexy makeover blasted by 'Brave' creator - San Jose Mercury News

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    Below is a link to an article about the creator of Merida/"Brave" publicly criticizing Disney's marketeers for replacing Merida's strength with sexiness.

    Disney princess' sexy makeover blasted by 'Brave' creator - San Jose Mercury News
    Last edited by jcruise86; 05-13-2013 at 09:03 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Disney gives Brave's Merida a makeover, and mom's aren't happy about it

    Quote Originally Posted by Meville View Post
    People should probably stop relying on a fictional character to be the sole influence and role model to their kids.
    "The sole influence"? Troll much?

    Fox or MSNBC fan? That might sound insulting to a free thinker, but your post reminded me of the kind of hyperbole and mischaracterization promoted by those networks.

    Has anyone EVER said that one fictional character was the sole role model for their kids? Evidence please.

    I did like how Merida continued the recent Mulan-like bravery and determination that my daughter could emulate, but they are just two among many heroes I've exposed her to.

    It disturbs me how sleazy Disney's marketeers can be. Did they even see this film?
    Last edited by jcruise86; 05-13-2013 at 09:29 PM.

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    Re: Brave creator criticizes Disney for changing Merida into a weaker, sexier charact

    I was in D-land's Merida's Princess "Greeting" area and the CM that was there as Merida looked strong and beautiful. I still think the film of Brave stands alone with a contemporary story that young girls can be strong, beautiful, smart and brave. Pocahontas was that type of role model for my girls when they were young. Perhaps Disney will take a second look at this and make some better decisions.

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    Re: Brave creator criticizes Disney for changing Merida into a weaker, sexier charact

    I dont know, ive always wondered why disney had drug their feet on making her an official disney princess, the way they had done for Rapunzel. You cant really bag on the new Merida image without bagging on all other 10. I mean those marketing depictions of all the disney princesses are all over-sparkled and over bedazzled.

    At least they haven't made the actual in-park characters over sexualized or over sparkled, i have actually been very happy with the recent re-designing of the disney princesses, they have managed to keep the charm of the original movies, while modernizing them.

    The marketing of the Disney Princess Royal Court is always going to be overdone and over beautified, I dont think it takes away from the movies original visions.

    Overall i can understand the original movie maker being upset with the new image of her.

  12. #12

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    Re: Brave creator criticizes Disney for changing Merida into a weaker, sexier charact

    Brenda Chapman was sort of fired from Brave's director's chair, midstream, as they wanted to change directors and didn't like the direction the movie was going. During the Academy Awards they didn't mention her and she wasn't on stage. You might think this is horrible, but Pixar has switched directors midstream before, and it happens when they need a fresh set of eyes when a particular film isn't working. Given Pixar's track record, and that the Brave we got won an academy award, I think they made the right decision.

    Anyway, look at what Chapman says:

    Chapman fumed. "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."

    So let me get this straight, because Merida puts on some make-up she is no longer strong? In Brave Merida seems kinda pre-pubescent in some ways, childish and immature, maybe she grew up and developed an interest in wearing make-up. Doesn't mean she won't become a powerful queen or something.

    I think it is insulting to little girls to basically say that they don't know what they like, or that they are brainwashed into soaking up a "come hither" look, and Chapman implies that pretty faced women are not strong and independent and that pretty faces are just waiting for romance.

    If you're a parent of little girls then you know that they often like to wear make-up, watch those ubiquitous princess make-up tutorials online. Parents have to tell girls that they aren't old enough to wear make-up. It is almost like Brenda Chapman hates little girls who want to look pretty, irregardless of the fact that they might also want to be president, astronaut etc . . .
    Last edited by chesirecat; 05-13-2013 at 09:43 PM.

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    Re: Brave creator criticizes Disney for changing Merida into a weaker, sexier charact

    Quote Originally Posted by RacerGT View Post
    I was in D-land's Merida's Princess "Greeting" area and the CM that was there as Merida looked strong and beautiful. I still think the film of Brave stands alone with a contemporary story that young girls can be strong, beautiful, smart and brave. Pocahontas was that type of role model for my girls when they were young. Perhaps Disney will take a second look at this and make some better decisions.
    She still looks like Merida to me, though her eyes are bigger and less Mary Blair, she still has her arrows. Don't see why Merida can't wear make-up and look older, she still has her hips (sorry don't know how else to describe this).

    Was Merida really a good role model in Brave, outside of rebelling against arrange marriages? Last time I checked there aren't really arranged marriages in the U.S., though I guess Merida would be a role model for those parts of the world that still do this. Merida was arrogant in that she thought she could get a witch to fix everything, and she had anger management issues as she could have been more of the Ghandi/civil disobedient type when it came to protesting the marriage thing, and she's not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    Attachment 30278

    Seems that Brenda Chapman likes to stereotype women, the pretty ones are, of course, mindless bimbos who didn't embrace their inner self. Yeah, right.

    Of course Chapman would never wear make-up, like lipstick, or wear a dress that shows off her cleavage in a "come hither" pose . . . oh, except she did:

    Name:  Brenda+Chapman+2012+Los+Angeles+Film+Festival+UPmSi9T-k-ol.jpg
Views: 1096
Size:  109.5 KB

    (Chapman on the left).

    So . . . not OK for little girls to like make up, but OK for Chapman to wear make-up and wear suggestive clothing.

    For the record, Brave is my #2 favorite Pixar film, and would love to see Merida in a sequel. I guess they could make her look older, and yes, the new version of Merida is like she's playing make-up, but I think Chapman has an axe to grind.

    Chapman was upset that Pixar took her off Brave:

    “Animation directors are not protected like live-action directors, who have the Directors Guild to go to battle for them,” she writes. “We are replaced on a regular basis — and that was a real issue for me. This was a story that I created, which came from a very personal place, as a woman and a mother. To have it taken away and given to someone else, and a man at that, was truly distressing on so many levels.”

    True, animation directors are often replaced, and it has happened at Pixar. But you can tell she has anger issues regarding men when it was a slap in the face that it was a male director that replaced her. Well, Mark Andrews worked on Ratatouille, and I really loved that film, more than Brave, and he did the story for the Incredibles, so if there was story problems then he seems like somebody who could help, and Chapman even says that Brave was similar to the story she wanted to tell. Seems that she has a bit of an ego and couldn't tolerate being removed, which has happened to a lot of folks at Pixar, where story is very important.

    But her last word on the matter (for now) would seem to suggest that after reportedly leaving Pixar to consult on an animation project for Lucasfilm, she’s not eager to return. “Sometimes women express an idea and are shot down, only to have a man express essentially the same idea and have it broadly embraced,” she writes. “Until there is a sufficient number of women executives in high places, this will continue to happen.”


    http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/75860293.html

    While men, or women, might disregard what the opposite sex says, (haven't really sees this in the work place) I can see somebody who is a narcissist blaming somebody rejecting their ideas on sexism, versus the possibility that their ideas aren't that great. In animation, especially at Pixar, a lot of good, even great ideas, are tossed aside as the goal is to go with what works best for the story, that is just the nature of the beast.

    That's great that Chapman works for Lucasfilm and doesn't have to worry about Disney, lol. There are consequences to publicly attacking your bosses, though I guess she's written off Pixar.

    Prince of Egypt was OK, wasn't great, in my opinion.
    Last edited by chesirecat; 05-13-2013 at 10:18 PM.

  14. #14

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    Re: Brave creator criticizes Disney for changing Merida into a weaker, sexier charact

    Quote Originally Posted by chesirecat View Post
    Brenda Chapman. . . During the Academy Awards they didn't mention her and she wasn't on stage. . . So let me get this straight, because Merida puts on some make-up she is no longer strong?. . . It is almost like Brenda Chapman hates little girls who want to look pretty, irregardless. . .
    Here is a clip that shows Brenda Chapman on stage at the Oscars.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbI8BBqHsP8
    Ms. Chapman has been having a career that many aspiring animators would be pleased to have. She's now with Dreamworks Animation.

    The only thing the new Merida created by Disney's marketeers has in common with the protagonist in "Brave" is red hair. Did the marketeers even see this film?

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    Re: Brave creator criticizes Disney for changing Merida into a weaker, sexier charact

    Good for her.


    I signed the petition to Iger. I know some people think it's a small thing but in the scheme of Disney making mistakes this is a big one.

    And no it's not about Merida "putting on a little makeup", it's about being true to a characters story, and that character simply wouldn't try to be sexy. If you don't know that you either haven't seen the movie or don't care and shouldn't speak on the subject.

    It's huge shame IMO and now I'm starting to agree with the statements I see here that the marketeers are ruining the Disney company. How can we trust them when they willfully redraw characcters to suit trend. When they're turning strong young women characters into Betty Boop. And No I have nothing against Betty Boop, she was created for sexual fantasy, Merida was created as a role model, plain and simple.

    I agree that perhaps the other 10 need to be looked at in this... They all ought to go back to the way they were originally drawn, it's disrespectful to the animators and the history.

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