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Director of Brave Bashes Disney Over Sexualizing Merida in Latest Make-over


Disney recently released a revamped Merida which has made many angry.

The changes have sparked controversy over Disney’s recent “princess” change. (News Director RANT Starts) In my opinion, this is another example of a preconceived expectation that is unrealistic and for many, unattainable. Why is it so hard to have a strong and confident female hero without resorting to unrealistic and contrived sexuality? (News Director RANT Finishd)

The outcry has even gone as high up as the director of the film, Brenda Chapman as she bashed Disney over the change;

“A blatantly sexist marketing move based on money.” … “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!”

A petition has started over at, “Say No to the Merida Makeover, Keep Our Hero Brave”, in the hopes to convince Disney to change her back.

What are people’s thoughts on this? Do you think Disney should change Merida back to the original or are you alright with the changes? Leave a comment below!

The Author: Steve “Rifflo” Fitch – Legendarium News Director
Steve, also known as “Rifflo”, is a University MBA Administrator in Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife, Lisa and two young daughters, Alexa and Ava. When not amerced in Tolkien works, you can find him training in Muay Thai, Italian rapier, German longsword, and Mixed Martial Arts.Follow Steve on Twitter @HobbitSteve

About reuben

Steve, also known as “Rifflo”, is a University MBA Administrator in Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife, Lisa and two young daughters, Alexa and Ava. Steve has an extensive background in corporate sales. Steve also worked for ISAF: International Security Assistance Force and the Canadian Military as a recruiter in Human Resources for the operations in Bosnia and Afghanistan. When not immersed in Tolkien works,sci-fi, and film, you can find him training in Muay Thai, and Italian rapier.


  1. Cheryl Carlson

    Keep Merida the same. She doesn’t need to be sexualized. Save our children by protecting their vulnerable minds from growing up too quickly. Help them to see the importance of friendship, trust, self-control, and waiting for sex after marriage.

  2. Merida’s makeover makes me really mad. And disappointed. As do all of the other makeovers Disney did for the princesses.
    She hardly even looks like Merida now.

  3. This move by Disney is really all of the above; sexist, unnecessary, and done purely in the interest of money. Yet I cannot help but shake my head a bit at the backlash a bit and chuckle. “Brave” was a sloppy piece of cinema that exhibited its disjointed nature and the fact it changed direction midway through production all too readily. It was a sub-par work that won its oscar bid riding entirely on the coattails of much better work in Pixar’s past and certain elements of it competitors that rendered them less “safe”. The only thing that keeps me from being completely surprised by how heavy the backlash has been is that Merida herself was a good and likeable character who ultimately deserved a much better film, as well as a much more creative way of inserting the positive female protagonist model she was meant to represent. Brave seemed to want to subscribe to the now rather cliched model of emphasizing more the “supposed” dilemma of the character’s gender as opposed to the character herself. When writers do this, it no longer becomes about cheering for the character, but rather the issue, and in doing this you lose people who feel they are being preached to, talked down to, sometimes yes because of existing and faulty notions they may harbor regarding gender roles. Time and again it has been demonstrated the best way to validate a civil rights issue is to let it connect on a personal level, and by putting the issue first, by making Merida an in your face “girl power” cliche, she fails to do this. It’s sad really, beyond that element of her she had a lot going for her, frankly I consider it a good character who just got thrown into a film and story that was beneath her.

    So what does this have to do with the issue at hand? A lot actually. The backlash from this issue seems to be two fold. On one hand, you have a more conventional argument largely from parents who appreciated having a character their daughters look up to that doesn’t command a “Barbie doll” style ambiance to her, encouraging them to indulge lifestyle choices they may later regret. That’s understandable and really more disconnected from the more adult interpretation I perceive the film through that emphasizes story and character as opposed to how my kids react (although I think a lot of qualities like those mentioned in a previous comment seem more projecting things on the character then what is really there. Of those only trust seems legitimate; friendship isn’t even really brought up, even Merida’s hair lacks self control, and sex before marriage fits in there how?)

    It is the second face of this matter that has me shaking my head really and what has more to do with my grievances mentioned before with the film. As I eluded to, the obvious suggestion with how Merida is written is she’s meant to represent a sort of empowered female in a patriarchal societal model, and as I quite adamantly emphasized before she ultimately fails in this regard as too much emphasis was put on that issue as opposed to trying to create a good character. The problem lies in the story itself; the forced marriage where the daughter has no real say in the matter. Frankly, this is about as tired a premise in stories as the “Dances with” premise is now. It’s no longer a good foundation for such a story, and Merida loses her strength as a character by getting lost in this. Look at other recent female protagonists of similar age; Katara from Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: the Last Airbender” had to face a lot of judgement because of her gender as well, but it was never played as what defined her character, but rather something for her and others to overcome. “Hunger Games” Katniss was only defined by her gender in what was assigned by us with her being the lead character in a science fiction action story. Daenerys Stormborn from Game of Thrones, or really any number of other female characters from that series, prove better examples of a good strong female protagonist character then Merida does, and it’s because their strength is in their character, not the fact they’re being judged by their gender. Heck, I can even toss in the new incarnation of My Little Pony as a stronger example then her, and from what I’ve seen many who take an interest in this subject from the female perspective seem to agree with me. Which is why I find it so odd that there’s so much uproar from this angle with regards to a character generally regarded as not a good representative to that issue. The last two days I’ve now seen three blogs, at least a dozen facebook comments, and even some in chat comments on an MMO I play regarding this, and I’m almost never checking my facebook and really don’t read as many blogs as even I feel I should. Not to mention some of those came from people who shared my lackadaisical reception to the film.

    To be honest, what this really does for me is just even further lead me to be disappointed with the film. It has become obvious to me that people at least “wanted” to like it, that in Merida there was the framework for a great iconic character that people would get behind when she was wronged, and yet what she was put into was unworthy of her. She may be digital and fictional, but I feel so bad for poor Merida, used and abused by everyone around her.

  4. I don’t normally take exception to that sort of a change, but with this particular character, it really doesn’t make much sense… I mean, she is an embodiment of exactly the opposite of the qualities added to her? She is a rebel forging her own path, and openly rejects the role she is expected to fulfill as a princess… she is, basically, an “anti-princess”… so uhm… why dress her in pretty sparkly clothes with her boobs accented? It doesn’t offend me, but it also makes no sense and is in conflict with the story.