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Brenda Chapman, director of Brave prior to being replaced during production, doesn’t like how Disney has redesigned the film’s main character, Merida, to better fit its line of princesses.
“I think it’s atrocious what they have done to Merida,” she wrote to her local newspaper, the Marin Independent Journal. “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 explained.
The new look of Merida has been criticized since she was announced as the 11th princess to join Disney’s character line. The character, seen here, eliminates the bow and arrow wielded by Merida in the film and makes alterations to the dress. One Jezebel writer noted that the heroine was given a “pretty pretty princess makeover.”
A Change.org letter addressed to Disney’s chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger, stated: “The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls’ capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired.”
The petition attached to the letter has been signed by more than 100,000 individuals.
Disney responded to the criticism in a statement to Yahoo! Shine: “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.”
Chapman, who ended up sharing the 2013 Oscar for Best Animated Feature onstage for the film, was replaced by Mark Andrews as director of Brave midway through production of the film.
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