Merida Returns- Campaigns Do Actually Work but More To Be Done
So in case you missed it, the other day I was talking about body image in media, and Disney and their portrayal of Merida from Brave was a hot topic. They had decided for her integration into the official princess pantheon to change her to the smoothed down version (left) from the original Disney/Pixar version (right):
The original director of Brave came out against it, as did many parent groups, and evidently Disney listened- Disney took off the new look for Merida and put back her arrow-wielding self. Disney has quietly been updating the look of the other princesses as well, as you can see from the pictures below, but Merida has gotten the biggest and loudest outcry.
|The Princesses in their “older” versions|
|The Princesses in their “newer” versions|
Notice the differences? Pointier cheekbones, sculpted faces, paler skin on those of color. Mulan is gussied up to no end and looks like she’s in a corset. Tiana has had a nose job. Cinderella is now golden blonde instead of strawberry blonde. Jasmine’s pants are becoming more of a dress. Pocahontas has had her ears pierced and her eyes widened. Rapunzel has been aged up, as well as Ariel. Yes, girls can be pretty/sexy/beautiful and strong as well, but what was wrong with the images before? And why did the PoC need to be changed?!?!?!
|From the “coronation” ceremony last Saturday for Merida|
The outfits for the characters in the park are slowly getting updated to match their cartoon versions as well- Belle, Ariel, and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) have had theirs done already, and rumor has it Mulan and Snow White are next. For kids, these are their *real* characters come to life- this is The Little Mermaid, this is Belle who braved the Beast’s castle. This is Mulan who joined the army in her father’s place. What impressions are made when we’re glamoring them up like crazy? What will children think when they see how their heroines have changed: “if my favorite princess got a nosejob and a facelift since I saw her last, then what I thought was pretty before wasn’t good enough, and I must need plastic surgery too?”
What about the fact that the princes are apparently fine as they are?
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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