If you are a teacher or own a little girl then you know the impact Disney has on a little girls brain. You will have seen the tantrums is she can not wear her princess dress and will know that girls only wear pink. You will know that most little girls know all of the Disney princesses off by heart including their movies and many of the lyrics to songs.
What you may not realise is the negative effect that these Disney characters are having on children. You may not realise how these princesses impact on your little girls self image and ideals about what a woman should be.
Disney sells a certain image to children and they are very, very good at it. They have an ultimate goal of making money and have no interest in the effects that they have on children.
Recently Disney brought out a movie with a character that displayed a princess who was not the usual Disney princess.Merida, star of the Disney-Pixar film Brave. She had wild red hair, a few freckles and was a tom boy. Her creator, Brenda Chapman, was very proud that she could create a character who would be a positive role model to little girls all over the world. She wanted to show little girls that strong was beautiful too. Sh wanted to show little girls that they did not need saving by a prince but that they could get out their and enjoy so called “boy activities” as well.
Unfortunately Disney has now released the new cartoon with a very different Merida. a very sexualised Merida.
You can see a vast difference in the two Meridas above. The new model has become slimmer with a bigger bust. She no longer has a cute childish face, but sports a sexy made up face with sleek voluptuous hair. The look of fun and adventure on her face has been replaced by a seductive look. She also no longer has her signature bow and arrow; instead, she wears a sash around her pretty off-the-shoulder gown.
There has been a huge backlash from parents as a petition was launched on change.org. So far it has over 120,000 signatures. The petition explains:
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. Moreover, by making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value — to be recognized as true princesses — they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.
Brenda Chapman (Merida’s creator) has also stated:
They have been handed an opportunity on a silver platter to give their consumers something of more substance and quality — THAT WILL STILL SELL — and they have a total disregard for it in the name of their narrow minded view of what will make money. I forget that Disney’s goal is to make money without concern for integrity. Silly me.
If you haven’t yet signed the petition, you can do so at Change.org.