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Keep Merida Brave

Media Coverage

As this is only a small sample of the articles about our campaign, A Mighty Girl would like to thank all of the journalists and authors who took the time to discuss these issues in thoughtful, powerful ways.

Merida redesigned - What message is the new look Princess Merida from Disney's Brave sending out?

Jenni Murray, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour
The BBC Women's Hour provides an in-depth look at the Merida Makeover. This 10-minute radio segment features A Mighty Girl's co-founder Carolyn Danckaert, Pink Stinks co-founder Emma Moore, and two girls Jasmine and Amber, who discuss their opinions of the redesign.

Merida's Disney Princess Controversial Makeover - Is 'Brave' Heroine Really Bad for Little Girls?

Leslie Gorenstein, Yahoo! Movies
Gorenstein speaks to child development experts to ask whether changes to Merida really affect girls. As one child development expert, Dr. Robyn Silverman explains, "This one character may not do any damage to a girl's psychological development, per se. But Merida joins a barrage of thin, sultry characters for girls, making her yet another facet of our sexed-up, thinned down messaging."

Disney Princess Merida makeover: A 7-year-old's verdict on the 'Brave' heroine

Lisa Suhay, Christian Science Monitor
Suhay explores the impact of the redesign on a young girl in her life. She writes, "The newest, most feminist-forward Disney princess, Merida of the animated film "Brave" asks, "If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?" Disney corporate answered with a resounding "No!" when it stuck to gender-typed tradition and converted the disheveled, feisty, normally-proportioned, self-reliant archer to a slimmer, glitzy, doe-eyed version, sparking a petition by outraged fans. Worse, it disappointed a chunky little red-haired girl I babysit for because it put her princess dream back out of reach."

Why Is Brave's Princess Merida Suddenly Sexy?

Chris Heller, The Atlantic
Heller argues that the best part of Brave was how it subverted the princess stereotype, and in the process became more accessible, familiar, and real to girls. The changes, he says, tell girls that "sexuality, beauty, and body type are inseparable from what it means to be a princess."

Sex Sells: Disney's Misguided Redesign of Merida From 'Brave'

Women You Should Know
This editorial site which focuses on dynamic women describes, head to toe, how Merida's appearance was altered to make her fit the homogeneous princess ideal. Her "glamazon makeover," they say, "is truly gag inducing, especially in today's day and age."

Disney's Makeover of its Brave Princess is Cowardly

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, The Guardian
Cosslett argues that strong female role models in media are critical for both boys and girls -- and speaks to her own mother's balancing her love of all things princess with strong, confident role models. Cosslett says, "It's unsurprising that those parents who initially praised Disney for its creation of a princess who looked like a real girl are dismayed... It's a shame that Disney couldn't be [that] brave."

The Problem with Merida's Princess Makeover

Alyssa Rosenburg, Slate Magazine
Rosenburg asks, "If it's important that girls of color and girls of different economic classes be able to recognize themselves and find aspirational stories in the Disney Princess line, why shouldn't it also matter that girls with wild hair and variable body types see themselves there too?"

Brave New World: Petition Tells Disney to Leave Merida Alone

Karen E. Dill-Shackleford, Psychology Today
Dill-Shackleford attacks the idea that the changes to a cartoon don't have a real-life effect: "Research in my lab has shown that when men are exposed to sexualized, objectified images of women, they become more tolerant of real-life sexual harassment compared to controls who saw professional images of women.... The stories we tell about women and girls do matter. And the pictures we put in our daughter's minds matter as well."

The Brave and the Bold

Matthew Bogarts
Bogarts, a cartoonist, talks about the controversy from the perspective of character design. He demonstrates how character design also informs us about character qualities, and uses an interesting example featuring Batman and Bruce Wayne to demonstrate how the choice of image has an impact on marketing.

'Brave' creator blasts Disney for 'blatant sexism' in princess makeover

Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal
A common question as the petition grew was what Brenda Chapman, creator and co-director of Brave, thought of the makeover. On May 11, she spoke to the Marin Independent Journal first, saying, "I think it's atrocious what they have done to Merida." Quotations from this article have since spread throughout media coverage of the issue.

Disney Princess Makeover Sparks Outrage: Merida Petition Goes Viral

Beth Greenfield, Yahoo! Shine
As the petition topped 50,000 signatures on May 10, Yahoo! Shine featured a discussion of how it had captured the attention of Brave fans. A Mighty Girl founder Carolyn Danckaert contributed to the article, including this quote about why Merida matters: "[The redesign] is sending a message," which is one that puts forth a very narrow definition of beauty. "This is how children pick up cultural messages about what is important. Young children don't really distinguish between reality and fantasy, and these characters are their role models."

Merida from 'Brave' Gets an Unnecessary Makeover, Sparks Petition

Jessica Samakow, Huffington Post
One of the first articles about the makeover to circulate, Samakow talks about the confusion and disappointment prompted by the initial redesign reveal and directs readers to the petition, which at that point (May 8) had 19,000 signatures.

Disney gives Merida a makeover: Is this a problem?

Charlie Brooks, 5/9/2013, Babycenter Blog
Brooks expresses his concerns about the Merida makeover, not because there's anything wrong with a girl liking pretty princesses, but because by changing Merida Disney says they will only market princesses in one way, despite the character's original intent.

Disney gives Brave's tomboy princess Merida a Controversial sexy makeover.

GirlTalkHQ, 5/10/2013,
An explanation of how the makeover is different from the original character, including quotes from people who signed the petition; includes a profile of A Mighty Girl's mission.

Girls sold short by Merida's Makeover

Fiona McCade, 05/15/13, The Scotsman
Now that Merida's appearance has been altered to a more glamorous, Princess-y one, the message to girls is that it's all right to be different for a while, but eventually you will have to conform.

What's wrong with Disney Princesses?

Mary Elizabeth Williams, 05/15/13, Salon Magazine
This article points out that Disney's quiet pulling of the madeover image -- without any acknowledgement that there was anything inappropriate about the redesign or any commitment not to market a changed Merida -- is a symptom of problems that exist within the princess line: there is no longer any narrative or action necessary, princesses just ARE.

Brave's Merida Makeover: Has Disney Taken the "Sex Sells" Principle Too Far?

Lexi Novak, 05/15/2013, Allure Magazine
An article that discusses how the changes to Merida's appearance don't just make her princess-y, they give her a sexual quality that was not present in the original character.

Turning marriage-sceptic Merida into Celtic Barbie was not a brave move, Disney

Jennifer O'Connell, 05/15/13, The Irish Times
An article that talks about how Merida -- an active, powerful, female main character -- was the exception, not just in the Disney Princess collection but in media in general. Statistics back up the rarity of females with speaking roles in media for all ages.

Home of the Brave.

Jill Greenwood, 5/8/2013,
An opinion piece about how even people who love the Disney princesses found Merida refreshing in her self-confidence and uniqueness.

Beyond Merida toy industry in marketing vapid values.

Amy Jussel, 5/6/2013, Shaping Youth
An article pointing out that the toy industry is not responding to children's wants: they are marketing to create them. Several toy manufacturer's are profiled, showing how they portray female characters and "toys for girls."

Dear Life: In support of Brave women.

Fiona Leonard, 5/09/13, Blog - A Fork in the Road
A blog post about how glamorizing girls' characters contributes to girls' (and women's) distorted views of their bodies, which includes a profile of A Mighty Girl and the petition.

Disney Princess Makeover Sparks Outrage: Merida Petition Goes Viral

Beth Greenfield, 5/10/13, Yahoo Shine
This overview of the Keep Merida Brave campaign includes quotations from Peggy Orentstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter.

Parents' fury after Disney gives Brave heroine Merida 'Victoria's Secret hairdo' and Barbie waist in 'sexy' princess makeover.

Olivia Fleming, 5/9/2013, Daily Mail
A general overview of the changes to Merida and the petition, as well as quotes from children and parents about the change.

'Brave' Disney Princess' Makeover Sparks Outrage, Petition

Holly Lebowitz Rossi, 5/10/2013, Parents Magazine
A basic overview of the changes to the character and of the petition.

Disney's Repulsive Cynicism

Christopher Frankonis, 5/12/13,
This opinion piece discusses how Merida's existence as a princess in the movie is necessary to subvert the stereotypical princess story, and how the makeover reduces her to stereotype.

Parents upset over Disney's 'Brave' princess makeover

Nkoyo Iyamba, 5/13/13,
This article discusses the public's reaction to the change, as well was the petition and Brenda Chapman's response.

The Sexy Merida Makeover: A BRAVE Six-Year-Old Isn't Buying It

Carrie Goldman, 5/14/2013, Chicago Now
Goldman talks about her own and her daughters' reactions to the Merida makeover. Included is a video by her six-year-old, Annie Rose, about her feelings about the change.

Disney Princess controversal makeover

5/15/2013, Daily Times Pakisan
Merida may be a single altered character, but the overall psychological effect of the barrage of thin, sultry characters marketed to younger and younger girls has a significant effect on body image.

Disney's Not-So-Brave Makeover

Marinda Valenti, 5/14/13, Ms Magazine
The article discusses how Merida was different from many depictions of female characters, as well as how much change still remains to be seen, and expresses hope about how much impact campaigns like the petition can have on media portrayals of girls and women.

'Brave' creator blasts Disney for 'blatant sexism' in princess makeover

Paul Liberatore, 5/11/2013, Marin Independent Journal
Brenda Chapman -- 'Brave' creator and co-director -- had her first discussion of the Merida makeover with the Marin Independent Journal. Chapman expresses her displeasure with the makeover and communicates her support for A Mighty Girl's petition.