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Keep Merida Brave


A collection of recommended books and articles which examine issues related to the Merida makeover on a more systemic level. The listed is divided into two categories:


  1. The Curse of the Perfect Girl

    Rachel Simmons
    The “good girl” stereotype teaches girls to be nice, polite, modest, and selfless, at the cost of their power and potential; strategies for fostering girls’ assertiveness and resiliency.
  2. So Sexy So Soon

    Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne
    Children are getting bombarded with sexualized messages at earlier and earlier ages, and don’t have the emotional sophistication to interpret them; how parents can talk to their children about these issues.
  3. Cinderella Ate My Daughter

    Peggy Orenstein
    The girly-girl, pink princess culture is a relatively new and still rising phenomenon; how it affects girls, both as children and as they grown to adulthood.
  4. The Lolita Effect

    M. Gigi Durham
    Mass media trends teach girls disturbing messages about sexuality by promoting five key myths which condone objectification of women and sexual violence, and undermine girls' self-confidence; how to empower girls to make healthy decisions about their sexuality.
  5. Packaging Girlhood

    Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown
    Marketing teaches girls to be heavy consumers and focus their energy on fashion, beauty, and boys; how to talk to girls about these messages and help them make positive choices.
  6. Princess Recovery

    Jennifer L. Hartstein
    Teach your daughter to be independent and self-confident, and how to understand the messages she receives that may discourage her, by turning her Princess symptoms into Heroine solutions.
  7. Born To Buy

    Juliet B. Schor
    Marketing to children (as opposed to parents) is now big business, creating “commercialized children” who are strongly defined by the subtle but constant messages they are exposed to; guidelines for parents and teachers to help kids decipher marketing.
  8. Reviving Ophelia

    Mary Pipher
    Unattainable ideals of beauty and a culture rife with addictions and negative sexual messages have led to increasing numbers of teenage girls suffering from depression, eating disorders, and self-esteem issues; how to help girls retain resiliency and optimism in the face of these challenges.


  1. Why 6-Year-Old Girls Want to Be Sexy

    Jennifer Abbasi, LiveScience
    Girls as young as six are seeking out sexualized clothing, and consider a paper doll dressed in revealing clothing “more popular” than a trendy but covered-up outfit; what parents (especially mothers as role-models of womanhood) can do to encourage daughters to think of themselves in a different light.
  2. Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls (pdf)

    The American Psychological Association
    The American Psychological Association’s 2010 report about the sexualization of girls, which includes evidence that it is occurring; the consequences of sexualization on girls, others, and society at large; and recommendations for counteracting its influence.
  3. Gender Stereotypes: An Analysis of Popular Films and TV (pdf)

    Stacy Smith and Crystal Cook, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
    Four studies of gender presentations in popular films and TV shows: two in terms of appearance (including hypersexualized features and revealing clothing); one analyzing behaviour of female leads of 13 G-rated films; and one regarding the prevalence and portrayal of female characters in TV for children 11 and under.
  4. What’s Wrong With Cinderella?

    Peggy Orenstein, New York Times
    Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, examines the rise of princess culture and the conflict between letting kids enjoy what they want and preventing their potential from being subverted by marketing.
  5. Princess Recovery: Raising empowered girls in a complicated world

    Jennifer L. Hartstein, Psychology Today
    How “Princess Syndrome” can affect girls’ ideas about body image and feminine behavior, and four skills to help your child develop so that she can have a positive, empowered sense of self.
  6. Little girls or little women? The Disney princess effect

    Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor
    The messages around Disney Princesses can change how little girls behave and see themselves into a very limiting path, focused on fashion, boys, and passive activities; how parents and teachers struggle to understand and deal with this problem.
  7. Toddlers and Tears: The sexualization of young girls

    Mandy Morgan, Deseret News
    Marketing isn’t the only problem: reality TV shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, Dance Moms, etc. teach girls that beauty is all-important and that sexualized clothing -- and emotional drama -- are normal. Teaching media literacy to children helps them combat these impressions.
  8. Ten-year-old as sex symbol: Thylane Blondeau and the troubling choices of Vogue Enfant

    Vivian Dang, Vancouver Observer
    Issues about sexualization of children reached the general public when Vogue featured a photo spread with 10-year-old model Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau posed sprawled across a leopard-print blanket wearing high heels.