Princess Merida from Brave

Fans Petition for change

Fans of Disney's Brave have hailed Princess Merida as a unique, adventurous and strong girl who fought to make change in her own life instead of waiting for someone to do it for her. Her inclusion in the Disney Princess line, however, has disappointed many fans and parents because Disney gave her a makeover.

Merida appears skinnier, more mature and sexier. Do you think Merida was perfect the way she was, or is the "upgrade" no big deal?

Merida Makeover

Merida from Disney and Pixar's Academy Award-winning film Brave is a Scottish princess who doesn't have much of an interest in becoming the proper royal lady her mother wishes her to be. She strives to make her own way in life and has been admired by fans (big and little alike) for being a strong female character that isn't picture perfect — in other words, she looks like a real girl. Disney has announced that she will be part of its Disney Princess line, but fans are crying foul after Disney revealed that the new Princess Merida is slimmer, sexier and curvier than the movie shows her to be.

Petition going strong

Carolyn Danckaert, co-founder of A Mighty Girl, decided to start a petition on just three days ago objecting to Merida's redesign. "By redesigning her to fit the mold of the Disney Princess line and making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in her appearance, Disney is sending the message that for girls and women to have value — to be recognized as true princesses — they must conform to this narrow definition of beauty," she explained. The petition already has more than 16,000 signatures and looks to gain even more momentum in the coming days.

Moms find it outrageous

Most of the moms we spoke to felt that the change to Merida's appearance was disappointing and gave the wrong message to young children. Molly, mom of a 4-year-old, said, "She was perfect the way she was. The changes are ridiculous and confusing to young fans. Audrey said, 'She looks weird!' when I showed her the new picture."

"Why does she need eyeliner on, a lower-cut dress and a smaller waist?"

Jackee, mom of one, felt the same way. "Why does she need eyeliner on, a lower-cut dress and a smaller waist?" she asked. "To show young girls that this is how a 16-year-old should look? They took away what made her such a great, relatable character in the first place."

Others pointed out that Merida herself would likely object to the makeover, as she disliked fancy dress and was not enthused with looking like a royal lady. "Merida's refusal to 'fit in' was the whole point of the movie," remembered Brittney, mom of two. "I think the makeover is absurd."

Jessica from Canada agreed. "That's not cool, but I am not surprised," she said. "Really, when will they get a grip on these unrealistic bodies?!"

Not a huge deal

We didn't find many who weren't opposed to the redesign, but one mom felt it wasn't an issue all. "People make such a big deal over stupid things," said Ashley, mom of three. "I won't be losing any sleep over what Merida looks like. I don't think little girls will even notice much."

The petition is making so much progress it won't be much longer before it reaches its desired number of respondents (25,000), and then Disney will receive the request to return Merida to her original form — as a Brave princess unencumbered by traditional notions of beauty.

Image credit: Disney,

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Comments on "Moms react to Disney's makeover of Merida from Brave"

marisa March 08, 2014 | 8:42 PM

The things you think you dont notice tend to affect you the most. when you see certain images over and over again in the background you absorb their message whether or not you realize it. She was the one princess that had a realistic appearance. Its not just that they made her skinnier, they gave her the big eyes and tiny mouth of all other princess I dont see why they changed her at all, was she already not perfect and loved? I'll probably still show my daughter the original brave but if this is the new Merida for future movies I wont be showing her the subsequent films.

Carlee May 14, 2013 | 11:50 AM

Funny thing is, I didn't explain any of this to my 3.5-year-old, but when both images were flashed during the Today Show this morning, guess what she did? She pointed to the original Merida from the movie and said, "Mommy, I like the real Merida better!" Since the TV was on mute, there was no way she could have known what they were discussing. Just thought it was interesting.

Tiff May 11, 2013 | 7:36 AM

I understand. I wish more of disney's characters were like Nani from Lilo and Stitch. She had a normal body type with actual belly fat. What is with Disney and other cartoon companies? Why can they not design around what is real? I will let unrealistic hair and eye colors but the body should represent what is real, not fake.

Anonymous May 11, 2013 | 6:24 AM

I honestly like Merida now . It's not that big of a deal and the reason they changed her is because her old dress was torn anyway it's just not that big of a fuss

Brielle May 10, 2013 | 3:35 PM

Stop looking and their bodies and actually start to notice their personalities please. How did Cinderella treat people? Certainly better than Merida(although Merida is a great character) how about Snow White? Did anybody take their eyes off her waist for five seconds and notice how charmingly sweet she was? Does anybody notice how more recent female cartoon characters these days tend to be more snooty and sarcastic? Some characters have unrealistic proportions. People. They. Are. Cartoons. And lastly, was the actual movie "Brave" changed? No. It wasn't. You can watch it over and over again but you won't see what you all are calling an "abomination" up there on screen. So quit it. You don't need to freak out over the littlest things.

#1mom May 10, 2013 | 12:44 PM

my daughter is just like Merida messy hair and very adventurous she loves this movie because it shows a girl doing things most girls dislike it was nice to see a regular girl on the big screen disney has been making the same images for years its time for a little change.

Texas May 10, 2013 | 11:37 AM

-- "People make such a big deal over stupid things," said Ashley, mom of three. "I won't be losing any sleep over what Merida looks like. I don't think little girls will even notice much." -- This is like the people who say "I don't even pay attention to ads" -- those are the people most affected by it. We pick up on all this stuff subconsciously.

Pat May 09, 2013 | 9:46 PM

Oh no, say it isn't so. Just when I thought Disney was about to redeem itself with Merida. They must stop this stupid, exaggeration. Merida must not become a Disney princess. She is not a sniffling, self-indulgence, dependent on a man female. She is a smart, pure, warrior woman.

Rita May 08, 2013 | 9:46 PM

I have a daughter who at a young age is already bombarded with unrealistic female body type examples everywhere; cartoons, advertising and video games. It was nice to finally see a character who looks like a regular girl, not one that girls look at and think "why aren't I that skinny?" It makes me angry that I am constantly having to do damage control with my daughter because of these clueless people. Either they don't realize, won't acknowledge or maybe just don't care about the negative effect these, dare I say it, fantasy "figures" have on the self esteem of little girls and, to be honest, women of all ages by making them feel that being super slim is the ideal. Keep Merida as she is, a lovely wide-eyed normal young lady girls can relate to, not a vamped-up version with a thinner waist who also looks harder, older, and more suited as a madame in a brothel not on a child's lunchbox.

SilverLocust May 08, 2013 | 9:07 AM

It's funny, went to Disneyland yesterday and was honestly surprised by actress chosen to play Mirida was as thin as the little mermaid and the other princess. In fact she's much more in line with the revamped version.

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