You may have seen posts about Merida, the main character from Disney’s Brave, entering the Disney princess lineup. In doing that, she was redrawn, and looked vastly different. There was an uproar, a petition was circulated, and Disney withdrew the modified image.
Once that was done, I saw someone ask why people were upset about Merida being dressed up and converted from CGI to a hand-drawn image. If indeed it had just been about her dressing nicely, fixing her hair a bit, and such, I doubt anyone would’ve cared, for surely one’s coronation is a good occasion to look one’s best. While some disliked her being shown without her bow and quiver, I didn’t care about that since it was, in a sense, a coronation portrait. But it appears she isn’t really dressed very differently, for it appears to be a hand-drawn rendition of the same dress she normally wears with just some added embellishment to the hem and sleeves. The main changes are to Merida herself, not her dress. She is suddenly slimmer, bustier, has a lower neckline, and a paler complexion. Her expression has changed from one of playfulness to one that is, well, sexy. (To be fair, it seems the other Disney princesses also have a sexier look and the same figure, and I object to that, too).
So why do I object? I object because I don’t want my daughter to think she must have that “perfect” (improbable) figure. I object because I want her to know she is beautiful by virtue of being her, the person God made her to be, and not because she happens to fit some preconceived mold.
I also object for my sons. They also see these images, and that can form how they view women. I want them to see the true beauty of everyone that comes from them being who they are.
I have also been asked why I don’t just shun Disney. Even if I didn’t get any Disney products or go to Disney, it is impossible to avoid them. If you stand in the queue for the tills, you see Disney princess balloons (not to mention all the magazines, but that’s another rant). In short, it matters not if I try to shun Disney, because the images are everywhere.
And that is a large part of why I object to changing Merida’s image. My children are already bombarded with sexualised images. I try to counter that by ensuring my children see me be comfortable in my far-from-perfect (by societal standards) body and by finding princesses who are also strong characters on their own. Merida was one such princess, and her image reflected that, so why change it?