DISNEY has come under fire from the creator of the Oscar-winning film Brave, after the studio gave the heroine a “sexy” makeover.
The flame haired, boisterous Merida now sports luscious, flowing locks, a trimmed waist and no weapons to speak of as she was crowned the 11th member of the official Princess Collection.
Writer and co-director of Brave, Brenda Chapman, told an American newspaper she had given the president of Walt Disney International, Bob Iger, a piece of her mind.
In the Scotland-set film the fiery princess sports a bow, which has been removed in the new image of her as an official member of the Disney Princess collection.
“There is an irresponsibility to this decision that is appalling for women and young girls,” she said.
“Disney marketing and the powers that be that allow them to do such things should be ashamed of themselves.”
Merida was modelled from Chapman’s 13-year-old-daughter with the aim to create a role model for little girls.
“Merida was created to break that mold – to give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance,” said Chapman.
“I think it’s atrocious what they have done to Merida.
“When little girls say they like it because it’s more sparkly, that’s all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy ‘come hither’ look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It’s horrible!
Chapman said: “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.”
Disney officially inducted Merida as a princess, but the makeover which went with her status has been met with furious protest.
A petition named, Say No To Merida Makeover, Keep Our Hero Brave, was launched online and has gained over a hundred thousand signatures.
The petition, created by “A Mighty Girl” states: “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.”
Brave grossed over $500m worldwide in the box office, made Chapman the first woman to win an Oscar for an animated feature, won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA.
A Disney spokesperson said: “Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate, and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world.”