Y’all, I adore Disney. I love the parks. I love the movies. I love the characters. I love it all. But, right now I am very, very disappointed in the corporation behind all the wonder that inspires me.
I don’t know how many of you heard about the hubbub about the makeover Disney tried to give Merida (from Brave) before her official coronation as a Disney princess. I feel like the whole world heard about it but that probably isn’t true. The short story is that Disney fell in with the hyper-sexualization of female characters, decided a sleek and sexy Merida would appeal more to the masses, and ruined much of what we love about the kick-ass character of Merida. The original Merida was a girl who stood up for herself, kicked ass, and saved the day. She had a unique look that many little girls (and big girls, too) adored and identified with. The post-makeover Merida kowtowed to the views of beauty touted in the media…tiny waist, bigger chest, high cheekbones, and tamed hair. Where was the Merida we fell in love with? Many people raised such a stink that Disney retracted the makeover and claimed it had just been done for the coronation. I hoped that despite the evidence, Disney had learned a lesson.
Sadly, this was just the latest entry in a history of this kind of prettying up and perfecting of characters. Upworthy recently featured a video by the fabulous Melissa May who placed 7th in the Women of the World Poetry Slam of 2014 with a piece that was both a tribute to Ursula the Sea Witch and a slam on what Disney did to this fabulous villianess back in 2012.
See, back in 2012, Disney was releasing a line of designer villainess dolls. For some reason (I think the decision maker must have been smoking something), Disney decided that Ursula just didn’t fit the proper image. The doll designers at Disney took the fabulous Ursula; the larger than life sea witch; the character with more swagger and fabulosity than almost any other Disney character and they sanitized her. They made that larger than life character I loved to hate and turned her into a pallid, vapid representative of the current standards of beauty. She isn’t even recognizable.
God, I truly hope Disney puts this trend in the past. I want to unabashedly and unashamedly embrace Disney and all the quirky characters of there movies without worrying that one day they will be made unrecognizable. I want my children to receive the message that it is ok to be different.
Come on Disney, don’t let me down.