MS: Can We Talk About Princesses for a Second?

A little context for this. I’m twenty-one years old and I unfortunately use Facebook. Also, despite being an antifeminist I somehow have a multitude of feminist friends. These two things combined produces an interesting phenomenon, I’m always aware of the dumbest stuff that feminists are getting enraged over. Today it was a “makeover” that the princess Merida from the film Brave has received now that she’s an official Disney princess. Here’s the side by side comparison:

Oh how awful, she looks…more mature? Source

The article that I found via Facebook had this to say,

“Yeah, those curls have definitely been smoothed a bit. They’re more like Victoria’s Secret model waves now. And people aren’t happy about it. A petition has been gaining steam on change.org protesting Disney’s Merida makeover, including her trimmed waistline, sparkly gown, lower-cut dress, and high cheekbones.”

I’ll address these things in order. First, yes, her curls have been smoothed down because curls are hard to draw by hand. Second, the rest of those changes can be accounted for if say, Merida had been aged up maybe two or three years? Oh deary me, she’s a woman instead of a girl now? How dare they! Besides, her cheekbones aren’t any higher than they were. People are also lauding the “strong, independent” aspect of Merida’s character and how this compromises it. So how you look determines what you are like? So much for not judging based on appearances people.

I do briefly want to discuss the “strong” aspect of Merida’s character though. Because Brave actually does have a decent message if you can look a little deeper. Merida starts out feminist “strong”, which in actuality means “abrasive and rebellious”. By the end of it however, we see she transforms into someone who is actually strong. She becomes someone who recognizes her error and not only owns up to it, but fixes it. That is something legitimately admirable. She and her mother both become less solipsistic and learn to communicate. As a result they have a better relationship and Merida begins to grow up and grow more feminine. So, the change to a sparklier dress is a continuation of the growth of the character.

So, moving on. Apparently the people who are outraged over this are making something out of nothing that can’t be easily explained. So, why are they doing it? That’s why I want to talk about princesses in general. Because I’ve seen this point about perfectly proportioned, long haired, perfectly complexioned princesses before. Particularly in regards to Disney ones. They say that they give girls bad perceptions about themselves if they can’t measure up to the impossible standard.

That’s really easy to fix.

Tell your daughters that the princesses aren’t real, that the stories are fairytales and well, gosh gee, life isn’t exactly like that.

But people claim to know that and it still affects how they think, view themselves, and view life. They blame Disney and their movies and princesses.

Guess what gals? It isn’t Disney’s fault.

If you feel bad about yourself because of how a 2D, completely 100% fake person looks? Then you are the one with the problem. You have something about yourself that you don’t like and you can’t reconcile with it. Maybe it is something you legitimately can’t do anything about. Then you have to accept it and move past it instead of blaming it on some outside source. Or, maybe it is something you can do something about. Then do something about  it! Don’t say other people should change their perceptions to make you feel better. Change yourself. Merida is admired for being strong, she made a mistake, so she faced the consequences and fixed it. Quit blaming other people and fix it.

I think I’m going to start a little series which explores good, feminine role models in fiction and reality. I can already think of a few.

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9 responses to “MS: Can We Talk About Princesses for a Second?

  • nightskyradio

    I have a good guess who one of those will be.

  • Lena S.

    I dunno, they’ve made them all look botoxed or something. My girls aren’t impressed. I saw this on facebook as well (and I’m 41, don’t know what my excuse is) and saw that all the princesses have had make-overs. What is the point of it? Some of them look pretty weird, and given that it’s little girls who watch this stuff, do we really need to do this? We seem to be obsessed with ‘revamping’ everything in this culture.

    My kids really like Merida and ‘Brave’, and this change was hugely disappointing to them, and I find that a bit sad. I think my eldest in particular could relate to the more rough and tumble character, being that way herself. We don’t have TV and they don’t watch a lot of mainstream stuff, but I allow some things if they enjoy it and it doesn’t seem too terrible.

    • allamagoosa

      See, I didn’t see anything about the other princesses getting makeovers, just Merida. That and my concern here is really more the demonizing of anything and everything feminine targeted at little girls. That and the near constant stream of controversy around Brave in general.

      I like Merida too, I was a lot like that when I was younger. I never really did the princess thing though. I have no problem with young girls being disappointed about the change, it’s the women my age who are claiming they’ve lost a role model. It’s like, “Um, you people are adults, get over it.”

  • nightskyradio

    Lena – We seem to be obsessed with ‘revamping’ everything in this culture

    We’ve been living in a remix culture since sometime in the 80s. I was just thinking about this (again) yesterday.

    • wdydfae

      That’s an interesting point!

      BTW, does this post belong in the dawn sprinkle category or the nocturnal ballistics category?

      • nightskyradio

        I might expand on my thoughts about “remix culture” in a post soon…. I’ve only been thinking about it for a mere 20 years or so now.

        The “MS” at the beginning of the title signifies Ante-Meridian confectionaries as opposed to Post-Meridian high velocity lead pollution.

        Was Auntie Meridian a relative of Merida’s?

      • wdydfae

        D’oh! Totally MSed that.

        Thanks for straightening me out!

        I think your post will be to pop cultural regurgitation what your robotics series was to cyborgian third millenianism. Breadth and depth and funkiness expected. Looking forward to it!

  • Lena S.

    It might have started with that watered down funk without the funk, disco.

  • DJ

    Seem like much ado about nothing, I enjoy your writeing btw.

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