[Movies] Fired Brave Director Criticizes Disney Over Redesign of Merida
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 05.12.2013
Brenda Chapman joins groups in calling out the company...
Disney's recent makeover of Merida, the young heroine in Brave, has been drawing a lot of criticism and now someone involved with the film has joined that group. If you aren't aware of this situation, it goes down like this (via Huffington Post): Disney unveiled a "new look" for Merida last week for her induction as the company's eleventh official princess that took place in Orlando yesterday, joining the likes of Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine and Mulan. The new-look Merida is thinner, sexier, more glamorous, wearing make-up, missing her trademark bow and arrow and wearing the very dress that the character expressed disgust for in the film, as you can see below.
The look was called out by several angry fans of the film, petitioning Disney CEO Robert Iger to undo the redesign 19,000 people signing on. The petition states, "The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls' capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired. Moreover, 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."
And now, Brenda Chapman, who was the director for the film before she got fired (though she still shared the Oscar win), told the Marin Independent Journal that she's on the side of the critics. Chapman said, "There is an irresponsibility to this decision that is appalling for women and young girls. Disney marketing and the powers that be that allow them to do such things should be ashamed of themselves."
She added, "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's official response was, "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."