Brenda Chapman, who wrote and directed the film (before she was removed, and was demoted to "co-director"), is furious about it. More than 191,000 people have signed a petition (as of this writing), in protest of this redesign. John Kovalic, the Dork Tower cartoonist, also weighed in on this issue, rather hilariously.
And yet, all over the internet, people are saying "what's the big deal? so they made her look like the rest of the princesses! so what?" Parents and authors have been complaining quite a bit about the sexy looks for the princesses, marketed to very young girls. Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein is a book by one of those parents. She writes in that book:
I didn’t know whether Disney Princesses would be the first salvo in a Hundred Years’ War of dieting, plucking, painting (and perpetual dissatisfaction with the results). But, for me they became a trigger for the larger question of how to help our daughters, with the contradictions they will inevitably face as girls, the dissonance that is as endemic as ever to growing up female. It seemed, then, that I was not done, not only with the princesses, but with the whole culture of little girlhood: what it had become, how it had changed in the decades since I was a child, what those changes meant and how to navigate them as a parent.And the people who say that it's happened to the other princesses are absolutely right! ALL of them have been altered from their movie forms. They've become somewhat generic, empty-headed, pretty girls who are simply decorative. And it's been a very deliberate move on Disney's part to homogenize the looks of these girls. It's their brand, and they are very protective of it, and very savvy about everything they do. (They underestimated their audience with Merida, clearly.) Matthew Bogarts touches on Merida and why character design matters in his Tumblr post "The Brave and the Bold." (He did a redesign for Batman you really must see.)
|Others have also pointed out that the non-white princesses are getting pushed to the|
margins, with Snow White being the exception in the above image.
Yes, Trumble is making a (wonderful) point here: giving them big eyes and sparkles doesn't improve on the original. But what if... what if some company took this idea and ran with it (after backing a dump truck of cash up to Trumble's front door). What if those women really were made as dolls?
|Compare to the far right "princess" above|
"But it was meant as satire," you may be saying. Yes, I know, but if parents had those dolls, slightly glammed-up up versions of the real women, and the girls who played with them learned a little about how awesome those ladies were and are, these dolls could be a gateway to a generation of girls who don't let anything stand in the way of their dreams. These dolls (and god do I wish I was a billionaire so I could make it happen) could be the beacon in the darkness shining a light on the path of greatness. All it would take was the right kind of marketing. Yes, marketing... as brilliant as these dolls could be, they'd be fighting an uphill battle with all the Barbies and the Bratz and the Monster Highs, but as fed up as so many of the parents are (myself included), I still believe it could work. Set them to release on March 1st for the beginning of Women's History Month, and social media outlets will go nuts.
Seriously. Somebody please make this happen!