One of the downsides of the internet is that when an issue comes up, people share the hell out of said offending item, take 10 minutes to start an internet petition and use their online “influence” to try to shame said offending party. It’s far too convenient to blow something out of proportion.
Case in point: Disney officially “crowned” their newest Disney Princess, Merida from “Brave.”
Now, Merida came to be viewed as an ideal animated princess role model (that should have been society’s first clue) for our little precious snowflakes because she wasn’t done up in makeup, had a rougher-around-the-edges appearance, she was fiercely strong-willed, had frizzy red hair, and so forth.
Now that Merida is going to be an official Disney Princess, they gave her a makeover: Makeup, non-frizzy hair, and a thinner waist to name a few changes. A picture of the side-by-side changes can be seen at the top of this post.
People all over the world (I’m assuming most are Americans, because this debacle seems like something us pampered, lazy Americans would create) are up in arms over these changes saying,
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.
Ironically, the very petition claims they want children, specifically girls, to “benefit from seeing depictions of strong, courageous, and independent-minded girls and women that are so scarce in animated movies,” but the angry mob is missing the point entirely. By shining a tinted spotlight on this, they are actually sending a message to those same young children that, apparently, you cannot be “strong, courageous and independent-minded” if you tame the frizziness in your hair, dress certain ways and wear makeup.
This circles back around to something I’ve been quite vocal about before: YOU’RE PARENTS. ACT LIKE IT FOR A CHANGE!
Parents who have gotten complacent with their roles as parents and let Disney, Nickelodeon, Top 40 radio hits and iPads raise their children, are flipping out because there’s a shred of responsibility inside of them still, fighting to be heard, asking, “I wonder how this will affect my kid?”
Instead of trying to shame Disney, what these parents should be doing is sitting down and talking with their child. They should be asking their child how THEY feel about Merida’s changes and then have a discussion with their child about any worries they might have.
As the father of two daughters, I know what it’s like when your kid doesn’t think they’re pretty or says they want to be pretty, which is why this whole uproar is both hilarious and maddening. When one of my daughters is having one of those days, I certainly don’t stop and think, “If only Disney had its act together!”
Want to hear what makes girls feel pretty?
Letting them wear princess costumes and play dress up makes them feel pretty.
Wearing pretty hair clips and fake tiaras in their hair make them feel better about themselves.
Being told they’re pretty, always does the trick.
What is actually doing a disservice to our young girls is this salacious village mob that rises up anytime someone does something that lazy parents don’t like. It’s time to get back to being parents again and stop relying on corporations and brands to teach our children what it means to be a confident, happy person.