Disney movies of yore follow a pretty standard formula – a beautiful princess waits for her Prince Charming to rescue her. It was a refreshing change of pace when Disney’s latest movie, Brave, featured a princess, Merida, who was able to fight for herself, a girl who had skill with a bow and arrow, not just with charming animals and furniture with her singing voice. Merida also looked like a real girl, not a doe-eyed doll. That is until Disney decided to give her a makeover for her “official induction” as the 11th Disney Princess. The skinnier, sexier new Merida looks more like the old Disney princesses, and this unnecessary makeover has understandably sparked some outrage. While Merida is the latest princess to get glammed up to sell more products, she’s certainly not the first. Check out the other princesses:
Across the board, all the princesses are wearing way more makeup to go with their sparkly new outfits. They all have impossibly tiny waists and impeccably coiffed hair (Cinderella in particular looks like she was put on a diet and bleached her hair). While this sort of aesthetic might work for real life princess Kate Middleton, it’s a little unachievable for the rest of us. Long before they start reading fashion magazines, Disney princesses are the first definition of beauty that little girls are exposed to, and it’s one they can’t achieve.
While I’m sure Disney will argue that these aren’t makeovers but ‘updates’ to make the princesses look stylistically consistent, why does that style have to be airbrushed and photoshopped? All of these princesses are wearing more glitter than Ke$ha and doing enough “smizing” to win them the title of next Top Model. These princesses aren’t just trying to appeal to young girls; they’ve got a certain sexy aesthetic which is even grosser when you consider their actual ages. There are so many more interesting updates to Disney princesses; why do we have to choose one that presents such an unrealistic image to impressionable young girls? Do they really need to believe that beauty is defined by impossibly smooth hair and a lot of blush? Disney is a huge influence over young girls, and they took a huge step forward creating a princess like Merida, a role model who isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in. Let’s hope they rethink the step back they’ve taken by making her over.