Disney Princess Makeovers – When Being The Fairest Of Them All Isn't EnoughAndrea Greb

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:

Snow White

snow white compare


aurora compare


cinderella compare


ariel compare


belle original


jasmine compare


pocahontas compare


mulan compare


tiana original


rapunzel compare

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.

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  • Robyn Houston

    I like how they give the black one the goofy looking dress and tiara. Maybe it’s nothing but it’s still a dumb out fit.

  • Robyn Houston

    I like how they give the black one the goofy looking dress and tiara. Maybe it’s nothing but it’s still a dumb out fit.

    • t. kerce

      I find it lovely, but I study Horticulture and floral design and the dress is obviously a water lily.

    • t. kerce

      I find it lovely, but I study Horticulture and floral design and the dress is obviously a water lily.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000174810684 Brook E. Smith

    I loved Rapunzel because my nieces loved her, and she was good with a frying pan. And then I really loved Merida, and hoped they’d love her… And they did! And my niece got her first bow and arrows. We watched Mulan one day and I thought, a woman warrior? Yes!

    What I think the real poison of this “sexification” is: these heroes have lost the empowerment that came with competing for your own hand or becoming a warrior for your country. This makes me sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1518158309 Kate Maggiolino

    Pocahontas was always my favorite princess and I absolutely love her updated version. I think the only one here that really causes an issue is the Merida one since they have taken away what she stands for and have made her into the girly pretty princess she did not want to be in the update.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1299495090 Charlotte Schaupp

    I don’t think all this hubbub is necessary personally. As for Merida’s “update”, it just looks like she is in a fancier dress, otherwise it is just a drawn version of her compared to the original CG version. So of course it looks flatter and a bit less full. And the updated Disney princesses are just drawn slightly better than their animated versions and in fancier outfits. That’s to be expected when you want to see the character at their nicest. Just as you would glam up to go to prom, Disney glams up their characters to show them to the world. Otherwise, Disney princesses have always had super skinny waists and big doe eyes. I really don’t see the big deal here. :/

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001491492673 Megan Alexander

      I totally agree. Also, the characters have been “updated” mainly for merchandising. For example, the costumes they sell for little girls to wear so that they look like their favourite princesses are sparkly and glamorous; if Disney sold the dresses from the original animated version then I don’t think they would sell many. They are boring in comparison. The princesses have been glammed up for marketing reasons only and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1250771259 Erin Burron

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the princess updates. As Walt Disney said himself, the company will continue to grow and expand ‘as long as imagination is left in the world.’ Imagine if they had never updated Mickey Mouse! (Seriously, check it out. Redesigns are a good thing.http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Mickey_and_Minnie_Costumes_Through_the_Years )The fact that they’re updating the princesses doesn’t mean they are losing their integrity as good role models. They’ve changed hairstyles and added more glitter, sure. But it’s part of keeping all of the 2D and 3D characters consistent and helping keep them up to date for the new generations that didn’t necessarily grow up with the old-school classics. And if you look at the face characters in the parks, the redesigns have turned out phenominally. The comparisons between Aurora then and now are unmistakably improved. Adding sparkles doesn’t turn the princesses into automatic Ke$ha clones. They may glitter a little more on the product packages, but the morals and values they present to children through their movies will remain unchanged. If people can’t see past the redesigns when it comes to the influence of the princesses, they have other problems to consider.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646309356 Stephanie Doolos

      There’s nothing necessarily wrong with updating characters, but there is something wrong with updating every character to make them thinner/prettier/more sexualized. And “imagination” has nothing to do with this, it took imagination to CREATE Merida, but no creativity whatsoever to make her more like the ideal portayed in every magazine ad everywhere. Seriously, they reduced the size of her waist by almost HALF. Girls these days are quite worried enough about how they look, and they have very few role models (fictional or otherwise) who aren’t very concerned with their appearance. Merida is one of the few characters who was adamant about not liking to be overly feminine (and in the movie, taking away her bow was a major turning point that made her run away from home). And for this, they took away her bow, and made her skinnier and extremely feminine. Have you seen the movie? The character would have HATED this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002003230695 Michelle Halchuk

    Oh my… I do like the overall change, but Aurora’s original brown eyes turned to purple! :( That i did’t like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1036380051 Gloria Zhu

    All the other princesses seem to look okay, but as for Merida… she looks like a flattened, Bratz-version of herself. Honestly, this whole ‘makeover’ for her official induction as the 11th Disney princess seems awkward and silly. Why can’t they just induct her in all her red-headed, round-faced glory? Geez.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003138512872 Danielle D. Martinez

    Their faces are fuller so they look healthier and more like girls than women. And when you are little, glitter is pure magic. I prefer drawn cartoons to computer generated but as far as their political correctness, they are cool with me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003138512872 Danielle D. Martinez

      Also, the dresses are less revealing. Much more kid friendly. Belle, Ariel, and Jasmine were pretty sexualized previously. Lots of boob and Tum tum.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=624576347 Gaylynne Fell

    Is it just me or do they all look a little like Real Housewives now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565407603 Beckie Howson

      That’s exactly what I was thinking as I scrolled down. Why does a character need a make over after a year? If this carries on she’ll be unrecognisable in 10 years… Just like some of those house wives…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=664565570 Christina Argyrakis

    I don’t personally see the big deal either. If people weren’t upset about it I never would’ve noticed. All I see when looking at the “glammed up” versions are just the stories that I grew up with. It’s like any celebrity, if she were to get her photo taken she’d look more glamorous than her day to day self.

    Kids won’t sit and idolise these pictures, they will watch the movies. They’ll learn from Mulan how strong she was to step up and fight to honour her family, how Pocahontas was independent enough to choose who she loved even when he was of a different race or from Belle how not to being shallow which can possibly lead to the BEST FREAKING LIBRARY EVER!! :D

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10034404 Sarah Rhea Reveles

      I still have dreams of one day owning that library!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16807924 Gina DeBacker

    I’m curious where these glammed up illustrations are coming from. Where are they being used? Same with the new Merida illustration. Where is that illustration being used? I’ve only seen original illustrations of these princesses being used (in coloring books, on websites, on doll toy boxes, etc.) but maybe I’m missing something. Just curious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1218250861 Serena Johnson

    Does it matter? Honestly it’s been a year since the movie came out and face it, if Merida were a real girl she would have undergone some changes too. I think people forget that she’s just an animated character. This doesn’t change her in the movie at all. Wearing more make-up and being skinnier doesn’t mean you’re not a strong independent lady.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1143444342 Starla Trotter

      Thank you for saying that. Do we need to teach young girls that if you want to color your hair, wear cosmetics, work out and eat healthy to maintain a slim physique and generally do whatever you feel like to pretty up your appearance, that this means you are not strong, independent, or a feminist? Isn’t feminism about choices? What if a young girl WANTS to get glam but feels like she’ll be thought of as vapid, shallow, ditzy, etc… if she does that?! Come on. Aren’t we evolved enough that girls can be both sparkly AND fiercely awesome?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=775150023 Tania Garrigo-Meza

        I think the main problem is not that you can’t be both. Is that girls who didn’t want to be sparkly and super feminine had only one character that they could see themselves in. Of course you can be both, but not all girls want to be both. So it was great to have one princess who was more concerned with a bow and arrow and less with her own looks and trying to attract a man.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1218250861 Serena Johnson

          Mulan in my opinion did have both although she was not a princess. She wasn’t up to the normal standards of beauty, but in the end someone did find her beautiful anyway. I understand the concern, but eventually every little girl realizes that she’s not a “princess” so princess standards don’t necessarily apply to her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=794974840 Aryanna Bax Liddell

    As much as I don’t like the makeovers, I really don’t get the big deal. God forbid an artist decides to repaint, or a photographer decides to edit his photos. It’s like celebrities, they play roles on movies and they can be dirty, unkempt, haggard. But when they are on the red carpet, they get dressed up. No one complains about them not upholding their characters on film. Plus, I don’t remember kids looking at cartoon characters thinking, “Oh, she’s skinnier” or “She has more make-up”. I don’t know kids who pay particular attention to color or the size of cartoon characters because cartoon characters are cartoons, distorted, exaggerated. If they look different in another picture, will they really pay careful attention to the changes? I think they will remember the characters for their characters in the show. If you don’t want your kids to get the wrong impression, then tell them, teach and model the values you want them to embrace.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1683661612 Charity S Wagner

    You are so right! My heart drops in my stomach when I see some of the Disney Princess gifts that’ve been given to my daughter. I’ve nearly taken a few back, especially those with all the “bling” (some have strands of diamonds all over). My little girl’s view of a princess is so very different than what mine was as a child. It’s sad really,.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507986766 Elissa Muniz

    I really don’t mind Snow White’s make over, as she looks more defined. I recently saw the movie, and noticed how she doesn’t seem to have a nose, but that’s about it. Merida on the other hand, seriously???????!!!! She was pretty already! Now she looks like a cheap copy of the original character!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1310431250 Kelsey Tupper

    First Barbie, now Disney? What the what? Come on, world. Knock it off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700806180 Alice Wise

    Oh, COME NOW! I get where you are coming from, but when I think about my favorite Disney princess (Mulan), I don’t remember her for the “upgrade” Disney gave her. I remember the ideals she represented. I remember how she wasn’t afraid to go against the swarm, take arm, and deal a can of whoop arse! In the end, Disney can modify their characters however they want, but in my opinion, it’s what each princess represents that lasts with us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002522190158 Candasse Randle

    The make-up and sexier look is already bad enough, and then additionally notice how most of them are lighter in color, too, making it even more impossible to achieve. Being Black, I loved seeing Jasmine for the first time just because to me she represented beauty for people of all colors. I don’t get all bent out of shape over it not happening more often, but it just makes me happy when I do see it. The same happened when I saw Tiana. So naturally, seeing how they’ve lightened these princesses’ skintones with these makeovers is just ridiculous. Real people are all different colors, shapes and beauties and we have got to find a way to stop trying to cover that up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=581378963 Amy Laker

    There is a petition circulating Facebook to have Disney change their minds on the new “pimped out” version of Merida. I really hate what they’ve done, it makes me want to protect my daughter form Disney and the way they are portraying beauty to her. It’s genuinely quite twisted what they are doing…

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