As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, our favorite Scottish lass Merida has officially become a Disney Princess as she was inaugurated at a special coronation ceremony at Walt Disney World this past weekend.
The Brave princess, as many have known her for the past year, has also been the subject of controversy this week. It all started when a 2D image of the princess made its way into a Change.org petition on May 4th (that garnered over 150,000 signatures) pleading to keep Merida the way she appeared on film:
“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.”
But according to official Disney sources, the public has it all wrong — Merida did not have an official makeover. On May 10th — a day before her official coronation — a company spokesperson was quoted on the blog for the popular Disney parks podcast Inside the Magic, emphasizing that Disney Consumer Products has: “many style guides from which merchandise is made from, so some images of Merida may be in 2D and some may still be 3D – it all depends on the product and what type of art is most appropriate.” Some examples that the 3D rendered version could be used on were merchandise like backpacks and folders, while the 2D imagery might would be used on products like bedding. In a follow-up post published yesterday, DCP representatives further explained that the 2D image was meant for use for a limited time only and that Merida’s new 2D look was only intended to be used on some products, some of the time, and never as a permanent “makeover” for the character.
Looking forward, Disney did not specify how long Merida’s 2D look would last alongside the other Disney Princesses other than to again repeat that this “one-time stylized version” was only intended for some products and the coronation. So it seems like the bold, brass and sassy Merida that we first fell in love with might not be getting the permanent digital makeover after all, which of course can help us all breathe a little bit easier now. Merida never seemed like a conformist in the first place, right?
For the full story, including direct quotes from company representatives, visit Inside the Magic.
Photos via Disney/Pixar