Parents score as Disney pulls sexy new Merida

After getting bombarded with hundreds of thousands of complaints, the media company ditches the thinner-waisted version from its princess site.

By Aimee Picchi May 16, 2013 10:57AM

Image released by Disney/Pixar of Princess Merida in Updated at 10:50 a.m. EST.

Hundreds of thousands of parents have validated Walt Disney's saying "All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." 

In this case, Disney (DIS) has listened to the more than 210,000 petitioners who complained about the sexy makeover given to the fiery-haired Merida, heroine of "Brave." The media giant on Wednesday restored the original, more realistic version (pictured, left) to its official princess Website. On late Thursday, Disney told MSN moneyNOW that the makeover had been designed as a "one-time effort."

As reported Friday, parents were up in arms over Merida's sexy makeover (pictured, right) to get her ready for her coronation into the Disney princess lineup. 

The original Merida was hailed as a positive role model for girls because she was independent, active and outdoorsy. She also was an ace with her trusty bow and arrow, which were removed in her princess makeover, much to parents' dismay. 

That caused parents to rally a rescue effort via a petition, which criticized the new version as "making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance." The message, the petition said, is "that for girls and women to have value -- to be recognized as true princesses -- they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty."

For Disney, Merida's reception is more than skin deep. The princess line -- which includes Snow White, Cinderella and more modern heroines such as Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" -- is a $4 billion franchise, helping to sell movies, books, and paraphernalia such as pajamas and tiaras. 

Still, not everyone is convinced that Disney will stay loyal to the original Merida. The character's creator, Brenda Chapman, told the San Jose Mercury News that she's waiting for final word from Disney. 

"I will stay dubious until they give an official statement about changing the image to match the original version of Merida," she said. Chapman had earlier given a stinging rebuke about the makeover, calling it a "blatantly sexist marketing move based on money."

Disney Consumer Products told MSN moneyNOW that it often uses different art styles for its characters and that the thinner version of Merida was "a special one-time effort to commemorate her coronation." 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

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May 16, 2013 2:11PM
Seriously?  There is hardly any difference from what I can see.  You want to make a difference?  Sign a petition that gets rid of reality tv shows like Teen Mom and the Kardashians.
May 16, 2013 1:32PM
Let's see if these crusading moms can put down their 50 Shades of Grey books and demand a bald, hairy Disney male hero. I won't hold my breath.
May 16, 2013 1:25PM
Hopefully Disney will keep it's word and leave Merida as she was.  There was nothing wrong with her. She doesn't need to look sexier for children. 
May 16, 2013 1:29PM
Good! Merida was the most human looking (and attractive) Disney female lead in years. She was an attainable look, rather than an unhealthy barbie-doll wannabe. I was glad to have my daughter want to be a Merida. She took up archery (fairly well, for an 8 yr old) and horseback riding (but not archery from horseback). She hated the new Merida. I'm glad Merida is as she was
May 16, 2013 1:28PM
This is what america is worried about,no wonder this country is going down hill. People, it's a CARTOON.
May 16, 2013 1:34PM

With all the crap they show on television and in video games today, this is on the top of the list?!?  All you parents that protested against this need to wake up, get organized, and target the real problems in media outlets.

May 16, 2013 1:24PM
Wow, a cartoon character brushing her hair and having makeup is deemed too sexy for some over-protective parents. 210,000 parents for that matter.  Come on.. Its a cartoon 
May 16, 2013 1:48PM

What the eff was the point!?!?! Some parents have ABSOLUTLY NOTHING TO DO WITH THIER TIME!! I saw absolutly NOTHING wrong with either drawing. Only people with NO LIFE would have noticed the SMALL difference between either depiction and pushed so FREAKIN hard to change it. Wonder how much attention these same parents are paying to their kids! Thats whats wrong with this new bitchafied generation thats coming up, the weak parents are focused on "FIXING" outside influences to suite their WANTS (not needs). I like the new drawing just as much as the old drawing because my parents taught me tolerance and to see the good. The ONLY thing i would have even thought to add was a bow and arrow. To be honest, i'm quite dissappointed that Disney even entertained this mess.

May 16, 2013 2:06PM
Here's the thing - not all girls are into make-up and fancy dresses. Why shouldn't they have a princess, too? I was the kid who did archery, rode horseback, and swam, when I didn't have my nose in a book. I wore jeans, not dresses. Make-up? Until recently (I am 53), I didn't bother with it at all. I was happy not being "typical", and I have had a fulfilling life. I found a guy who liked me just as I was, and we have been married 34 years. Little girls need to hear the message that it's not looking glamorous and dressing up that is important - it's being yourself. And now, they are letting Merida be herself. That's the kind of role model I want for girls.
May 16, 2013 1:25PM
meh...  i've seen worse.  I really don't think it was that bad
May 16, 2013 1:31PM
I don't know why it has to be said over and over but here goes. I you don't like it don't watch/buy it.
May 16, 2013 1:40PM
... dang when I was a kid, it was a toss-up.. Betty or Wilma.. personally .. Betty!..  we're such a soft society... soft soft soft... girls have ALWAYS tried to out-do each other... since way before bobby socks and poodle skirts..  to bad these people have nothing else to do but judge cartoon charactors!!...
May 16, 2013 1:28PM
The sexier new is once again convincing young girls that they have to be pretty or they are out of style.  I believe it sends the wrong message.  The original one was just great without having to change her looks.  Sad. 
May 16, 2013 1:21PM

Such was a stupid and expensive endeavor of Disney---curious have they lost their focus!!!!!!?


Should little kids under 10 be subjected to sex sexiness and sexual persuasions, especially in character form----


Walt is having a huge devastating temper tantrum up above for they have ruined all he built in the name of inappropriate characters, poor writing and lack of creativty or vision in addition to sexitst attitudes on the board!!!!!!!!!


Will the Magic ever come back, I highly doubt it!

May 16, 2013 1:36PM
Oh, and guys... those who are, or will click the dislike buttons are those women I am speaking about. lol It's a dislike button, it means nothing at all and you don't pass go, you don't win $200 and you will not win friends on here, either. This princess is just brushing her hair which is the MOST she does in this cartoon. She isn't having sex, she isn't showing off her legs, or breasts.. she is just a cartoon character created by Disney to make kids laugh and have fun watching the cartoon movie. This princess is not teaching them how to get laid, how to flirt, how to kill people.. if you want to bitch about that then bitch about something else, like the cartoons such as Gem, or Powerpuff Girls, or even Barbie! Barbie has been getting a little too hot for T.V. lately, even a gal got plastic surgery to look like Barbie and shows off her massive boobs, too! Go bitch about that instead.. that will give kids the wrong idea more so than this princess who likes to just have fun... like Cindi Lauper did in her video. Ugh... worst part is I make a lot of sense, but those mothers will pull something out of their large hats and try to make me some kind of jerk when I only tell it how it is. Again, get a job, stop complaining, and get a damn life! The guys are on my side with this I'm sure. I'm all for equality, but when it comes to things like this, I just feel like throwing up over the stupidity these people show.... Idiots.
May 16, 2013 1:22PM
wow good thing there were no sexy mouskateers. Or were there?
May 16, 2013 1:29PM
I just looked at the site and all but Tiana, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Jasmine look the same as originally aired.  Obvious why Tianna and Rapunzel look the same but ever other princess is "updated".  I hate the new Cinderella and utterly refuse to buy her ANYTHING with the new snow white on it.
May 16, 2013 1:34PM
Good for Disney for listening to the parents and showing that a Princess doesn't have to be a cookie cutter mold that they keep putting out there. 
May 16, 2013 1:39PM

This is unreal, all this over a cartoon, have you all lost your freakin minds. you parents who are commenting on this are just IDIOTS and have nothing better to do. why dont you try and help fix AMERICA, and stop worrying about a damn cartoon. you people have lost it..

They probably voted for oboma.

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