“On May 11th Brave‘s Merida will be officially crowned as the 11th Disney Princess, the impact of which is that Disney will be selling more stuff with her on it, I guess? Anyway. Along with the “coronation ceremony,” to be held at Walt Disney World, Merida’s gotten a new redesign…”
Here’s one of my favorite pre-botox, pre-makeover Merida expressions.
Pithy analysis from Peggy Orenstein on the eventual fate of way too many of Disney’s female characters:
Because, in the end, it wasn’t about being brave after all. It was about being pretty…I’m especially creeped out by Belle who appears to have had major surgery… In addition to everything else, they’re pushing the brown girls slowly but surely to the edges…
I’ve always said that it’s not about the movies. It’s about the bait-and-switch that happens in the merchandise, and the way the characters have evolved and proliferated off-screen. Maybe the problem is partly that these characters are designed in Hollywood, where real women are altering their appearance so regularly that animators, and certainly studio execs, think it’s normal.
‘The surgery takes away their individuality and uniqueness and its sad. Most are beautiful without it but telling them that their Korean ethnic features are in fact lovely is as effective as screaming at a brick wall.
‘They wont believe you because they’ve been brainwashed to think westernization of their features is superior, I don’t think they want to look white, but a mix of white and Asian and definitely less Korean.’
This is how one “beauty” queen describes herself:
The student revealed her plastic surgery secret after photos emerged of her looking very different at school, but she said she hadn’t misled anyone.
But she defended her crown telling the Korean media: ‘I never said I was born beautiful.’
So sad because this generic look has absolutely nothing to do with “beauty” and everything to do with power, Westernization, capitalism, and status. TV host Stephen Colbert explained it well when he jokingly asked teen writer/ phenom Tavi Gevinson: “But if girls feel good about themselves, how will we sell them things they don’t need?”
How indeed? I was a huge Merida fan, as were my kids, and I bought my three young daughters several figures, books, and posters featuring her because she was cool. Here’s a framed poster over my four year old daughter’s bed so she can see her when she goes to sleep at night, along with her favorite Merida book.
Like Merida, my daughter, Rose, has wild, curly hair that she hates to have brushed.
I hope my daughter never feels that she has to look generic and homogeneous in order to be “beautiful.” I hope she always knows that her beauty comes from her spirit. That’s not some meaningless cliche. There’s nothing “attractive” about frozen-faced clones. Disney’s new, madeover Merida has absolutely nothing to offer my kids. I won’t be buying ANY merchandise with this awful, new image.
Reel Girl rates the new Merida ***SSS*** for major stereotyping.
In small but significant numbers, filmmakers and casting executives are beginning to re-examine Hollywood’s attitude toward breast implants, Botox, collagen-injected lips and all manner of plastic surgery.
Television executives at Fox Broadcasting, for example, say they have begun recruiting more natural looking actors from Australia and Britain because the amply endowed, freakishly young-looking crowd that shows up for auditions in Los Angeles suffers from too much sameness.”I think everyone either looks like a drag queen or a stripper,” said Marcia Shulman, who oversees casting for Fox’s scripted shows…
…Moviemakers prefer actresses with natural breasts for costume dramas and period films. So much so that when the Walt Disney Company recently advertised for extras for the new “Pirates” film, the casting call specified that only women with real breasts need apply. “
Without a doubt, it’s better for women if Hollywood is truly trending natural as opposed to favoring and rewarding rewarding pastic surgery victims like 23 year old Frankenwoman Heidi Montag (who was widely reported to have had 10 procedures in one day.)
But still, there’s something smug and disturbing about this NY Times article and the Hollywood casting agents quoted in it. Actresses are being advertised for and then cast based on their breasts. No one mentions that the underlying, unfortunate issue here isn’t really what kind of breasts happen to be stylish, fake or natural (and I’m not sure “costume” dramas and period pieces qualify as “in”), but Hollywood’s unrelenting focus on female body parts. Movies are a visual form, of course looks matter. But the literal dissection, “trendiness,” and evaluation of women’s bodies is unsettling. Whatever happened to talent?