Princess Power: The Brave and the Beautiful

The twittersphere is all a flutter over Merida-gate.  The star of Disney’s animated movie Brave had a facelift and tummy tuck to prep for her anointment. Forget ‘being brave, strong, passionate, determined and confident’, a new sexier look is what will win the royal day despite what Brenda Chapman, who wrote and co-directed the movie, thinks.


The perky princesses: Mulan, Snow White, Tiana, Cinderella, Belle, Merida, Rapunzel, Ariel, Aurora, Jasmine and Pocahontas.

Maybe you haven’t heard the big news.  Disney declared that the wee spitfire and lead character is joining the ranks as one of ‘Disney’s Princess Royal Court’ which, from what I can tell, means a marketing ploy to get people to buy princess-y stuff.

Not only are our daughters going to want the post-op Merida that is well stocked in toy stores but some will plead and beg for all the small-waisted royals.  According to Disney, “the Princess royal court has expanded to welcome new princess characters whose stories, personalities and inner qualities serve as role models inspiring girls around the world.”  Oh yay, these little ladies are role models!  Our daughter can spend time brushing their hair and adding twinkle to their wash and wear ballroom gowns, while setting scenes of them completing dissertations on Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, discovering a dwarf star, embracing their entreprenureal spirit while exercising their unique artistic flair.

Do you have a princess loving daughter?

Does it leave you a little queasy to see her love the gender-conforming, gender-squeezing, gender-limiting that Disney role-models uphold?  The marketing machine is strong and while it might not always seem like it, our voices, as parents, are formidable too.

    • Remember to love her and let her love what she loves.
    • Challenge the things that she sees and accepts as truth when it comes to the princess royal court.
    • Invite her to close her eyes and describe a princess. Probe around character traits and behavior.  Call out descriptions that are merely physical.
    • Discuss with your daughter what makes a princess different than other girls or women.
    • Listen to Robert Munch’s Paper Bag Princess with your princess.  Talk about what makes it a good story.  What makes Princess Elizabeth honorable and so incredibly kick-ass? started a petition to let Disney know that the new Merida isn’t nearly as fabulous as the old one.  You might laugh but with loads of signatures this is the kind of thing that Disney pays attention too.  Perhaps you and your daughter can sign it?


(On a completely unrelated note, while doing some twitter research, I discoverd that the hashtag #Brave is trending because of the Disney princess  hooplah and also because of the news that Anjelina Jolie, the not-royal-but-very-princess-like celebrity had a double mastectomy to diminish her significat risk of breast cancer.  She wrote a very good op-ed in the New York Times about her decision to do so.)


This article has 2 comments

  1. Good news on Merida! Disney responded to the backlash and petition and are reverting to the less sparkly, coiffed and curvaceous Merida.

  2. Very well said – I like the advice about Robert Munsch’s Paper Bag Princess and “Remember to love her and let her love what she loves.” – Thanks for the comment on

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