Backlash against Disney's redesign of cartoon heroine Merida has re-ignited with the release of an unrecognisable doll. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Barbie, the toy is being sold through Target in America as part of the “Ultimate Disney Princess” collection.
It seems that Disney didn’t get the message earlier this month; despite the fact that over 200,000 supporters have signed the online petition demanding the old Merida be reinstated and the latest 2D version scrapped.
The Scottish heroine's new-look doll is once again missing her trademark bow and arrow, frizzy red hair, and healthy teenage figure. Replaced with an impossibly thin waist, smooth, wavy red hair and an odd looking belt in the place of her bow and arrow.
Links to the ‘Merida’ collection on the Target website are currently broken, so we are unable to link directly to the page, however the images already made the rounds online, with bloggers and websites slamming Disney for its similar ‘Merida makeover’ treatment of the doll.
A Disney representative broke their silence on the controversy late last week in an interview with Inside the Magic, stating that the makeover has been “blown out of proportion” and that they had no intention of changing who Merida is.
'The artwork that has circulated online depicting the new 2D rendering of Merida was intended to be used only on a “limited line of products” as a “one-time stylized version."'
But the Brave creator herself, Brenda Chapman, voiced her displeasure with the “one-time” version in an email to the Marin Independent Journal.
"When little girls say they like it because it's more sparkly, that's all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy 'come hither' look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It's horrible! Merida was created to break that mold — to give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance," she said.
Chapman confirmed she has added her name to the petition and expressed her anger at Disney for putting dollars before integrity.