Princess Merida from Pixar's Brave (right) and her redesign for the Disney Princesses collection.

Princess Merida from Pixar's Brave (right) and her redesign for the Disney Princesses collection. Photo: Pixar/Disney

Praised for her brains, brawn and refusal to wait for a man to save the day, Merida was embraced as a role model for little girls around the world, but the star of Pixar’s Brave has had a very unwelcome makeover.

The frizzy, fiery red head is set to be crowned the 11th Disney princess tomorrow and she has undergone a drastic transformation in preparation for her big day.

While the real Merida would never go on a diet, it seems Disney thought the princess, who once looked like a real teenage girl, needed some trimming down to make the cut. But her waist circumference is not the only thing that has changed. Her wide, youthful eyes have been slicked with black eyeliner and taken on a more almond shape, her cheekbones are higher and rosier, her dress is now off her shoulders, and her frizzy locks have been smoothed into a flowing mane of red curls.

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But maybe most shocking of all, the heroine is missing her bow and arrow – the very thing that set her apart from the slew of princesses that came before her. It appears she has put down her weapon and fighting spirit in pursuit of a more demure image.

Brave writer and co-director Brenda Chapman has said that her aim in creating Merida was to deliver a princess parents would be proud to let their daughters watch.

“... My goal was to offer up a different kind of princess — a stronger princess that both mothers and daughters could relate to,” she said in an interview with Pixar Portal.

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But somewhere along the way that message has been lost and parents around the world are more than a little confused and disappointed by the sudden turnaround.

A petition has been started online at change.org in protest to the changes. Calling on parents to add their voice to the other 37,563 supporters who are saying “No to the Merida makeover”.

“The redesign of Merida ... 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,” writes the petitioner.

And it seems many support this viewpoint, with one commenter writing: “I do not want to see Brave turned into a "Babe". Leave something for a girl to aspire to besides being arm candy.”

While another states, “The redesign loses everything that was great about Merida.”

The new look Merida might have got her in to the princess pack but has she lost her vote with parents?

What do you think about Merida’s redesign? Leave a comment below.