May 17, 2013

Brave Disney Princess Makeover

It’s the before-and-after makeover heard around the world.

When Princess Merida of “Brave” was crowned the 11th princess at Walt Disney World this weekend, she had a new look that included not only a tiny waist, sultry eyes, and cleavage but also the teal gown that the feisty tomboy so detested in the Oscar-winning movie. It was as if Merida stepped onto the cover of “Vogue” magazine and her rebellious spirit was photo-shopped right out of the red-headed heroine.

Nearly 212,000 of her fans weren’t having it. Through a Change.org petition, “Keep Merida Brave,” girl empowerment blog “A Mighty Girl,” demanded that Disney reconsider the redesign. By Wednesday, word had spread on the Internet that Disney had removed the sexified image from its official princess website, and the movement declared itself victorious.

But much of it has turned out to be as fictitious as the bow-and-arrow-carrying princess herself. The party girl image of Merida was never used on Disney’s official sites or Facebook pages, a Disney spokesperson told NBCNews.com Thursday.

“The artwork used on Merida’s official social media sites has always been the imagery from the movie – there have been no changes," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. "We routinely use different art styles with our characters and this rendition of Merida in her party dress was a special one-time effort to commemorate her coronation. Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world. “

Merida’s new look was created for her "special coronation" and is intended to be used in a limited product line this summer and fall. Her image on her official princess page will remain intact, the spokesperson said.