Another Disney spokesman told Yahoo! Shine that the design change did not change the character's spunky nature, saying, “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.”
Kristine Cook, a blogger at Mompop, agrees. In a recent blog post, Cook questioned why Merida's change in appearance was being correlated to a change in character or personality.
"In the case of Merida, we champion her ability to set a role model for young girls in how she takes charge of her life, asserts her opinion as valuable in the face of an oppressive society with oppressive, sexist traditions and finds happiness without the variable of that 'Prince Charming' quotient," Cook wrote. "I simply do not see how, with this change of appearance, that she has lost any of that strength, determination or value for our children — boys and girls alike."
Bonnie Chernoff of Littleton, Colo., wrote on the petition, "The homogenization of the princess collective over the last several years dilutes the brand rather than strengthening it. The characters have basically become interchangeable, stripped of all their individuality. Is that really the message we want young girls to absorb?"
Petition signer Gabriela Houlgraves of Sittingbourne, U.K., said Merida herself would be protesting the transformation.
"This is not true to Merida's character — she would be up in arms about having to wear that dress and not have her bow and arrow."
For other signers, who fell in love with Merida for her relatability, the change was more personal. She was a princess who didn't mind getting dirty and preferred being outside riding her horse or practicing archery at the range.
Rowan McMonagle of York, U.K., wrote, "As a young girl growing up, I was bullied over three things — being Scottish, my red curly hair and being interested in cartoons, stories and activities which were 'for boys.' When I saw 'Brave,' it gave me honest hope that when I have children, and possibly a little girl, if she's like me, she'll have a role model who isn't frightened to be herself. This takes all of the things that made Merida wonderful and positive, and turns her into another one of the girls I was 'supposed' to be."
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