Can We Trust Disney With Our Female Heroes?

meridawide-620x34917Disney is getting a lot of attention for their princessification of Merida from Pixar’s “Brave”. In the movie, Merida’s mother wants her to change – to become more like a normal princess. Merida steadfastly refuses. She doesn’t want to give up her bow and she fights against the brushing out of her curls. She rebels against the corset and pretty dresses. These battles define her for the audience.

And yet, Disney doesn’t appear to have watched the movie. They’ve taken away her bow and her curls. They’ve cinched her waist and given her a pretty dress. They’ve taken away her appeal as a character.

This Merida controversy follows on the heels of a t-shirt misstep from their Marvel brand. A shirt for girls proclaims, “I need a hero”. Luckily for the girl, the Avengers are on the job. However, the only female Avenger is missing. Black Widow isn’t capable of helping a girl apparently. Compare it with a boy’s shirt that says, “Be a hero”.


As you can imagine, this sentiment is particularly annoying to me. Anyone can be hero, but girls have a harder time believing it because of things like this. I spend a lot of time encouraging kids to be heroic, I don’t need a megacorporation contradicting me.

It is particularly frustrating because many of the movies being produced by these Disney brands are competently showing female heroism. Pepper Potts has been a decent role model in the hugely successful Iron Man trilogy. Merida and Black Widow were presented as strong. I worry about what’s going to happen with the Star Wars franchise now that Disney owns it. Will we be provided with a strong character in the movies only to have it undermined by merchandising? What would Princess Leia look like under Disney’s control?

12 Responses to Can We Trust Disney With Our Female Heroes?

  1. araya November 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

    Merida is a real role model for girls

  2. araya November 10, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    The other princesses aren’t bad, it’s just that they always need a man to save them. And I don’t think girls should always depend on a man.

  3. Makenzie Amos November 10, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    I agree. I think anyone that wants to be a hero can be. It really is sad that some people think that men or boys can only be heroes. Woman or girls have the capability of being a hero. Woman are just as intelligent as men. A lot of these princess movies always has a man saving them in time of a crisis. Maybe they should make a movie that involves a woman saving a man. It would give girls a chance to see that they always don’t need to be saved by a man.

  4. zach November 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    I also think that disney might ruin Star wars because of clone wars and rebels. I mean they all just do random things and some episodes you don’t get the point of it. This is why we should fund Lucas Film A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY so he can take star wars back and start it back where it ended.

  5. Devin November 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    I think women should have a better role rather than being static, flat and boring charepters. Although Feminism and a better roles are two very different things.
    I would hate disney movies to be this feministic overly PC movie company.
    We can and should stall have women lead roles but sometimes we should have a prince charming too.

  6. andrew November 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    Merida is a real role model. Merida’s mom wants her to become more like the other princesses. Disney has taken away her bow and curls. They’ve cinched her waist and given her a pretty dress.

  7. emily November 10, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    Merida is a role model. They other princesses are really not! They can make it without a man. Merida is different; she didn’t have a man and she really didn’t need one.

  8. Joshua November 10, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

    I think that the Disney corporation should leave the female characters alone. They seem to be undermining the role that the women play in these movies. They need to think about the female role.

  9. mabelyn November 10, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

    Princess Leia would look almost like Merida. She would have a strong heart and follow on what they believe in. They are not ashamed of themselves. And they always respect others.

  10. Ryan November 10, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

    I hope Disney change and not stick the same. They are making their own story instead of following the original story. I hope we can trust our Disney female heroes.

  11. Kelsei November 10, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

    My personal opinion is that they are saying through their movies that princesses need princes to save them, when they don’t.I think that they are getting better because in the movie Merida she didn’t need a prince to come to the rescue.She saved her mother with out a man, but on the other hand they are changing girls appearances to make their waist look smaller and girls are being discouraged because they do not look like that.

  12. Eli Gains November 10, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

    Do you feel that before milan all disney girls were damsels in distress