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So, About Merida's Makeover...

05/17/2013 12:34 EDT | Updated 07/17/2013 05:12 EDT
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I'm really grateful for that petition asking for changes to Merida, Disney's newest heroine/princess, because I was looking at her and heck, she's got a bow and arrow! She could poke someone's eye out with that thing, or hurt an animal. I'm a vegetarian and the latter would bother me immensely. Actually, the eye-poking would bother me, too, especially if it were my eye, or the eye of an animal.

Also...oh wait -- I've just been informed that the Merida with the bow and arrow is acceptable. The other Merida is the problem, the Merida decked out in the emerald gown with the sash and who applied some de-frizz serum to her hair and left the weapon of destruction at home.

Why is she a problem? I checked out the petition and it seems that young girls all over the world are desperate for self-esteem which can only be provided by fictional role models who speak to girls' empowerment and glorify healthy body images and put real women in focus as strong and brave and valuable, real women with all their wonderful flaws such as frizzy hair and bows and arrows and a black gown instead of an emerald one, instead of making girls feel that realistic, non-skinny girls with frizzy hair are inferior and...oops, I'm sorry. I must have dozed off there for a minute.

Good Lord, this is a tedious debate, is it not? If this is the sort of thing that makes someone upset to the point that they will sign a petition about it then I believe we can safely conclude they have lived an awfully sheltered existence. I'm not sure what I find more disturbing: that, at last count, over 200,000 people had signed the petition against Merida's makeover, or that Disney apparently capitulated so easily to all the silliness (or not), or that no one is bothered by the bow and arrow. People: do you want your kid running around with a bow and arrow? On any other day a petition would have been created to deprive any "role models" of weapons as that might send the wrong message about violence.

It is difficult to keep track.

Animated works can be tear-jerking (Dumbo) and funny (Finding Nemo) and even inspirational. I was forever changed by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the tale of a woman who lives with seven short diamond miners who do all the work and keep her in clover. Talk about empowerment.

But if your child can have her self-confidence destroyed by a computer animated princess, then I daresay she has bigger problems than whether Merida is showing too much shoulder. One of those problems might be incompetent parenting.

Honestly, I barely see any difference between the two Meridas. In one, she appears to be going out to commit a crime of some sort; in the other she's going out to a gala premiere. And if we want our daughters to grow up and run their own businesses and become politicians (the committing a crime part), then surely they need to learn about evening wear and hair products, because if they are at all successful they will be invited to state dinners and fundraisers.

All I know for certain is that there is one rule of a happy life: when you hear the words "empowerment" and "self-esteem", especially -- though not always -- spoken in conjunction with the words "role model," run for the hills. But leave that bow and arrow behind. You wouldn't want to poke someone's eye out or hurt a little animal.