Is Disney's Princess Sexist

By Dara Sharif

Women’s-rights advocates cheered The Walt Disney Company‘s Merida, heroine of last year’s animated hit Brave, as a realistic portrayal of young womanhood.

Armed with a bow and arrows and dressed in a simple frock ideally suited for running through the forest, the headstrong, curly-haired Merida saves herself, rather than waiting on some prince.

So Disney’s recent decision to make over Merida la Barbie for official inclusion in its Princess line of products has led to an uproar, with more than 200,000 people petitioning online to get the company to change its mind.

Merida’s creator, filmmaker Brenda Chapman, has called out Disney on the move, saying that this is “a blatantly sexist marketing move based on money,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Columnist Beth Kassab of the Orlando Sentinel, whose coverage area includes Disney World, called the decision part of the “Kardashian-ization of the Disney Princess.”

The uproar has begun to pay off, at least in part.

In response to the criticism, Disney released a statement 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.” Disney is No. 39 in the DiversityInc Top 50.

But now Merida’s original look, rather than the glammed-up version, appears on the Disney Princess website. However, with no official word from the company as to whether the doll or other products will ultimately look more like the cartoon original, critics like Chapman remain skeptical.

“I will stay dubious until they give an official statement about changing the image to match the original version of Merida,” Chapman said. “All that said, the move to remove the sexed-up Merida from their U.S. site gives me some hope.”

Stereotype Threat

The danger of perpetuating stereotypesbe they racial/ethnic, gender, LGBT or about people with disabilitiesare particularly prevalent in the workplace. If hiring managers or supervisors have “ideas” about people because they are members of an underrepresented group, engagement, ability to contribute to the business and retention are impacted.

Dr. Claude Steele of Stanford University told a DiversityInc audience how stereotypes are a major barrier to the corporate advancement of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, women, LGBT people and people with disabilities.

Even “stereotype threat”the fear of being perceived through the lens of a negative stereotypecan prevent employees from succeeding.

Latest News

President-elect Joe Biden

President-Elect Joe Biden’s Potential New Cabinet Filled With Historic Firsts; New Report Details the Top 10 Careers Most Impacted by COVID-19; and More

President-elect Biden continues his push for an administration that “looks like America.” With more than a month to go until he is even sworn in as the 46th president of the United States and his transition to the office finally underway after weeks of delay, President-elect Joe Biden is already…

KPMG Launches ‘Elevate’ to Help Companies Enhance Performance, Realize Savings and Build New Capabilities

Nearly 75 Percent of All Business Transformation Initiatives Fail to Achieve Revenue and Margin Goals Originally published on home.kmpg. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing business challenges for some companies while creating new ones for others. Both circumstances require agile, precise enterprise-wide assessment and improvement. Elevate, the next generation of KPMG’s Performance Improvement…

The Michigan Moonshot Partners with Toyota and Cisco to Expand Wi-Fi Access in Detroit, Inkster, Flint and Washtenaw County, Michigan

Originally published on Residents of Detroit, Inkster, Flint and Washtenaw County will soon benefit from expanded free Wi-Fi access at more than 50 community locations across S.E. Michigan.  The effort, part of Merit Network’s Michigan Moonshot initiative, was supported by contributions from the Toyota USA Foundation and Cisco. Washtenaw Intermediate School District and…

Cox Communications Joins John Deere Supply Base

Originally published on Cox Communications’ commercial IoT product division, Cox2M, was recently selected by John Deere to implement smart asset-tracking technology at its supply facility in Augusta, Georgia. “It’s a privilege to partner with a market leader like John Deere that’s constantly investing in new technology to bring world-class products…