ORLANDO, Fla. - Disney will make Merida -- the main character in the film Brave -- the 11th official Disney princess on Saturday. However, the distinct honor comes with heavy criticism from tens of thousands of parents.
A petition on Change.org named "Say No to the Merida Makeover" claims Disney has made the empowering, independent princess into a thinner, sexier girl that sends the wrong message to young girls.
"By making her skinnier, sexier and more mature, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic…version of Merida is inferior," the petition says.
Supporters also point out the new Merida no longer has her bow and arrows used in the film.
As of Friday morning, nearly 45,000 supporters signed the petition seeking to reverse the makeover. The creators of the petition are seeking at least 50,000 signatures.
[RELATED: Read the Change.org petition]
Petition writers say Merida was a "strong, confident, self-rescuing princess" who looked like a real girl "complete with imperfections." Supporters argue the new Merida sends a message that for girls or women to have value, they must meet a narrow definition of beauty.
"Did you not watch your own movie Disney? She hated her fancy dress!" writes Diana Adkins-Fremstad.
"Merida is beautiful as she is," says Bettina Hollman-Lukwinski. "My almost 3-year-old likes her because 'she looks just like me.'"
Merida will become the 11th official Disney princess during a ceremony at Walt Disney World on Saturday.
Brave earned $237 million in the United States and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
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