Glitz? Glamour? A pop star? What the poop? I will NEVER EVER remember Strawberry Shortcake as a pop diva. Seriously, people? Argh! *deep breath, Jennifer, deep breath* During a recent trip to the fabric store, I spotted fabric imprinted with Strawberry Shortcake with a microphone in hand and stars and glitter surrounding her. While I’m not fond of her 2.0 makeover, I really don’t like trading in her fun and wholesome image to a superstar singing diva. And don’t even get me started on Cherry Jam, which by the way, is she new? My internal database of useless information thought Strawberry Shortcake’s friends were very unimportant because I have no memory of any her friends’ name. Except for Buttercup. Did she have a friend named Buttercup?
The makeover was intended to make Strawberry Shortcake more modern and less “classic” and “old.” I reluctantly understand that. But by modernizing her, does she stand out enough among all the other cartoon characters with long shiny hair, skinny jeans, and a microphone? What do young girls think when they see that image? Is the image their definition of pretty and beautiful? Maybe I’m overthinking this too much. As an aunt of two amazing nieces, I know I won’t buy the modernized version of Strawberry Shortcake because I really don’t like the image. I want to give them the classic and wholesome image that I remember from my days of youth. If my sisters decide to go with Strawberry Shortcake 2.0, that’s fine because ultimately they’re in charge. I’m just the really cool and fun aunt.
All I had was Cinderella when I was younger. So, I grew up dreaming about my Prince Charming and wearing fabulous ball gowns. Plus, having woodland creatures understand me and love me unconditionally would be awesome! Oh, and having a fairy godmother at my beck and call would be more awesome. Just to clarify, I wasn’t a complete idiot, actually believing men behaved like Prince Charming. I like to dream, but I’m also pretty grounded in reality. Anyway, in some ways, the story of Cinderella sparked my imagination and creativity. As a writer, I have complete creative control over my characters and scenes. As an annoying people watcher, I like to create fictional stories or problems.
During the days before Valentine’s Day this year, I discovered a slightly younger Cinderella gracing the boxes of the holiday cards. Surprisingly, I didn’t turn into a big green rage monster on the spot, but I wasn’t really happy either. Then again, nothing lasts forever. However, the day I see a microphone in Cinderella’s hand will be the day I write a very, very, very angry letter to Disney. She will always and forever will be a princess not a singing and dancing pop star! OK, she sang and danced in her movies but somehow that’s completely different from being a perky pop sensation. Just believe me, there’s a difference. Cinderella is just timeless and classic. She should be forever remembered as a kind princess in the big beautiful blue ball gown who danced all night with Prince Charming.
Just as Merida from Disney’s “Brave” should be remembered as a spunky and independent tomboy. While I love feisty heroine, I didn’t love the movie, specifically the storyline. Anyway, who at Disney thought making over Merida to look more like a princess was a brilliant idea? And who were the morons who agreed with the idea and gave the greenlight for the makeover? Not all Disney heroines need the “Princess Diairies” makeover – nerdy teen in the beginning and beautiful princess at the end. What made Merida unique was she didn’t look like a princess. She wasn’t dainty and fragile. She didn’t have straight sleek hair. Because she doesn’t look like the rest of the Disney princesses makes her stand out and completely different – in a good way, of course. So, I understand why millions of mothers objected to Merida 2.0.
I’m even impressed the powers-that-be at Disney even took the time to listen and returned to the original Merida. When Disney encourages its characters to “be themselves,” then why do most of its characters share common characteristics (slender figures, long sleek hair, etc.). Why encourage kids to stand out and be unique when most of your fictional characters look the same? To me, the makeover declared, “This Merida isn’t good enough.” Give her a more slender figure. Make her hair less unruly and messy. Put her in a prettier dress. Kids should not be associating beautiful and good fortune with an unattainable physical appearance. So, Disney, thank you for listening to the concerns and returning to the original Merida. Now, only if the Strawberry Shortcake company could do the same …