Merida: A New Princess?

My daughter and I went to see the movie Brave on its opening day. The first time I saw the trailer, I’ve wanted to see this movie. Even more than I want to see Magic Mike! Inorite? Whodathunk? There’s not even a hawt guy in it (Oh no! I seemed to have slipped into teen-speak right there. Ops. I must be missing my little rapscallions. Apologies, dear non-judgemental readers.). My daughter wanted to see it even more than I did. She would ask to see it every time she saw the movie trailer. We went. We loved it. We wanted to see it again. The girl usually tells me about all of her favorite parts of movies that we see. She essentially retold the entire movie. It was good. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

However, that is not the point of this post.

I started doing some research after the movie to see what others thought of it. I was shocked at some of the responses I found. Many blog posts and articles that had a feminist slant bashed the movie. Here I was, thinking that Merida was a fabulous alternative to the typical swoon-and-wait-for-rescue princess. She takes matters into her own hands. She’s brave, strong, and determined. Merida can take be victorious when faced with danger and stands up for what she believes in. In essence, I loved her and was excited when my daughter began to emulate her.

Apparently I had it all wrong. There are so many things wrong with Merida.

  • She’s a princess (gasp)!
    • Some of the writers hated the fact that she was a princess. (They suggested that she be a serving girl or a toaster or something. A frikken’ toaster! I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really been able to relate to inanimate objects, no matter how likable they are.) *Warning: Nerdiness approaching* At the time that the movie is set, the only women who had any leisure time were those of noble birth. She would have to be a princess in order to have enough spare time to have an adventure.
  • Merida wears dresses.
    • Once again, time-appropriate clothing. A serving girl would have had to wear a dress as well. Not sure about the toaster, though.
  • Her hair is too unrealistic.
    • Ummm… so is Lady Gaga’s but she is still seen as a strong woman. Plus… animated. Duh.
  • She does “boy” things and they are celebrated.
    • Their concept of boy things is shooting a bow and riding a horse. This seems anti-feminist if you ask me. I know plenty of women who are masters at archery and are expert equestrians. Why are these boy activities?
  • She has a simple problem and all she does is have to fix it.
    • If you’ve seen the movie, you know that the conflict in it is anything but simple. Character development occurs in both major female characters. I guess it isn’t conflict enough unless you have to beat down “the man.”
  • There are men in the movie.
    • Okay, maybe this comment wasn’t said outright, but still. I get so tired of some feminists being anti-men. Men are essential to life. Literally and figuratively. I would not be the strong woman I am today without the influence of some of the men in my life. Yes, there are some men who are jerk-faces. Guess what? Some women are jerk-faces as well. Get over the man-hate, please. It ruins my love everyone vibe.

Part of my frustration is that this is a movie in which a young girl stands up for herself and solves her problems with a little help. Isn’t this how we want our daughters to behave? Why in the world should this movie aimed at children be expected to change the world for women everywhere? Let them be children for a while. I was allowed to do so and I turned out okay.

10 thoughts on “Merida: A New Princess?

  1. So glad to hear you liked the movie! I can’t wait until it comes to On Demand — theatres are out of the question for Helene, so we have to watch movies at home. That doesn’t pair well with my impatience. So, I can’t fairly respond to your review yet, except to say that I’ve heard many of the comments you describe. I also recall hearing a lot of the same moaning and groaning over Katniss from the Hunger Games, and there was NOTHING about her character that struck me as anti-woman (maybe anti-human, but not gender-specific). Yet, there was still complaining that she was portrayed as “too masculine.” Oh, for Pete’s sake. I don’t even know what it *means* to be a feminist anymore. I’ll just be over here, by this toaster. 🙂

    • Have you guys seen Mirror, Mirror? We watched it yesterday on demand and loved it. Snow White was innocent and lost at the beginning but, by the end, she was a force to be reckoned with. It was fabulous!

      Katniss was a survivor. I love her character in the books. Well, except the 3rd one but that wasn’t because of the character. It was because Suzanne Collins took the series away from a character-driven story into full-on action and politics. Not my favorite for sure.

      Once again, thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment. I love your visits!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review on the movie Brave. I haven’t taken my daughter to go see the movie yet but I did manage to go see Magic Mike this past weekend. I enjoyed that movie very much. On the other hand I did get my daughter the video game of Brave the other day after ordering it on Blockbuster @Home. She has been playing it non-stop the past few days and she is even more amped to go see Brave in theaters. Good thing we don’t have to return the game right away. Maybe after I end my shift at Dish I’ll surprise her and take her.

    • I haven’t seen Magic Mike yet– something that I am disappointed about. I might go on Friday because my mother is taking her for the weekend.

      I would definitely recommend watching it. Between watching that and Mirror, Mirror, she’s starting to get into the fact that girls don’t always have to be rescued. Plus, the story is fabulous!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it!

  3. Man-haters are to feminism what the far-right is to Christianity. They are the extremists, they are loud and proud, and the result is that people who would otherwise embrace the values they claim to espouse become afraid/embarrassed to be seen as one of them.

    We will always, I think, get farther building something than tearing things down. It’s all about where you place your attention and energy.

    My opinion–worth exactly what you paid for it. 😉

  4. Very good post! I love that there is another “Princess” that isn’t waiting for some big-chinned ass-hat to rescue her. Mulan is another. As far as feminism goes…I think the old-school feminism is the worst thing to happen to women. It took away choice. It told women that they are less than if they only want to be mothers. They have to work full time, be a mother and run the entire household (finances included). I think true feminism is about a woman’s right to choose her own roles and her passion for doing whatever that is the best she can…but I’m a man, so I’m obviously wrong here.

    • I haven’t seen Mulan. I’ve tried to avoid any Disney princess movies with my daughter. I will try that one.

      I completely agree with you about the old-timey feminism. It was good because it brought women’s issues into light.The radicalism that followed was something that we could ALL do without.

      Every person, man or woman, should have the right to choose. Maybe I am more of a humanist (If that’s a real thing, I hope that isn’t something bad, like people who build humans or something) than a feminist.

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you visit again.

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