August 5, 2012
Is Pixar’s ‘Brave’ heroine a lesbian?
There’s been a bit of debate around the world wide web over whether or not feisty, independent Merida from Pixar’s Brave is gay. So, we’ve decided to settle it in the least scientific way possible. First up, in the er, not gay corner, Carrie Lyell and in the gay corner, Maria Burnham. Let’s keep it clean, ladies. Ding ding, fight!
Lesbian? No. Feminist? Maybe. Fairytale? Definitely not.
Merida and I have got a lot in common. Curly hair? Check. A wee bit ginger? Well, I’m strawberry blonde but I’ll give you that. Scottish? Och aye. Brave? My friends always say I’m probably the bravest person they know, struggling through this quagmire of life, unflinching and determined.
Go on. Ask them. What’s Carrie like? When did you realise she was gay? Oh, they’ll say, it was definitely that time she saw a mouse in the kitchen and didn’t eat for five days because she was so terrified that it might claw her eyes out if she crept back in for a piece of toast. But then, it could have been the time after her flat was broken into that she slept with the light on for a year just incase. Saying that, every time she’s got a cold she’s absolutely pathetic, not to mention how much she cried watching The Notebook. Merida must be a raging homo. It’s obvious.
Hold up. These are not the hallmarks of a brave warrior at all. Actually, I’m the complete opposite. This is a revelation. Traits like being brave or strong or weak or submissive actually have nothing at all to do with sexuality or gender and are just cheap, restrictive stereotypes? This is brand new news to me!
I’ll admit, I was getting a little tired with the Cinderellas and Jasmines that Disney’s been trotting out. They were kind of hot, if you like that sort of thing, but Merida is a breath of fresh air. The Rebekah Brooks resemblance puts me off a bit, but nevertheless, she has the makings of a new feminist icon.
If Merida is gay, bisexual, or trans, I wish her all the best, but we’re not doing her or ourselves any favours by imposing such a narrow mindset. I would have hoped in the however-many-years since I was rejecting the dolls and dresses thrust in my direction we would have moved on a bit. Boys can do ballet (thanks Billy Elliot) and play with dolls and girls can climb trees and wear blue and it has absolutely no impact on who they’re going to be attracted to later in life. For all the tomboys who grow up and discover that they are LB or T, there are probably an equal number that find a nice young man and put all that tree climbing behind them.
Adam Markovitz is right about one thing. It doesn’t matter if Merida is gay or not. What does matter is this attitude that as women, we are supposed to be demure, obedient and submissive. Any rejection of that and the lesbian accusations start flying. Doesn’t sound like much of a fairytale to me.
A lesbian princess? Thank you, Pixar!
Finally, Pixar has gifted the LGBT community with something that’s been a long time coming, a lesbian princess! Merida, the fiery Scottish heroine of Pixar’s new movie Brave, is everything a young tomboy could want in a cartoon role model. Let’s get serious, she’s everything this former tomboy, now open bisexual, could want in a cartoon icon.
The truth is, Pixar is not endorsing this whole ‘Merida is an undercover lesbian trying to subtly promote gay-friendly propaganda’ thing that is floating around the Internet. The real truth is, she is a very young teenager who is grappling with the realities of growing up, balancing the fine line of childhood and inevitable adulthood, and perhaps is just not ready to embrace sexuality as a whole, whether it be hetero or homo, or any other prefixes that may apply.
So let’s not read too deeply into it and rather accept that it is awesome to have a princess who doesn’t swoon at the mere glance of a boy, or who doesn’t have to tame a literal beast of a man, or one who isn’t bound by a ‘kissing pact’. Let’s cheer Pixar on for creating a sweet and lovely movie that portrays two strong woman (for the mother is a powerful rock) and shies away from the standard gloved and poised princess.
Instead, Merida is a princess that has zero desire to marry a prince, and is thoroughly disgusted by every princely bachelor thrusted her way. She is a skilled sportswoman, trumping everyone with her seriously insane archery skills and horseback riding. It’s quite thrilling watching her unruly crimson hair whipping behind her as she races through the forest on her trusty horse. She is not adept at the traditional (read:stereotypical) female skills such as cooking, knitting, teaching, or babysitting. But throw her out in the wild and she can catch and fry up a fish like nobody’s business, climb the tallest rocky pillar, and ward off a wild animal.
She seems more comfortable tooling around with her dad than learning from her mom, especially when her mom binds her in a courtly gown and attempts to subdue her untamed tresses. I’m reminded of my own mother swiping mascara on my young, watery eyes whilst I complained loudly. When she receives her very own bow as a present, she is overjoyed at such a handy and exciting new piece of equipment, and she quickly masters it. As she zips around the castle courtyard it is unsurprising that she is mistaken for a boy, since most expect young girls to behave more ‘ladylike‘.
Despite knowing she will upset her family by refusing to fulfill the familial expectations, Merida follows her dream of changing her fate to become her own woman, not a princess locked down to a prince. Who is Pixar kidding? This girl is a lesbian!
I think it’s fair to say that here at Lesbilicious, we’re still a little divided on this one. What do you think? Lesbian princess or a tired stereotype? Place your vote now!
Pixar’s Brave is released UK wide on 13th August.
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