Monday, July 2, 2012

Conforming to Traditional Gender roles is Bunk

Otherwise known as my thoughts on the new Pixar movie, Brave.  I've been wanting to see this movie for several months and then the posts on Merida possibly being gay came out.  I read the first review speculating that Merida may be gay and was quite taken aback.  Not because a female character in a children's movie might be gay, but because a strong young woman was being labeled as something other than a strong young woman who didn't follow the traditional gender roles of her time.  Another article regarding Merida came out about two days afterward and you can read that here.  By now I'm really dying to go and see Brave for myself because I'm just so very curious to see what actually happens in the movie.  We saw it this afternoon, and if all anyone gets out of it when they see it is that Merida might possibly be gay then they weren't paying attention.

First to address this issue of Merida being gay.  Are all female athletes now to be considered gay?  Merida is a very headstrong young woman who knows what she likes and what she likes is to practice her bow and arrow.  She enjoys practicing with her short sword.  Merida is a young woman who is growing up in a warrior culture.  I'm not entirely sure what time period Brave is supposed to take place in, but I do know that for several hundred years Scottish women were taught to fight.  Because Merida is a princess instead of a commoner she is expected to marry and keep the peace of the covenant of the four tribes.  So what does that tell me?  It tells me that it sucks that Merida was born to a chieftain and has been raised since she entered young adulthood to become a pawn in political games.  

Now, on to the fun stuff.   When I walked out of the theater practically dancing from the gorgeous soundtrack of Brave, the very first thought I had was this movie was about Trans-formative Relationships.  What the heck does that mean?  Well it means that all healthy relationships change....if they don't change at some point or another they become static and that tends to be a bad thing.  The main relationship in the film was between Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor.  I genuinely adored the way their relationship was shown from when Merida was a tiny thing, from the rift caused by the political games being played, and on to the gorgeous relationship mother and daughter developed in the wilderness.  The movie was about finding yourself (your true self) when everything around you was changing.  It was about growing as a person and really listening to the people you love.  It was about sacrifice and above all, the absolute bravery it takes to truly love someone to your fullest.  And it was about standing up for what you believe in no matter what.  This is such a hard thing to do when your life is no longer just yours (as was the case with Merida's marriage prospects) but if there is trust and love in your primary relationship (as there was with Merida and Elinor) it becomes possible to be true to yourself.

I would love to walk into the theater and see that movie again, and I just may take my daughter for the second time around.  She and I will be having our own trans-formative relationship in the next few years ;-)