E! Popwatch blogger Adam Markovitz set the web ablaze over the weekend with his commentary about Brave, Pixar Animation’s new film for Disney, and the idea that the lead character, princess Merida, could be gay.
Let’s start with the story, Brave centers around Scottish tomboy princess Merida, who spends the entire movie trying to avoid the prearranged marriage that her parents have set up to one of the noblemen in her village. Ok, she doesn’t want to get married. And even if she did, she certainly wouldn’t want her parents choosing her partner. Could go either way…
Next, we have the tomboy factor. Princess Merida can shoot arrows with the precision of Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), she can fight like one of the boys like Maggie Fitzgerald (Million Dollar Baby), she can climb rocks and trees like Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), and she doesn’t really like to dress in frilly, girly clothes like most of the female protagonists before her, a la Gracie Hart (Miss Congeniality). Again, could go either way…
The point is, there are plenty of straight tomboys, and there are plenty of feminine lesbians. You can never tell someone’s sexuality based merely on the factors above.
But, what makes this debate interesting is the idea that maybe, someday, we might see a Pixar or Disney animated film featuring a lesbian princess, one who ranks among the most beloved; Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle.
What is true of Merida is that she is both emotionally and physically stronger than any other princess before her. The others seem to be in search of their “Prince Charming,” where Merida adopts an “I’ll take care of myself mentality,” and basically shuns the idea that she needs a prince in her future.
Is Merida just a product of the changing times and culture, have female characters finally achieved full equality within the Disney animation workshop? Could we ever see a lesbian Disney icon? Not really sure, but it makes for fascinating water cooler discussion. And, we always have Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) from Finding Nemo.