Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Princess Parade: Merida's Turn

So by now you've probably seen that I've gone a little haywire on these Disney posts but we're halfway there, don't quit on me now! Once again, the original picture for reference:

Snow White
(Ariel's face is still my favorite, anyone else reminded of Mother's "lip thing" from The Swan Princess?)

I've seen quite a few of these kinds of posts crediting Elsa with being the first level-headed Disney heroine not driven by her desire for a man.

Sorry for the language.
Okay, yes they've finally written in that particular sentence for a character to say OUT LOUD but really, have we not been paying attention at all??

Merida maybe? The ONE Disney princess movie that features a solo female lead. All the other male characters are just background noise, plot devices, barely even there. Merida obviously is not interested in a relationship and they don't even cross the threshold of romance but to introduce the conflict of arranged marriages. She's a fiery, passionate young lady led by the most admirable of dreams; to really, really live.
"Only the bravest warriors drink from the Firefalls!"
And now Merida.
"Princesses shouldn't have weapons."
Except Merida because she's an archery BOSS.
She is unapologetically herself. Which could be construed as a poor example to kids. "Do everything your parents tell you not to do, but it's okay because beee yourself."

But at the same time she teaches to question everything. Find out why you're being required to act a certain why. Educate yourself on your own life. It's your life!
Not to mention, she isn't justly rewarded for openly rebelling. She gets into all kinds of messes because she doesn't listen to her mom. What better lesson is that? Don't do what your mom tells you to and an evil, mystic, bear-with-a-grudge will come after you. She has to learn that there are consequences for her actions, just as we all have to learn that lesson. Usually the hard way.
And nowhere along the way does a man-boy come along and save her, help her, woo her, or distract her. It completely breaks the Disney formula!
Not to mention! Can we just appreciate how unique her look is?

She's flawed. She doesn't have model-esque features, she's just wonderfully unique. It's easy to see similarities between the other Disney Princesses and some even look related (Rapunzel, Anna, and Elsa much?) but Merida easily stands out.
Severely underrated Princess here.

Time Tally: Uh, not applicable.
Benefit of the Doubt: I'm still shipping Merida and Hiccup.

Although, I suppose it's unfair to use Merida as an example against the claim that Elsa is the first to really introduce the idea that "you can't marry a man you just met" because, as I pointed out, men aren't exactly featured as interacting directly with Merida.

So how about Pocahontas then?
To be continued!

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