Sunday, May 12, 2013

More on pink and princesses

If you have read my blog a bit, you know how I feel about hyperfeminisation, particularly when it happens to little girls. The big Lego-debate can stand in for every time I have said: Feminine is OK, but give the poor girls more than one option!

So, imagine my interest when Merida, from Brave, has become a Disney Princess. She is already part of the Disney brand, as Brave is a coproduction between Disney and Pixar. Merida is the ultimate tomboy, the girl who resists with everything she has when her mother tries to make her a copy of herself. In the fight for power between the two women, their real love for each other is revealed, and turned into mutual respect. The story is grand, funny, beautiful and contains some of the best descriptions of feminine strength that I have seen targeted at children - both female dignity, motherly love, and strong-willed passion and dedication. Loving Merida and her mother doesn't mean loving men, it means loving the strength of women. And so taking her into a Disney universe where femininity so far means such things as sleeping until the Prince wakes you up, finding love together with the right shoe or giving up your voice for love was a bold and interesting move.

However not everybody likes the make-over she had to go through in order to fit in. Not that Merida ever wanted to fit in. That was what the whole film was about, Disney! Don't take away her bow and arrow!!!

The scariest readings are the comment fields, though. It looks like asking that one princess out of eleven remains a normal teen-ager and not a hypersexualised wet dream is a frontal attack on femininity and masculinity, simultaneously. That aggression just underlines the desperate need for more Meridas, girls willing to fight for the right to not conform to restrictive norms. You go, Merida. As for me, I aim to become a skinwalker, to show off how my inner bear wakes up when somebody threaten the freedom and safety of my kids.

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