• Mon, Jun 25 2012

Dear Entertainment Weekly: Not Wanting To Get Married Doesn’t Make Merida From Brave A Lesbian

The Internet rarely makes me angry. I feel like I’ve seen it all by now. Insane racism, extreme homophobia, rampant ignorance, misspelled death threats. Nothing shocks me.  Seriously, NSFW might as well mean LOL here at the Crushable offices. They’re both archaic notions that have no relevance in my life. So that’s why when something I read online does actually manage to piss me off, I feel compelled to write a response. Using only emoticons. But apparently people don’t read emoti-rants and therefore, all my efforts to express myself via various frustrated/angry/confused yellow faces would be a waste. So I must type out my feelings using words.

Here goes.

This weekend Entertainment Weekly, a publication/website I usually respect, wrote an article titled, “Could the Heroine of Pixar’s Brave be Gay?” In honor of pride weekend. When I saw the title, I hesitantly clicked on it. Maybe, I thought, just maybe I’m about to read a wonderfully satircial essay about lesbian stereotypes and the overanalysis of childrens’ films. But no. Instead of breaking any new ground, it just retread on tired cliches about lesbian behavior.

Adam Markowitz kicks off his essay by asserting that Merida’s not an “overtly lesbian character” and Pixar did not promote her as one. And then goes on to write the most ridiculous review of Brave that you’ll read anywhere on the internet.

But could Merida be gay? Absolutely. She bristles at the traditional gender roles that she’s expected to play: the demure daughter, the obedient fiancée. Her love of unprincess-like hobbies, including archery and rock-climbing, is sure to strike a chord with gay viewers who felt similarly “not like the other kids” growing up. And she hates the prospect of marriage — at least, to any of the three oafish clansmen that compete for her hand — enough to run away from home and put her own mother’s life at risk. She’s certainly not a swooning, boy-crazy Disney princess like The Little Mermaid’s Ariel or Snow White. In fact, Merida may be the first in that group to be completely romantically disinclined (even cross-dressing Mulan had a soft spot for Li Shang).

So let’s go over this. Because Merida doesn’t want to participate in her arranged marriage and because she like sports, she’s a lesbian. Parents all over the country with teenage daughters who don’t want to get married because it interferes with their high school sports practice schedule should just join PFLAG right now. Their daughters are all gay. It’s a shame right.  Unless, and this is a big unless, unless their daugthers are openly swooning over boys and carving their names into their arms. Then there might be hope. Otherwise, gay, gay, gay, gay gay.

Katniss Everdeen levels of lesbianity. Oh she’s a lesbian too according to this criteria. Think about it. Archery, an aversion to kissing a boy for the sake of others’ happiness, ARCHERY!!!

Of course Adam’s not trying to be offensive. He thinks that this might actually be a wonderful secret message for all LGBT kids who feel a little different. After all, they’ll identify with the girl who’s “not like the other kids” growing up. Unless they’re LGBT youth who don’t fall neatly into preconceived notions about what gay boys and lesbian girls do. Then they’ll just be like, ” I thought I was a lesbian. Until I noticed all the girly clothing I wear. And now I’m thinking I might be straight.”

While I would gladly cheer on a children’s film that nonchalantly celebrates an openly gay character, Merida’s not a lesbian. Not even a hidden lesbian with a secret Pixar pride weekend agenda. She’s an independent female protagonist who wants people to see her an individual with her own wishes, hopes, dreams, thoughts and aspirations. But clearly, Adam Markowitz, missed that entire lesson. Which is understandable when you’re watching a children’s film with the goal of outing an animated character.

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  • KWalsh

    Ugh… thank you. I read that article this morning and was horrified. I was glad to read the comments and see the majority felt the same. All your points are spot on. The article just shows that we as women still have years to go before gender role stereotypes are eliminated. So frustrating.

    The best part was people in the comments call for the article to be taken down.

    • Jenni Maier

      That’s the only good thing to come out of this ridic article. The fact that almost everyone called him out on it. So it’s progress, right?

  • LaLa

    By this logic Portia DeRossi is the straightest girl ever.

  • lala

    By this logic Portia De Rossi is the straightest person ever.

  • A.J.

    That article was absolutely ridiculous, and I’m glad that people called them on it. Unfortunately, this reveals a lot about how far we have to go as a society. Just because a child is different from the other kids, or because someone shows no interest in romance or marriage, does not make them gay. (sigh).

  • Ness

    I think the writer of that article neglected to notice the moment when one of the suitors was hidden behind the buff battle scarred guy. Merida didn’t seem too put off by him.

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  • Mikayla Dowell

    My god… I’ve been looking forward to see brave for awhile but THEN i had to hear about this shit on tumblr. You know how absolutely idiotic this is!? I mean not only is that guy sounding a bit sexist on his interpretation of the ‘right kind of woman’, but once again I feel like non-girly, women who just want to do what they want are being degraded ONCE AGAIN. Women don’t have to be in a forced marriage and sport to be lesbian, numnuts. God. At least people are yelling at the guy. I hope he deletes his article and changes his name.

  • RedHead

    I love archery, don’t want to get married yet and have short red hair. Guess I’d better dump my boyfriend.

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