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What we're really excited to see is the courageous Princess Merida in Pixar's Brave, who challenges her family and country's customs while wielding a bow and arrow on horseback - now that's a real Disney princess "first."

At first I thought this was someone being sarcastic, then I realized it it was something someone actually said.

Don't get me wrong, at some point I'll most likely be seeing Brave myself, and the idea of an animated Pixar film taking place in ancient Scotland is all kinds of neat, but come on. Even when I saw the trailer the whole, "MERIDA THAT IS NOT LADY-LIKE" had me nearly rolling my eyes. I'm really, really hoping the film isn't going to prop itself up on, "there is a young and feisty girl BUT SHE ISN'T LIKE OTHER GIRLS BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO BE A WARRIOR AND DO THINGS ONLY BOYS DO AND EVERYONE THINKS IT'S WRONG BECAUSE IT'S NOT LADY-LIKE BUT BECAUSE SHE'D RATHER DO WILD THINGS INSTEAD OF LADY THINGS how ground-breaking."

Never mind the fact that:
1) It's not a "first." Not even by a long shot (not even for Disney).
2) This trope has been so utterly beaten to death that we've long since reached and passed this point. I'm not saying girls still don't get "oh ur a girl so thats not 4 you" in real life or that stuff like that doesn't exist, but for every cliched "i am a gurl but i want 2 do boi things and i am different becuz i am rebellious and wild and warrior NOT LIKE THE OTHERS" trope we see in fiction replayed to death I feel like it's losing out to actually making a film about other just-as-prevalent but far-less-used gender issues that still plague females. I saw some people getting defensive and bristly when some pointed this out, but seriously, we've long since hit the "i am girl who wants be warrior feisty feisty feisty NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS DEFY TRADITION FUCK YOU PARENTS" and it would be damn nice to see different issues on the table for an animated flick featuring a female lead.

I'm not attempting to bash Brave, or Merida for that matter (so far she seems fairly promising and I like her design), nor am I trying to dissuade people from seeing it or anything of the sort, but a number of promos, both trailer and text, touting the "she isnt like other girls becuz warrior and bows" is just beating the horse deader than dead.

Edit: Before a million others mention "Mulan," it's not the fact Mulan "did it before" or the question of Mulan's status as a "princess." It's the fact the cliche of "i am a gurl who wants to be warrior like boi" is flaunted as something new and original when it's not. It's the fact we've already seen this trope across more than a few films, games, books, etc. and it's old.
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:iconraygirl4evah:
Raygirl4evah Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012
It's so refreshing to see that someone agrees with me. This isn't Pixar. It's like Disney's just slapping Pixar's name onto THEIR movies.
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:iconrhapsody-shaman:
Rhapsody-Shaman Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
Brave actually looks like it might be worth seeing, but the fact that it's being billed as a "Disney Princess First" is just too much.
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:iconsapphirathemongoose:
SapphiraTheMongoose Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2012
It's funny too because in all the pictures I've seen she has long hair and is wearing a lovely feminine dress. It's not like she's going around looking and acting like a total dike or unfeminine brute or something. In fact, she seems to be the most lady-like one there most of the time.
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:iconsapphirathemongoose:
SapphiraTheMongoose Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2012
Rofl, most (or all) of the guys I know would only want a girl like that if it was legit and not just 'to be different.'
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:iconsapphirathemongoose:
SapphiraTheMongoose Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2012
*exclusively
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:icon0particle:
0particle Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
How come I never get to see THIS [link] trope played anymore?
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:iconfangirl-taxi:
fangirl-taxi Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2012
But... Billy Connolly...! D:
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:iconpastel-dollie:
Pastel-Dollie Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
One of the reasons why I loved Rapunzel of Tangled was that she was extremely girly, loved to daydream and sing, and none of that made her any less capable or strong. She was silly, awkward, cheerful and honest- a fantastic role model for girls who have been told that feminine = weak. Her biggest fault was that she was sheltered and couldn't stand up for herself very well, and this changed when she actually got out into the world and experienced life, all while wearing a lacy purple dress and having flowers decorate her massive golden magic hair.

I really hope Merida's entire character isn't based on "I'm a princess but I HATE PRINCESS STUFF EW DRESSES AND MAKE UP." It is possible to have a "tough tomboy" type of character and not constantly emphasize that anything girly is weak, shallow and IF YOU WANT TO BE A REAL GIRL, DO BOY THINGS. Rather, she is the type of person who feels her country's customs are wrong and seeks to change them, and the conflict (or idea of being brave) is standing up for what you believe in, even if you're alone.
Also, I really, really like her hair. Her entire appearance, actually.
I feel like this entire movie will be extremely aesthetically pleasing.
Pixar animating ancient Scottish highlands? YES. PLEASE.
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:icongalobster:
GALOBster Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Someone said something similar once. "If having a lady who becomes definitely un-lady-like your idea of feminism, you are sadly behind the times." (or something along those lines)
I always hate these tropes, what's particularly annoying is when the female characters become annoying because they act like this.
Hope the Pixar movie doesn't turn out like this. |:
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:iconprocon-8:
procon-8 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Mulan can get away with it because that's literally what the story was about anyway. Only difference was that she was only disvovered after she was killed in battle. Don't know why people are trying to use a story that's specifically about that to back up Brave.
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:iconcxisbest:
cxisbest Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I just wish there was a feminine boy in a Disney movie that was portrayed positively, for once. The whole "tomboy" trope is ridiculous.
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:iconmileniakitsuvee:
MileniaKitsuvee Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey guys, let's not forget about Pocahontas! She also went against her society's traditions/customs. But I do love Mulan too, one of my fav Disney movies.

I still will go see Brave though since it's Pixar and they have managed to pull through 9/10 times. I'm looking at you Cars. But I'm hoping there's more to the movie then the whole "Im a gurl warrior" thing that the trailers seem to only focus on.
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:iconwikidreamer:
WikiDreamer Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
*facepalm* way to ruin my enthusiasm for this film.

Mind you I do agree, and moreover, why is it ALWAYS A FUCKING GINGER!?!? Nothing against them mind you *still thinks Rupert Grint is hawt* but when it comes to girls being tomboys, feisty, and/or "against the norm" it's almost always some kind of redhead or ginger. Seriously, outside of anime (or hell even IN anime in some cases) when it comes to American culture, it's always the red head who thinks differently or is rambunctious or something else to that liking. This whole trend needs to stop. Yes, I understand she's Scottish, but I swear Disney used that as a fucking plot device just so they could get away with making her ginger.

I will say this for Disney: While she'll never be the first Disney princess/female lead (for the sake of the Mulan argument) to go the whole "non girly" or "anti-lady like" route, I will say she's probably the chubbiest. She's not FAT or anything but it shows in her face that she's not exactly your standard Disney princess physically. Mind you, Pixar IS behind this, and their current record is 11 and 1 (Cars 2 being the ONLY Pixar film to not be nominated for ANYTHING Oscars wise) so I will give it the benefit of the doubt. I do want to see how "non-traditional" they can possibly make a traditional and overall stereotypical story.
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2012
Lol, I didn't mean to.

I've seen a number of people surprised that a ginger girl is getting the spotlight, but at the same time I'd have to agree. It -is- a recurring trope more often than not, that the ginger kid with the quirks has this "fiery personality to match their hair."

I saw some people commenting on the pear-shapedness of Merida's body, so that at least has to be a start for something. Plus, unlike the usual head of straight-and-shiny princess hair she's got a big-ol' head fulla frizz.
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:iconwikidreamer:
WikiDreamer Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2012
Heh, closest thing to an afro you'll EVER see on a Disney princess...and that's pretty f'ed up considering Tiana.
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:iconkichirain:
KichiRain Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
Why do we so rarely see the opposite...?
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:iconomega23:
Omega23 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
LIKED THAT SHIT BETTER WHEN IT WAS CALLED QUEST FOR CAMELOT /Hipster

But seriously, I watched the trailer and I seriously wanna see it now. I really liked the line where she's talking to her mother(?) and says, "I want my freedom," and her mother(?) says, "But are you willing to pay the price your freedom will cost?" Way to step up the message, Disney.
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:iconclaudekwinchester:
ClaudeKWinchester Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'd have to say it might not be a FIRST, but it would definitely (I think) be a first for PIXAR... Yes? ^^;
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
Maybe a first for them to start repeating everyone else.
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:iconclaudekwinchester:
ClaudeKWinchester Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
*nod* True...
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:iconboofeh:
Boofeh Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I want to see a Disney boy dress up and play tea-parties BECAUSE CUM ON DAT IS NOT MANLY!!!11!
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:iconanilovexiii:
aniloveXIII Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
Sooo old; we get it. Women can be tough too, okay. Geez... But anyway, the movie looks epic, and it's Pixar. Haha, I love how you "spell" when you're copying people xD
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:iconsnortinghat:
SnortingHat Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
yeah its pretty ridiculous, but thats the popular thing nowadays; just like the girly girl thing (concept which it challenges) was the norm quite a few decades ago.
all disney princesses are definiton formulaic. lmao u'll never a princess who recovered from alcoholism or learns something that makes her grow as a person from her failed adventure as a stripper.
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
although you'd be hard-pressed to find a Disney or kid's film that covers alcoholism or strippers.
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:iconcanookian:
Canookian Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Heh, like females that play Call of Duty but nothing else.
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
I played COD for a full hour last now BOY AM I EXHAUSTED.
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:iconcanookian:
Canookian Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
SOOOOAAAAP!!
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:iconmortysir:
Mortysir Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
Yeah I wouldn't mind seeing this flick, I just hope the character has a premise beyong being A GIRL THAT FIGHTS. Cause yeah this trope was dead before I was born. XD Every time a female character fills an ass-kicking role it's like they have to plant a big hollywood sign saying LOOK GUYS THIS FEMALE IS DOING UNFEMININE THINGS SHE'S SUCH A TOMBOY ahaha </rant>
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:iconmarcodelmarco:
MarcoDelMarco Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
And lord forbid they make a movie about a prince challenging established male gender roles.
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:iconbatsy-fey:
Batsy-Fey Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012   General Artist
*after reading this entry and the comments that follow* Oh geez, here comes yet another film whose merchandise I'll be needing to dodge every time I go shopping.:roll:

Yeah, being on the feminine side, I can't help but take a little offense to the message portraying tomboys as somehow 'better' than feminine girls. Masculinity doesn't necessarily always equal 'good'. The fact that I grew up with a strongly tomboyish sister who still gets on my nerves to this day further reinforces that feeling.

Not to sound like I'm throwing my dirty laundry at you though. lol

..And yes, you're absolutely right. The concept is so no longer a 'new' one at this point. Come to think of it, not much is in this day in age regarding the media world.
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:iconhistoriography:
historiography Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
i think it's more about the marketing. you can't market merida as a princess with a strong, unique personality, but she happens to like to shoot arrows. i definitely had the same fears when i saw the trailer - it looks like she doesn't want to get married and would rather fight/do masculine things instead, and inspire girls to do what they want as well. it'll probably be more complex than that, though.

for the sake of a minutes-long trailer, it has to be simplified to "omg look feminism feminist princess she's so strong-willed and feminist and she does whatever she wants".

but it's pixar, and they've never just been about putting tropes together and being anvilicious and calling it a movie, and it won't be that way with brave, either (i hope).
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:icontellala:
Tellala Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012   Digital Artist
Oh boy. This trope is okay as long as they don't scream it constantly in the movie/game/whatever. It's the extreme overplaying of it that makes us so annoyed. It almost seems as if in order for a girl in the media to be liked, she has to act like a boy.

But yeah, this is far from a first, as you said. I was seeing this when I was six and by the time I was eight I was tired of it.
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:icongreysidewinder:
GreySidewinder Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
You know, it would be nice if movie-makers realized that we, as an audience, are not that bitter about clichés. They CAN be done correctly. It's just that when someone goes and calls a cliché something new and fresh is the moment when things start going bad.
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
Pretty much this. I love a good cliche ever now and then (mad scientists, spooky haunted houses on hills, gun fights, etc.) but at some point someone's gotta realize what can and cannot pass as novel after being done around six million times.
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:iconsteppingskyward:
steppingskyward Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*in agreement*
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:icongeeke-the-freak:
Geeke-the-Freak Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
I don't really have anything new to add to the discussion, but I just wanted to say I always love reading your journals. To me, they're always really insightful. They get me thinking about things, especially things in fiction. In fact, I would definitely go as far as saying reading your journals have helped me improve my own writing in some ways (at the least they make me think a lot harder before I write something, lol).

I guess to keep this comment on track though, I would actually like to see a movie that's message is about trying to break down the gender roles for both males and females, and showing that it's okay to do both feminine and masculine things as either gender. Not a dumb comedy that makes fun of the dude that's secretly into cross dressing or the lesbian who happens to be really butch, but something that shows how much it sucks that they live in a society where that sort of thing is fair game to make fun of (okay that wasn't actually much more on topic but at least it sort of touched on the point a little).
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2012
Fuq, it's really cool to hear something like that. I am glad my ramblings could be of some service in some fashion. :>

I've seen a few "boy wants to do feminine things but family does not want" around before (Billy Elliot comes to mind first), but yeah, it'd be neat to see a film that covers a bit more beyond the surface of what we've seen so many times in the past.
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:iconka-ness:
Ka-ness Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Student Filmographer
I liked Mulan because she was more of a "finding myself" person than gurl powah by doing masculine activities, and the fact that her journey was instigated by "I need to help my injured father and protect my family honor" rather than "all these standards be bringing me down, I'll show them". Which Brave is sort of sounding like the latter at the moment. RANT OVER
But yeah they need to find something new to do with girls. Tiana was cool, she was just a normal girl doing her thing. Why does everything have to be about girls proving themselves to masculine society? I never saw Tangled and while it looks pretty, I have to say themes like this are kind of bringing me away from watching it. The movie seems interesting enough though, and Disney manages to pull through for the most part, so I won't judge just yet.
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
I was psyched to see Tangled, but I thought it was sort of overrated once I actually did see it (don't really want to spoil it though). But I guess it's really up to the viewer so idk. A lot of people loved it, some thought it wasn't that great for a 50th anniversary feature. It depends, I guess.

Now that you mention it, what I like about Mulan is how the film puts more emphasis on her surviving and learning to fight and be a soldier and her duty and love for family and country as opposed to reminding us every five seconds that "I AM A GURL AND I DO MAN WARRIOR THINGS GIRLS CAN BE STRONG TOO" while still touching on her gender here and there and why she had to conceal it.
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:iconka-ness:
Ka-ness Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Student Filmographer
I wouldn't be surprised if Tangled doesn't impress me. Girl power, romance, generic European setting...nothing too special.
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
Actually, with Tangled it didn't really strike me as a "girl power" film so much as it seemed like they spent most of the film just running about willy nilly. Lush visuals, though.
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:iconka-ness:
Ka-ness Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Student Filmographer
It doesn't seem to be the most original, but it still looks like a fun film which isn't too bad. The visuals do look great.
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:iconzeartist:
Zeartist Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You know, I'm reminded of Mulan. Remember teh poster to that film? All red and black, she's on her horse and both are looking bad ass. I thought she was going to be this Chinese warrior riding into battle chopping off heads! lol That's the impression I got. The movie though was QUITE different. Interesting, sure but I thought it would have been cooler with my idea. lol
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:iconmacushla:
Macushla Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Without reiterating too much what you've said, I'm hoping it's just the advertising as well haha. It's nice to have that strong female lead, but I really hope they don't go down that special flower path and make her and the movie super annoying to watch. I really do love her design as well though, that hair from what I've seen so far is gorgeous!

The only thing that bugged me a little bit was the slow motion scene where the feather on the arrow cut her cheek as she released it. I've had plastic fletches (both feathers and veins) run and scratch across my cheek, but I nor anyone I know has gotten a cut on the cheek from it! And seeing as that's an actual feather instead of plastic, that teeny tiny detail bugged me haha.
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
It takes some props to make her hair all bouncy and crazy like that and I hear special work went into it, but technology has come a long way.

I saw someone make some GIFs of that arrow scratch on tumblr that zoomed in on her face. I wasn't sure, so I was like, "did she scratch her face with a feather tip or....?" That was odd to me as well lol.
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:iconmadamepika:
madamepika Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Why can't they just make interesting characters whether they're male or female, surely that's the main thing?

I hate that more feminists haven't caught on to this yet. These boring 'tomboys' are making the real 'tomboy' characters look bad.
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
I hate that more feminists haven't caught on to this yet. These boring 'tomboys' are making the real 'tomboy' characters look bad.

I'm not sure what you mean by "real tomboys."
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:iconmadamepika:
madamepika Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, that wasn't the best comment. I guess I meant that people are judging all 'tomboyish' characters to be bland or soon will do. The thing is that 'real tomboys' aren't like the ones on TV. They don't exist just so the producer can't be called sexist. Being a 'tomboy' is just one element of their personality never mind how much of a maculine person they are. Hence it's all the more annoying that some 'feminists' are considering a female character good the second she has 'tomboy' traits... and definatly that (actually are these guy mysogists in desguise) they are claiming 'first's still. Especually since this trope goes before Pixar and Disney.

tr:dl I agree with your blog.
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:iconshadowyin-yang:
ShadowYin-Yang Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
Now I want your opinion...

Do you think that because the idea of this is beaten to death and old that it's "not working" and people are not starting to reject it?

Or that it IS working and that's why the idea is still being used?

I say "not working" because there's still very obvious sexism and stereotypes in all ages that I honestly don't see signs of improvement. Then there are boys of all ages that still do not understand how to treat girls like people, instead, still treating them like "girls."
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:iconin-the-machine:
In-The-Machine Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012
In all honesty, guys get more shit for doing "female" things than a female would for liking or doing "male" things.

It's not a matter of "working" or "not working" so much as what I said to some other commenters where I think it's a matter of advertising and the fact they want to stick to a formula that has sold in the past while being under the illusion of being "progressive" or "new" about it when they're actually just doing the same thing.

I'm not saying sexism has vanished, but some of the marketing for the film itself seems more borderline than anything else. Ex. "Merida isn't like other girls because she likes to ride horses and shoot bows" putting emphasis on the fact she's a special snowflake for doing it when we've already seen female characters in fiction like this over and over. All they're doing is focusing on something that doesn't have as much stigma as it once did, when in reality there are -so- many other gender issues that don't get nearly as much attention.
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