We haven’t talked about it much, but “Brave” is actually a really good movie, if a bit bizarre coming from Pixar. It’s very much a fairy tale, but with a lot of the Disney tropes stripped out. Both parents are alive, present, and loving. Until the second act, it’s really a family drama about a teenager rubbing up against the bonds of what’s expected to her versus what she actually wants.
Then, of course, the fantasy aspects kick in.
It’s a good movie, but the high-minded critics of the day happen to notice that Pride was happening and so all of the discussion has been about whether or not we have our first lesbian Disney princess, and how it’s important that she “could be” a lesbian.
Not so much. Here are five reasons why the whole argument is asinine.
It Misses the Point of the Story
Arguing over whether Merida “could be” a lesbian or not misses pretty much the entire point of the movie: that adults are unable to, and shouldn’t try to, force their children into a role. Instead, they need to let them find their own place in the world and define themselves.
A message of tolerance and acceptance? Absolutely. Applicable to sexuality? Absolutely. But the message is a bit broader than that, and the fact that large groups of adults immediately start arguing over what box to shove her into is a facepalm moment of epic proportions.
The Movie Is As Much About Her Mother As Merida
The overwhelming point of the movie is not that Merida likes boy things, it’s that she’s not her mother, and both mother and daughter are letting their differences in personality get in the way of actually talking and working out their problems. There’s a great scene in the movie that intercuts the two of them actually having an adult conversation and concluding at the end it would never happen.
Later on, there’s a scene played for comedy about Merida being stuffed into a dress that underscores the point: her mother is literally unable to see how Merida can’t fit.
Not All Athletic Women Are Lesbians, People
Apparently the compelling argument that this movie has a lesbian subtext (and I notice no openly gay film critics have made this argument) is that Merida, our heroine, likes archery and climbing rocks. Her dislikes include arranged marriages and uncomfortable dresses.
Are you kidding me? Really? Really?!