I have seen movies that made me feel lousy, like I didn’t measure up to some impossible standard of beauty, or grace, or humor. I have seen movies that make me long to be pretty, to be elegant, to be a good singer or a talented musician. I have never before seen a movie that made me want to feel powerful. Brave did.
Since I was young, I have loved “girl power” stories. Not the girls like Kim Possible with impossible animated bodies and fancy gadgets, but Matilda and her books, Tamora Pierce’s female knights and mages, Hermione Granger, and, most recently, Katniss Everdeen. But until I saw Brave, I had never sen an animated “princess” movie that made me feel like “strong” was a desirable quality. I grew up with Cinderella and Snow White, with Mulan and her strength and independence tamed in the end by a royal marriage. From the moment Merida reached the top of the Fire Falls, I knew she was a new sort of heroine for Disney.
Recently, I was walking down the street in New York. Taxis passed me. One of them bore an ad for a “Gentleman’s Club,” the heavily made-up face of a blonde woman staring blankly into traffic. The next cab had an image of a certain redheaded young woman, a determined look on her face as she aimed her bow. That first image may indicate we still have work to do, but the second makes me feel hopeful that we can get it done.
Thank you so much for making countless little girls, and this big girl, realize that.
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