Thursday, June 28, 2012

Make your own damn sandwich...

I went to see Brave last week and had a roaring good time. From the opening scene and music, to my first view of Merida, all the way through the fabulous, funny, and poignant story, to wonderful and fit ending, I was smiling. Well written, well told, tight and meaningful, Disney has once again made magic.

Photo by JeraSue via Flickr
And Merida is a character women everywhere can, and frankly ought to, embrace. She's her own girl. She's not a pawn to be handed over in marriage for political gain or appeasement. She needn't get married at all. She has no time for the formalities and lessons of being the pigeonholed "princess" which means all the things you might think it means: no fighting, no rough-housing, no shooting, no riding hard and fast on your horse, no running, no jumping.

Merida won't be forced into a role she doesn't want, namely the role of a dutiful, dainty, obeisant woman who marries and tends house and children. She wants to be outside. She wants to shoot arrows and climb mountains.

So what? Well, so, according to Adam Markovitz, at Entertainment Weekly, all these things mean Merida could be gay. Because she "bristles at the traditional gender roles that she’s expected to play," she could be gay. Because "she hates the prospect of marriage" so much she runs away from home and seeks a spell to change her mother, she might be gay. Because "she's not a swooning, boy-crazy Disney princess like The Little Mermaid’s Ariel or Snow White," she might want to sleep with girls.

So, let's all get this straight.

First, as we all know, any woman who is hard and firm and tells it like it is and takes no crap from men, is a bitch.

And now, any girl who doesn't constantly obsess over boys and wants to climb mountains is gay.

Thank you Adam Markovitz for this new way women can't be whoever they damn well please without fitting into some you're-not-acting-the-way-we-like man box.

Yes, gay girls need role models, and maybe Merida could be one. But all girls, ever more clearly now, need role models like Merida.

We don't have to be what men want us to be anymore. We can fight, be expert markswomen, climb mountains, shun marriage, be brave, and live our lives with adventure and passion and still just be girls.

We don't have to be bitches, or man haters, or frigid, or gay, or any other way men might want to portray us because we don't act like the most important thing in our lives is to find one, have sex with it, marry it, have its children, and make its damn sandwiches.

Maybe it's time men made their own damn sandwiches.

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