When the Attack on Women Gets Animated
I wasn’t going to blog tonight. I’m tired. I’ve been fighting a headache. I have a couple of more involved posts percolating in my mind – not yet ready to share. Then in a conversation with my friend Cathy, she asked if I had read some of the recent media speculating that Merida – the heroine from the new Pixar/Disney film Brave – is gay. Merida – my newfound hero that I wrote about here and again here. You have got to freaking be kidding me, right? So I hit Google. This is what I found:
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). ~ Entertainment Weekly
So let me get this straight. If you don’t live by traditional gender roles (the “demure” daughter, the “obedient” fiancée), if you are tomboyish and like physically challenging activities, if you claim your personal uniqueness (“not like all the other kids”), if you don’t want to marry a complete stranger (who for many reasons, not just physical ones, is not appealing to you), and if you’ve ever had a fight with your mother that’s made you mad enough to say and do things you later regretted, then you must be gay. Right. Folks, if that is how you determine if a person is gay, then I would qualify. But it’s not, and I’m not.
In case you haven’t noticed, women in America are under attack. Let me rephrase that. Strong, independent women in America – straight or gay, rich or poor, well-educated or not – are under attack. If a woman speaks out in protest to an all male panel on birth control, then she is an oversexed whore. And apparently, if you are an independent young woman who doesn’t swoon at the prospect of rushing into marriage – even if you are an animated character – then you are gay. (I hate to break it to you guys, but you aren’t all swoon-worthy!) This is an insult to all women, regardless of their personal persuasion – political, sexual, or other. In virtually every instance I can think of in recent months, when a woman has dared to stand strong, use her voice, and express her conviction in the public square, she has been attacked, belittled, called names, given labels, and told to go back to the kitchen (or bedroom) where she belongs.
Thank God, these attacks don’t seem to be working. Instead of intimidating all women into shutting their mouths and staying in “their places,” it is galvanizing women to stand even more strongly together. And those waging war are getting more and more desperate. I mean, come on! They’re threatened by a cartoon character?!
No. They are threatened by the Merida in us all. And to that I say: You go, Girls!