Pixar's 'Brave' Finds a New Kind of Princess

Pixar's 'Brave' Finds a New Kind of Princess

By now, we've all seen at least a trailer for Pixar's new movie "Brave."

Released last week, the film chronicles the adventures of Merida, a headstrong Scottish princess who refuses to conform to the traditional expectations of her world (i.e., acting "ladylike" and getting married).

If the movie sounds like it packs a strong girl-power punch, it should: It's the first movie in Pixar's 17-year history to feature a girl as the lead character. Last week we mentioned how much we liked that "Brave" defies traditional "princessy" gender norms--and now we're taking a closer look.

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It's pretty clear that Pixar's animation team worked to make Merida more Katniss than Cinderella: For starters, she's athletic and active and is constantly running through the woods with a bow and arrow in hand. And forget the flowing blonde locks of Sleeping Beauty--Merida's enormous mane of frizzy red curls are as free-spirited as the girl herself. Add this to a headstrong attitude and a healthy dose of self confidence, and we're a long way from Snow White.

Fighting this free spirit is Merida's mother, who wants nothing more than to have a demure, ladylike daughter. But as The New York Times points out, unlike the Queen in Sleeping Beauty or the stepmother in Cinderella, Merida's mother isn't vain, she's just traditional. She genuinely seems to want the best for her daughter. Even though her idea of "best" is narrow, we're glad that the movie shows a mother/daughter dynamic we can totally relate to.

But the most striking thing about "Brave" is that although it's a modern-day fairy tale, there's not even a whiff of a Prince Charming character. In fact, Merida's whole struggle begins when she refuses to get married. This is a first for Disney: A princess who makes her own decisions, fixes her own mistakes and doesn't need a man to help her save the day.

It's high time Pixar brought a female lead to the scene, and we're excited that she's a character we can get behind. "Brave" is currently topping the box office, so for a great mother/daughter movie night this weekend, we recommend checking it out.

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