As one who used to hunt nuclear attack submarines as a younger man, this may seem to be a strange admission: I really liked Disney’s movie Brave. And not because I have a fetish for fiery redheads.
Maybe. Some things are classified for a good reason.
Anyhow, I’ve come to suspect that Disney is particularly careful in considering the themes of its movies. Almost to the point of positive social messaging, perhaps. Doesn’t the main character’s name in Brave – Merida – sound more than a bit like ‘Merica (i.e., America)?
And so, at the risk of scorn, let’s consider Brave from the perspective of being a subtle message to the women of America, and by extension other women.
The men in Brave are a collection of buffoons, twits, and nincompoops. This comic but mildly negative portrayal of men is just what McGill University academics Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young were writing about in their book Spreading Misandry (hatred of men). But it does juxtapose brilliantly with Merida.
I used “juxtapose” to seem as if I’m really smart and educated. Don’t believe everything you’re told.
Merida is the fiery sorta-Scottish small town princess who out-guys the young guys in all the guy stuff: galloping horses, archery, and the like. If feminists had masculine sexual apparatuses, they’d be standing at full attention at the very thought of this, and it’s not hard to understand why.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
But a witch, an evil bear, and one traditional mother later, and Merida comes to realize that she’s been selfish. In trying to be a better man than the men, she abandoned the essential contribution women make to society. A contribution which is essential in regulating the masculine half, amongst other things.
Where would we be without you?
Were I to use my Grade Six Health class as an analogy, think of red and white blood cells. Red blood cells are the ones that carry oxygen throughout the body (i.e., nurturing women). White bloods cells fight infections (and demon bears; i.e., protective men). If all the red blood cells decide to act as white blood cells, it doesn’t matter how good they are at it.
Who’s left to carry the oxygen, and what do you think will happen to the body?
Brave is both a tribute to women who embrace the essential traditional contributions of women to society, and a frank but subliminal message to young women, especially in the American social context. Men aren’t capable of replacing you; never going to happen. By abandoning the essential traditional role of women in society – the quintessential feminine duty, if you will -, we are all harmed by it.
Some will immediately attack this as sexist. They delight in “strong” Merida’s showing up the young men. But as Brave shows us, Merida isn’t truly strong until she has the courage to accept what it truly means to be a woman. (In the majority of instances, obviously.)
Whether it’s my own mother, or mother of seven (really??!) and delightful blogger Dotta R., I can only pay just tribute by saying that your sacrifices and contribution are as important to society as that of any man, be he The President, some CEO, or whatever.
How obvious does a truth have to be before Disney feels compelled to make a movie about it?
For the young women of America, and the world, I’m not telling you how to live your lives. Your decisions, not mine. But what I am telling you is that you are inherently beautiful for being women. You are inherently, absolutely, and 100% as important as any guy.
So find the courage to discover the woman whom you were meant to be, and love her in a good way. She deserves it.