“Merida’s sexuality is a non-issue in the film, and the fact that this topic is even worth mentioning is because women are constantly sexualized.”
I can’t even fucking believe this is a fucking issue. Nobody accused Kuzco of being gay because he didn’t want to get married. Nobody fucking cared because it was a great movie. Give me a fucking break. God forbid you explore a mother-daughter relationship in a heartfelt way.
[Edit] And can we talk about that parallel with “The Emperor’s New Groove” a little more, because they’re both royalty, they’re both expected to marry, and both use transformational tactics to understand a different point of view. BUT Kuzco is able to reject quite a few very attractive women (without personalities) simply because he is too cool and impulsive to settle down. The only grounds upon which he rejects these women is their looks. Merida? Merida is presented with three suitors, two of whom appear to be idiots and one of whom is a blustering egotist with anger issues. Merida is young and vital and for her, as a woman, marriage will mean something completely different. Marriage won’t just mean strings attached, it will mean a complete loss of freedom and autonomy. She has EVERY REASON to delay this marriage, not to mention the fact that her suitors are expected to fight over her like a prize. She has no choice. Kuzco HAS a choice and yet nobody fucking cared because he was a dude, and dudes can go frolic in hilarious outdoor adventures without the humorless ugly ladies weighing them down. Men are absolutely free to have movies about them in politics, in the news, at a bachelor party, without any love interest mentioned. And that’s what we’re expected to watch. Whereas something like “Bridesmaids” is AUTOMATICALLY a chick flick because over 50% of the named characters are women. God forbid you have a movie with a woman as the main character without a love interest. Nobody wants to watch that. She’s probably a lesbian. Fuck you.
(tumblr is not breaking this up as clearly to who is saying what, so to be clear, this point and below is me, rhyfeddu):
For the record, I’m against pidgeonholing anyone into anything based on gender expression or whatever hobby you happen to freakin’ like. Agreed, let’s not make assumptions about a girl because she likes sports or is not thinking about a boy 24/7. I get that.
But why is it an “accusation” if someone supposes you’re a lesbian? Inherent in that word is the belief that it’s a bad thing (not just an inaccurate thing) to be called or thought gay. Something you have to defend yourself against.
So yes, the mainstream media (surprise!) has reduced Merida to “tomboy = lesbian!” headlines and that’s annoying, simple minded and tries to tell straight girls there is no reason they should identify with strong and fearless Merida, nothing to see, go back to your other boy crazy Princesses.
BUT. When this answering response de-evoles into “How dare they call Merida a lesbian!”, as I’ve seen happen, that is more annoying to me, actually. What if she is? So? Does that make Merida less admirable? Less a role model? A hero? What if it’s *gasp* simply left open to interpretation that she could be and THAT’S OKAY. ‘Cause there are gay and bi little girls out in that darkened audience too and why can’t they have something to relate to as well?
And ya know, sometimes a “stereotype” is just the way someone is, too, and not an attempt by The Man to label us. I was a tree climbing, animal loving, softball playing little rough and tumble girl who played with my brother’s toys and yes, turned out to be gay, and I would have been all over this movie as a kid with life sized posters of Merida and Halloween costumes and (totally) an Angus plush toy and the whole shebang (hell, I’m still thinking of going as Boudicea this year at my brother’s annual party, so…not changed much).
There seems to be a cultural norm at work now that being gay is kinda okay, but to actually conform to tomboy = lesbian is something to be ashamed of, in itself. That’s a “stereotype” after all and holding us LGBT back and embarrassing and keeping us from being seen as normal and like everybody else. But sometimes, sometimes there’s gay fire along with the tomboy smoke and again, THAT’S OKAY.
The media isn’t making the tomboy/gay association up out of whole cloth. There is a reason for it coming up. We tomboys were the least able to hide back in the day, the most visible, so in many peoples minds, yes, still, a tomboy is a lesbian and all lesbians are tomboys. We know where that comes from. We don’t have to deny that to easily poke holes in their broad stroke pronouncements about this children’s movie, do we?
Basically, I understand the objections to any attempts to force girls to conform to moldy societal expectations, or to protest that any young girl should only be given movies where they’re passive and their only narrative goal is romance by the last reel, but a little lack of outrage at the mere notion of being thought queer would be nice, too. It’s not actually slander to be called lesbian. Or shouldn’t be. It might just be inaccurate. Like someone glancing at you and thinking you have brown eyes instead of green. Not actually something to be offended about.
In answering this blinkered media response that any strong woman must be a lesbian, can we not treat that as an insult and say yes, many strong women are lesbian and guess what, many strong women are straight or bi or asexual or whatnot. Guess what, women are strong. Catch up, media and world!
I think that’s the point that’s trying to be made by most. Just don’t throw lesbian women under the rhetorical bus to make that point, okay?
Oh, I didn’t see it like that at all. If anybody is railing against this because they think being called a lesbian is offensive, then they are gross, but I’ve been seeing an outcry from women from all sexualities. As you say, it’s obviously not an insult to be a lesbian or to be called one and I’d have been ecstatic if there had been any indication that Merida was one, but. There wasn’t. All that effort spent on every frame, every pixel, and no hint of her sexuality at all. This whole issue doesn’t seem to be about queerness at all, but women.
The “accusation” of her being gay is coming across as negative because that’s how it initially seems to be meant. It reeks of that old sly wink-wink-nudge-nudge “Oh, she’s good at sports? Doesn’t have a boyfriend? Must be a lesbian.” This has nothing to do with Merida exhibiting the characteristics of a stereotype (putting aside the issues of stereotypes and reality and their relative merit to begin with) and everything to do with being a strong woman equalling being a lesbian. Lesbians must be the only women who can be self-sufficient and independent because they don’t need men. Remember that old logic? Feminists are men-hating lesbians? Obviously the only reason to be independent from men is because you just don’t need them romantically.
It’s an insult to all women, straight and not.