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Is BRAVE's Merida just an entitled brat?

Even if you've only seen the trailers for BRAVE, you know that its heroine Merida wants one thing: to determine her own fate. Put another way, she wants everyone--particularly her mother--to stop telling her what to do.

That's the one thing that disappointed me about this film. Merida didn't have enough to fight for. 

On the surface it seems there's plenty. She's fighting for her destiny. She's fighting to help her mother overcome an epic bout of magical consequences. She's eventually fighting to keep the kingdom in one piece. 

But who cares? For what? Merida, if someone caved to your pouting and foot-stomping and said "sure, go on, choose your destiny"... what would you do?

As far as I can tell, she'd simply dash off to spend her days riding her horse, shooting arrows, and climbing rocks. In other words, she'd simply please herself. Even Pixar pokes fun at this in the film. Her father pretends to be her, saying in a falsetto, "I don't want to get married. I want to stay single and let my hair flow in the wind as I ride through the glen, firing arrows into the sunset." (Watch the clip at bottom of this post)

Not much of a heroine after all, I'd say. Shouldn't girls want more than selfish satisfaction? Shouldn't they want to better the world? Or at least better themselves beyond being able to hit the bullseye from 50 yards off?

I worry that our culture perpetuates a sort of entitled-brat attitude in girls these days: that our daughters deserve to get what they want, when they want it simply because they are girls. And nobody can tell girls these days what to do or what to want. They're in charge.

Believe me, you can't get much more feminist that me. I told my fifth grade teacher to address me as Ms, not Miss, and it hasn't stopped from there. I'm proud to live in a day when we can stand up and demand our rights, and not be locked up for it. Alice Paul was jailed for that less than a hundred years ago. 

I don't think Alice was fighting for bratty entitlement when she went on hunger strike (see below). And she sure would have urged Merida to think bigger. Like archery? Perhaps you'd like to lead your army in defending Scotland from those shadowy sea invaders you referred to for all of two seconds. Or perhaps you'd like to teach your people how to be good stewards of the land, be the kingdom's first Chief Environmentalist. Or heck, Merida, remember that bunch of castle ruins you found?

Ever think of starting your own clan, Merida? 

Nah.  You were too busy whining.

Papa says it best:

 And a reminder of what it's like when women fight for something bigger than their own selfish aims (warning, there is a graphic scene of Alice Paul being force-fed):

Reader Comments (2)

I love this post! I remember when I first saw the previews, I wondered to myself "ok, what's her deal, though? What is she trying to accomplish with her 'desitny.' I figured that would be addressed in the movie, but sadly I guess not. I was also just reading in EW how they've been trying to make "Wonder Woman" into a movie for years, but studios have been too afraid to make a female-centric movie, even with Joss Wheden at its helm! Apparently he tried in vein to make WW for years, but kept getting passed up. Then he pitched "The Avengers" (almost all males) and it was snatched up in a second.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatty

I could not agree with you more passionately, that this stuff pervades our culture right now, snotty girls and young women who feel they are God's gift to humankind and darn you, (pout-pout) -- "If you would just see how brilliant I am, you'd let me have my way." (stomps foot)

Watch HBO "Girls" and have your mind boggled by their selfish attitudes. As if they're changing the world with their petty demands! That they fulfill their destinies and as you suggest -- do what? Get a book published in their name? So WHAT? Could you imagine these girls and young women in WWII or the Great Depression? They could not handle any kind of hardship or challenge. I hate imagining them as mothers. They’d be too busy Tweeting how clever they are.

But when you flip around channels and see "diva" behavior rewarded -- the shrieks and princess pouts get lots of attention -- from "Bridezilla" to "Tough Love" on VH1, I could go on and on. These young women think, "I''m pretty (or beautiful) and because of that, I deserve to be treated like a queen."

I think "Girls" got produced because Judd Apatow was behind it, and his movie themes hinge on the immature adult having difficulty growing up (or God forbid, old). I think the show's seedy, sexual qualities helped it get a greenlight. It’s like you watch and go, “Ewww, did they just do that?”

In "Girls," the lead character says, "I'm the voice of My Generation."

Dear God, help us all.

Thanks for the post, my friend led me here. Glad I'm not alone.

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHoly Cow Do I Agree
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