I have been listening to The Pixar Podcast for a little while now, and have greatly enjoyed it. And with the growing buzz around Brave I was interested to see the trailer and hear the hosts thoughts. I recommend checking out episode sixty-one (or at least watching the trailer) before reading too much on. Ya know for context.
Now that you’ve done that, below are my thoughts.
Brave vs. The Princess “Problem”
Derrick, et. all;
I appreciated you finding and acknowledging a female perspective on the state of animated features and the roles women have in them. It still bugs me a bit that the female lead has to prove that that she’s as tough/strong/smart as a man to be accepted. I do think it is a good thing to show that a woman is a man’s equal but why is it always on a man’s terms or referencing what are traditionally masculine activities, fighting, shooting, hunting, etc. Why not show more females who are female and equal without being “one of the guys”? That is one thing that I think Tangled did pretty well. Rapunzel is accepted as herself and that was her strength. She wasn’t above a little violence, she did smack “Flynn” Eugene around with the frying pan. And yet when presented with a insane situation like the Snugly Duckling’s band of brigands her dream and heart are what turned them to her aid instead of flaying Flynn. A good example of a strong female character, is Nani from Lilo and Stich. She is never shown as having to be “one of the guys” to be accepted and ultimately it is her being herself, being open and strong, that helps bring everything together for the happy ending.
There’s not a thing wrong w/ the “tough lady” characters, Ripley is one my faves, although it seems like that’s given more social weight, and I think it would be worthwhile to have more strong female leads who don’t need to be “a dude but better looking”. I would want a woman to have the same freedom of choice as a man would, if she wants to be rough and tumble more power to her. If she wants to be a more “traditional” lady that should also be fine. And again she should not have to prove herself “a man” to be free to choose her place.
I admit I’m making some assumptions about the plot of Brave, which are something of a stretch given that all that I’ve seen is the trailer. I also acknowledge that I will probably go and see this movie and enjoy it. I also believe that my assumed enjoyment of the film does not absolve film makers of stretching themselves and making other types of characters. There is a bit of dialog from the trailer that does give me a lot of hope for this story, “I want my freedom!”, “But are you willing to pay the price for your freedom?”. I think that is a theme that can really be built upon, and I hope they don’t show her paying the price of freedom with her femininity. You shouldn’t have to lose who you are to be free.