Steven Smith On Merida, 'Brave,' And Inequality


By Steven Smith

I was at a party in college when I first learned about gender inequality. I’m a fairly naïve person who thinks the best of people -- with a healthy amount of skepticism -- but for the most part, I believe folks are inherently good. SO, I didn’t understand why the women I was talking about the definition of feminism with started laughing when I answered their question “Do you think women should get paid the same as men?” with, “They don’t?”

My own mother and grandmother were pretty strong forces in my life, so I was raised with no notion of girls do this, boys do this, except when it came to going to the bathroom. If anything, I’ve always just accepted females were smarter and more capable than males, and knew not to mess them. At age seven I told a girl at day care to shut up. She promptly punched me in the mouth, knocking out my front tooth (it was already loose but DAMN that hurt!). And I remember distinctly thinking I wasn’t going to taunt girls anymore.


There's the idea of the fairer sex which I always thought meant, girls were prettier -- which they are -- but not more delicate. Women give birth and most dudes I know can barely tolerate stomach cramps. Yes, ladies are more emotional, but as a ridiculously sensitive guy, I can identify with that. And I never thought of girls as princesses, if anything they were queens. There’s a reason it’s called the power behind the throne.

Disney has recently come under fire for sexing up Merida from "Brave." Her creator and countless folks protested, and the mouse silently relented. I applaud their decision and though I find most of the Disney princesses to be strong, empowered women, I think they’re really is no need to make their waists any smaller.

There has been a lot of chatter in recent years regarding little girls wanting to be princesses and wearing their little gowns 24/7. I have many nieces who could give two figs about being princesses, yet are comfortable being girls, and are fans of Spider-Man. There are plenty...PLENTY of female super characters but they never seem to be as popular as the males ones. Possibly due to the fact that there so many dude comic fans?


Merida’s form going from more robust and curvy, to disproportionately more robust and curvy, made no sense to me. Pixar has always prided itself on less than ideal character types, both male and female. Plus, Merida is a Pixar princess, owned by Disney but not Disney, really. To be honest, if Merida herself were asked, she’d probably bow out of the whole thing and go ride her horse. Come to think of it, a few of the other “princesses” probably would as well.

You can watch Steven Smith every Sunday -- and right now! -- on the weekly MTV Geek series "Cooking With Thrones."

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