Watch and Be Brave

Walt Disney Brave Merida

photo source: dailyrecord.co.uk

*uber late post

Three words to describe Disney’s animated film, Brave:

Cute

Funny

Touching

One word to describe:

Brave

The title itself describes on how the latest animated film of Disney deviates from classic Disney films. Disney innovates not only its technology, but also its characters and stories. Brave shows that Disney broadens the audience’s view of character roles.  Merida, the female protagonist, is not vulnerable like Snow White, not helpless like Princess Aurora, not graceful like Princess Jasmine, not too kind and submissive like Cinderella. Merida, is not only aggressive, strong, and willful but she is also a problem-solver and independent and that makes her different from Ariel and Belle.

The film breaks away from conventions that we usually see in other fairy tale films of Disney. There is a witch but there is no clear villain. There is no true love’s kiss. There is no handsome prince to save a meek princess. The film centers on Merida alone.  She created her own problem but eventually learned to find her way out.

In comparison with our favorite princesses who end up tying a knot with their love interest, Merida fights for independence unlike other princesses. Female independence is not a common theme in animated films. Ariel fought for her dream to be Part of that World but it wasn’t exactly independence. She left her ocean family to be with her dream man. Note that she lost her identity by trading her fins with feet. On the other hand, Merida voices out her desire to follow her heart,  to  find love in the right time which unfortunately her mother could not agree. Merida’s fulfillment does not rely on the arms of a man but basically, she pleads for freewill.

The princess does not wear fancy glass slippers nor walk like Kate Middleton. She lets her hair dance with the wind. She moves like Rapunzel of Tangled and perhaps Tiger of Winnie the Pooh, playful and bouncing all the time. She runs swiftly, climbs the hills, laughs hard.

If you try to look for underlying theme of Brave, there is a question of women empowerment. In a poor mindset, women are oppressed when men oppress them. In the film, a woman is oppressed by another woman. It was not a male figure who was trying to cage Merida. The prince and her father seemed to be negotiable.  In the beginning, the mother  controlled the life of her daughter by arranging her daughter’s marriage and by teaching her the basics of being a princess. Another thought to ponder; “If a woman says she believes in welfare of  her fellow women, if a woman wants to preach women empowerment, but hinders the growth of another woman’s personhood or curtails her right, can we say it is not women empowerment at all?”

Female audience find it funny that the male characters are portrayed weak. In archery, Merida excelled among her suitors. With the relationship of the king and wife, the wife appeared more dominant strict, stern, and decisive.

Like all Disney movies, it has a happy ending. But unlike other happy endings, it concludes with  a familial bond which all ages can relate upon. Merida gets what she wants without dishonoring her parents.  The film conveys a message that one’s family is  as important as one’s freedom. Children should learn  fairy tales don’t have to end with royal weddings.

You Look Like a Princess

“You look beautiful. You look like a princess.”

My four-year old niece said so. I think it is the best compliment  I have received in my life  because children don’t lie.

She had been used to it. When her mother combed her hair, she was told that she looked like a princess. Whenever she turned around with her new dress, she asked her mother, “Do I look like a princess?”

It is every young girl’s dream to be a princess. My other niece once insisted her parents to travel downtown and buy her a slam book with Snow White, Cinderella and Belle on its cover. When she was a bit younger, we were laughing at home when she told us that she dreamed she was kissed by a prince. Even older girls still fantasize of becoming a princess. When I was in high school, I was happy when my brother gave me mug with Cinderella on it. I also caught my friend, who was in her twenties, collecting items of Disney princesses.

I am thinking about this dream again. Now, I know that there are only two ways you can be a legitimate princess. One way is to find out that your real parent is a monarch (the way Mia turns out to be a princess of Genova in Princess Diaries). And the other way is to marry a prince. The only princes whom I am familiar of are Prince William and Prince Harry. Forget about Prince William. He is already engaged. And Prince Harry? All I know is that he joined the military. And for the rest of princes in the world, I know nothing.   I can’t think of any other reason in marrying a prince other than he can share large sums of money with me. Because of this, I lost  interest  of wining the title ‘princess.’

Indeed, the price of royalty costs blood,  marriage and even religion. If I were at my niece’s age, I would have thought it as easy and fun. But now that I am old, I can’t afford it. I am not good enough or bad enough to be watched by paparazzi 24/7. I can not maintain a good image in front of the people as I am spontaneous, impulsive, and careless. I am not fond of the idea that I am empowered by my man’s wealth or success. And there’s more to life than being a mere decoration in the state like a star on a Christmas tree.

A few weeks ago, a family friend in church wrote this for me.

It was 27th day of December where I first met this little girl,

So adorable in hair nicely trimmed in ribbons that twirl,

She wore pants with designs like that of her mother dear

and talks and sings like a cherubim in curly hair.


That was 19 years ago and I’ve watched how she grow,

It was just amazing she’s a blend of wonderful colors of two,

and stands above the rest in in her magnificent dress and faultless hue.

Many girls envy her for her wondrous character,

she can do well with anybody in just the right manner,

can talk with kids or adults intelligently,

and carry herself like a true princess with complete care.

Now, princess came dazzling with a torch in her hand,

equipped with proper wisdom from a land she once dreamed of

fully armed she will face her destiny with a club hand,

and conquered her dreams imprisoned in a glass of time.

–By Ethel Espiritu


After reading nice things about myself, I really like to leave a disclaimer. Those opinions expressed by the poet does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the people whom the blogger is connected with. I somehow disagree the line stating many girls envy me. In truth, I spend more time envying others than being envied. Well, that’s not the point. I am keeping this short poem because it has fulfilled my dream to be a princess. I might have stopped enjoying fairytale movies and I might have not worn my Cinderella shirt but it still rings on my ear and it slowly makes a grand orchestra music when I read that I am a ‘princess.’

Every girl might not agree to an arranged marriage with a prince nor be a public figure but every girl wants to be treated like a princess. It sounds cliché but I guess we should be reminded of our royalty. It is better to be called a princess without a castle and a crown than to be called a princess with a prince and a crown.

For my little niece, yes, you look like a princess! 🙂

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