Disney/Pixar’s newest offering, Brave, was one of the most highly-anticipated, non-sequel, childrens’ films I can remember. While the avalanche of pre-release buzz may merely be the current status quo of web-based marketing (witness: The Hunger Games, Prometheus, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, etc.), the anticipation hinged largely on this film being Pixar’s first release with a female protagonist AND a Disney Princess™ film that features a strong female lead. Many film critics, along with parents like myself who would prefer our daughters not sit around crocheting doilies, practicing etiquette, and learning subservience until a suitable husband comes along, had hopes that this would finally be the movie that broke away from the narrowly envisioned, patriarchy-reinforcing, and traditionalism of past Disney princesses.
So, does Brave‘s portrayal of Princess Merida really stand as a revolutionary, groundbreaking moment for Disney that will usher in a new era of strong female characters and empowering stories? Not really.