Merida, the fiery Scottish princess voiced by Kelly Macdonald in Pixar’s new animated adventure “Brave,” belongs to the same category as Dora the Explorer, Nickelodeon’s bicultural cartoon heroine. If that doesn’t quite sound like fulsome praise, you’re on the right track. No, listen — in all seriousness, there are reasons to be grateful for both of them. Both “Brave” and the Dora franchise represent honorable — and desperately needed — attempts to craft alternative role models, and alternative entertainment options, for girls who yearn to break out of the pink-and-peach prison of princess culture.
Of course, Merida is the movie’s heroine, and many redheads embrace the fiery trope as flattering or harmless. It’s not as patently offensive as the dumb blonde trope, nor as harmful as the folk stories about redheaded witches and vampires from which it evolved. But it’s still arbitrary and wrong.
It’s like a Rubin vase! Is she a symbol of feminist empowerment or is she a regressive, offensive stereotype? It depends which pop culture/pop politics website you view it from! Goddamn, I can’t stop laughing.