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“She’s a fighting princess, Mommy!”

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Staying true to Merida

I enjoyed reading this article from the writer and director of Brave. Emmeline is a very girly-girl, but she’s also a little ball-buster. She loves doing “karate” (I use quotes because she’s never taken a real class–although she would love it), throwing and kicking soccerballs/baseballs/footballs, and she can wrestle her daddy and little brother down before you can say, “Gentle!” She loves Merida because she’ll tell you, “She’s a fighting princess!” And while I don’t condone, say, shoving our little brothers’ heads into brick walls, I’m glad Emmeline has a stubborn streak and wants to stand up for herself. In a world full of violence against women, I want to send my daughter out into the world knowing how to take care of herself. (Her daddy agrees with me–I think he even mentioned krav maga for a high school P.E. credit.) I hope Emmeline is self-confident enough and has enough common sense to admit that she would be safer downtown after dark if she had a big strong man like her daddy with her, but I also want her to feel capable of defending herself because she may not always have a man around. And I want her to know that there’s a balance between taking care of ourselves and depending on men, and that’s a good thing. Josh always likes me to walk on the “safe side” of the sidewalk (i.e. with him between me and the road), but he also taught me how to throw a punch. (And I can beat you up. If you don’t believe me–I’d love a chance to practice my left hook.) Emmeline loves Cinderella, and Belle, and all the other girly princesses, but I can tell she admires Merida because she recognizes her own stubborn, feisty streak in that character. And Emmeline, who is always striving to be more independent, looked up to Merida because she could take care of herself. Not only that, Emmeline was so excited when she realized princesses could wear dresses and be fancy and still run and play and go hunting with the boys. I hope Disney changes Merida back.

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