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Name Instructor Class 3 March 2012 Women with Courage: Autonomous and Free Women in Brave What does bravery mean to women? For men, bravery can include displaying heroism in their inner and outer battles. Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman directed the 2012 Disney film, Brave, which shows how women exhibit their brand of bravery…
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Download file to see previous pages The scene challenges essentialist ideas about gender and identity issues because Merida undermines and opposes her family and community that promote the negation of women’s free will and autonomy. The scene exposes the binary distinction between traditional and non-traditional gender norms and conduct. Merida challenges essentialist norms about gender because she is not like typical princesses, who love beautifying themselves and preparing for romance and marriage. She dislikes making herself physically attractive to anyone, especially another man. She even hates acting and dressing like a princess because the tight clothing disables her from moving freely around and doing anything she wants. Figure 1 shows her slumped on the princess’ chair, instead of having the usual grand posture of a “real” lady, as her mother would have emphasized. Merida’s poor countenance and posture breach customary gender etiquette. Furthermore, Merida loathes having no free will in the events unfolding before her. Lady Elinor announces the goal of the arrow shooting competition. Whoever wins will marry her daughter. Merida shakes her head and looks sullen and dejected. See Figure 1. She contests the idea that she needs a man to vie for her, which fundamentally means, a man who will end her freedom and autonomy. Merida is unlike other princesses who are happily groomed to be married. Other princesses will be excited and eager to meet their princes, their future husbands. Lady Elinor prepares Merida for this stage in her life, but the latter has no inclination for a married life. The competition seems like a death sentence to her. In addition, romance usually serves as a driving force for princesses. Merida is not the typical princess at all because romance is the last thing on her mind. She wants adventure in the woods, shooting targets, and riding alone and free. As she blows out her exasperation, a stray hair falls on her face. It represents her stray nature, a nature that resists heteronormativity. Heteronormativity insists that as a princess, her greatest role in life is to be married off to a prince someday. She opposes heteronormativity because she does not want to get married and lose her precious freedom. Merida wants to own her life, including her decision for marriage. Figure 1: Sullen and Dejected Merida Aside from exploring the sharp contrast between traditional and non-traditional gender norms, the scene depicts a young woman’s struggle in defining new gender-identity relations. Merida disrespects the traditional connection between gender and identity, where she is expected to be, not just an ordinary woman, but a princess who will preserve traditional inter-clan marriage customs. The scene shows that the community generally blindly follows gender norms and traditional customs. Women, in particular, believe in the romantic notion of the competition. When the vain prince is shown, some of them swoon and fall in love with him. These people represent women who reinforce traditional gender norms and identity, where they allow their society-molded womanhood to dictate their interests and destinies. Merida is different from them. She opposes the traditional gender-identity relationship by defying traditions and gender roles. Figure 1 suggests that she is not someone who will accept her fate too easily. She will not be forced to marry anyone, just ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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