Ever since Pixar’s Brave came out in cinemas, a tale of an independent girl on a task to save her family, the lead character has provoked debate about her sexuality.
When Entertainment Weekly posted a review of the new film, critic Adam Markovitz said the character Merida must be gay because she likes sport and refuses to get married.
In the article, Markovitz says: ‘Could Merida be gay? Absolutely. She bristles at the traditional gender roles that she’s expected to play: the demure daughter, the obedient fiancée.
‘Her love of unprincess-like hobbies, including archery and rock-climbing, is sure to strike a chord with gay viewers who felt similarly “not like the other kids” growing up.’
The review caused a backlash when it was published late last month, with many calling out the writer for his belief in gender and lesbian stereotypes.
Markovitz was not alone. A picture of Merida posted on photo site 9gag.com provoked comments calling her a ‘dyke’.
A writer from feminist blog The Vagenda told Gay Star News she wanted to applaud Pixar for creating a strong female character that defies gender stereotypes.
She said: [They are] presenting young girls with a heroine that they can be truly proud of that is, at no point, defined by her relationship with a romantic lead.’
The Vagenda writer added: ‘The last 16-year-old Disney princess we had was Ariel, who changed her species to get the guy. I’d say Merida is a far more positive role model than that.
‘Whether she’s gay or straight isn’t important, and the fact that question is even being asked demonstrates how important this film is for a young audience growing up in a world of stereotypes.’
Brave was released in North America on 22 June.