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Pixar’s Brave ‘lesbian’ character provokes debate

Review said the lead character Merida must be gay because she likes sport and refuses to get married
The lead character from Pixar's Brave caused controversy when a review called her a lesbian for refusing to get married.
Photo by Pixar.

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.  

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