Quote of the Day: I Wanted To Give Girls Something To Look At And Not Feel Inadequate

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by Melissa Silverstein
June 18, 2012 11:25 AM
8 Comments
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This is what director Brenda Chapman thought about when created the character of Merida - the first female Pixar lead - which opens on Friday.

Fairy tales have gotten kind of a bad reputation, especially among women...So what I was trying to do was just turn everything on its head. Merida is not upset about being a princess or being a girl. She knows what her role is. She just wants to do it her way, and not her mother’s way.

I wanted a real girl...not one that very few could live up to with tiny, skinny arms, waist and legs. I wanted an athletic girl. I wanted a wildness about her, so that’s where the hair came in, to underscore that free spirit. But mainly I wanted to give girls something to look at and not feel inadequate.

Show Hollywood that they should create more animated films with strong girls as leads by heading to the theatre to support it.

Evolution of a Feisty Pixar Princess (NY Times)

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More: Brenda Chapman, Women Directors, Brave

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8 Comments

  • Carol | July 18, 2012 7:03 PMReply

    I loved this movie. I thought it was wonderful and fun and fantastical. I agree with Angie (who posted on 6/18) that is it sad Chapman wasn't able to finished telling this story. I would love to know what happened that made her leave. She devoted so much to this.

  • Maryanna | July 5, 2012 5:42 PMReply

    What I find disappointing is that in the movie about a strong young woman, there is only one other female character: her mother. Even the freaking horse is male. Really. Really?!

    In my world, 51% of the people around me are women; in the movie, theatre and TV worlds -- even when telling women's stories -- only about 25-30% of the population is female. Why do so few people see that?

  • Bes | June 21, 2012 3:30 PMReply

    I have been looking forward to this movie for a long time. What I like about animation is I don't have to see the actress who plays the heroine trussed up in some ridiculous dehumanizing fashion and/or men's magazine photo shoot. In that way the animated characters can have more appeal to girls and to me.

  • Nadine | June 20, 2012 8:34 AMReply

    ...inadequate... I honestly don't see how this movie's propoganda is any different than what has been force-fed to Americans over the last 12 or so years; same narrative. These images of unathletic girls and women (I'm sorry...just because you say the character is athletic doesn't make it so -I say this as an athlete and a mother...where is her muscle tone?) as athletic heroine. I was an extremely athletic girl and this character does little girls, who actually put in the time and the effort to master their skills, no justice. Is it that this movie can now brainwash even younger girls to believe that just because they think they are something, they are? There is a sense of entitlement that this staged narrative never fails to claim. Pre-teens and teens had Twilight, Hunger Games and I'm sure you all could name more. We adults have Rizzoli & Isles like programming and heroine's wielding guns in size 0 pant suits... how on earth would a privileged woman in the U.S. feel inadequate and if.., for some reason she does, why not find an honest/more accessible way to tell that story without claiming the strengths of others.

  • Mom of 11 yo girl | June 20, 2012 2:42 AMReply

    If you want a real girl then don't make an animated movie with a drawing that in no way resembles a real girl doing things a real girl could never do.

    This is fantasy. Our kids know that. Do you?

  • Margot | June 19, 2012 4:10 PMReply

    there is something about this movie that has me DYING to see it.

  • Lyn | June 18, 2012 11:31 PMReply

    I love animation anyway so this little article means that very feminist pride takes over - I will definitely go along to see this and drag along my niece..

  • Angie | June 18, 2012 2:07 PMReply

    This is awesome and a great article talking about the physical evolution of the character. But I can't lie - it's still super upsetting and worrisome to me that Pixar replaced Chapman with Mark Andrews, a Pixar insider who hadn't directed a full feature. This was her baby and her idea and ... now he's the main director. Sad news.

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