“Fate be changed. Look inside. All the gays are out for Pride!”
This week, Leigh and Ellie hang out with Mexican American story artist and character designer Stephanie Rizo to talk about the 2012 Disney Pixar hit film Brave. This movie is so gay! It is essentially a coming out story for Merida who is struggling to get her mom to understand that her sexuality is not just a phase and she will 100% burn down the country before marrying a man.
We talk about Stephanie’s experience as a storyboard artist and character designer for animation and how she manages to sneak queerness into the backgrounds wherever she can. Then, we delve deeper into everything that makes Brave the gay masterpiece that it is. Merida’s entire personality revolves around breaking free from the heteronormative ideals that her mother is desperately trying to instill in her. We love that this movie ultimately respects who Merida is and does not try to force a love interest onto her in the end like Disney does with so many of its princesses. Not a single one of those male suitors was serious about pursuing marriage and honestly, they don’t exactly come off as straight either.
Merida’s own father is a great example of how much internalized homophobia can mess someone up, because that man is 1000% obsessed with bears. He may claim to hate them, but he spends pretty much the entire movie talking about Mordu and his castle is basically a shrine to bears. This man is so bear for bear and he does not even realize it. He also is very supportive of Merida and her distaste for heteronormativity, giving her a bow of her own and not minding one bit about her ‘unladylike’ manners. Elinor, Merida’s mother, takes longer to come around after having forced herself to adhere to her own compulsory heterosexuality. This woman is so bisexual it is almost painful. When she is trying to convince Merida to go through with the marriage, she explains that she too had a defiant ‘phase’ where she did not want to get married. We see you Elinor and you are not fooling anyone.
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