Gender Schemas & Identity In The Society
Ones existence can be “approved” when that identity has been recognized in society; and what does that mean if identities are fluid and constantly changing throughout or lifetimes? Intersecting Identities are a normal part of life, as long as we recognize how and why our fundamental selves shift. Gender schemas seem more complex to me in the sense that, we as people, have less control over others than ourselves; for instance, lets say that I’m walking down the street in what I think is a very good-looking fake mustache and someone yells out at me outraged for having done such a reprehensible thing as a women. I enjoyed that fake mustache very much, (for many reasons that only I know) however now, I’m just too embarrassed to put it on – I genuinely wish I could wear it more often
Merida is the main protagonist in the movie “Brave”, throughout the movie and her development she demonstrates values of existential feminism. Merida seemingly represented a turning of the tide for the Disney princess phenom. The only other princesses before “Brave” to end up single, (or at least enjoy a romance of sorts) was Pocahontas; therefore, Merida is the first fully unromantic princess which ultimately sets the stage for other films like “Frozen” and “Moana”. At the same time, Merida in some ways illustrated a regression for the franchise that is Disney Princesses – Why are her goals or processes similar to those of Pocahontas, Mulan, Ariel or Jasmine? With these apparent different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds that all of these characters’ posses, one audience member shouldn’t be afraid to ask, “does this film add anything new to the Disney Princess line? Perhaps it would have been better if it was not apart of Disney, and then essentially not comparable? Although that is not the world we live in, so we must compare.
Disney already has a fighting spirited, self centered red-head princess in Ariel, or a warrior archetype in Mulan, or rather “Brave” had just one year to establish a heroine before “Frozen” came along with Elsa and Anna. None-the-less, Ariel would begin the trend for young girls to see themselves in a different light and create a new role model to follow, she was the first Disney Princess to show sex appeal by wearing a bikini made of sea-shells, the antithesis of Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Ariel also does not submit to authority and at least desires to be her own person; she was the first to sing about wanting to be different and was curious by nature – She would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. Sound familiar?
Like Ariel, Mulan shares the same brave and independent nature but does not spend her time focusing on love. Mulan’s battles and sheds her female identity in order to fight alongside men and defeat the Huns. Through this turmoil Mulan finds her self-worth and identity by stripping away all that her culture was telling to her be. Mulan is set apart from Ariel in the regard that she is not a damsel-in-distress by not needing a prince to save her. Fortunately, that is where “Brave” pays an homage to the power in young women who decide by their own choosing that the capacity for human growth is up to themselves.
But what about the boys? Linguistic differences and Gender schemas are complex but so should children’s films represent that. However prepare to be disappointed not only in Pixar and Disney but with the film “Brave” that was supposed to change how we all gender roles. I was hoping to see the main female protagonist stand alone in the face of adversity but yet again I saw the same young girl surrounded by a merry group of men to help along the way!
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