The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Not Every Princess Wants to be Rescued

Since 1937, Walt Disney has been shaping the lives of little girls everywhere through movies that depict princesses. Snow White was the first, and she paved the way for princesses like her who were the epitome of the “damsel in distress.” Snow White was followed by Cinderella and Aurora who, like her, waited for their “Prince Charming” to rescue them. In 1989, Ariel appeared to change the format as the first “nonhuman” princess; however, even though she rescued her prince, in the end, she gave up everything she knew and was to be with him.

Disney continued this trend with Belle (who was my personal favorite because, hey, at least the girl read books) and Jasmine (the first non-white princess). Finally in 1995, Disney changed the game with Pocahontas, who didn’t end up with her “Prince Charming,” choosing instead to lead her people and stay who she was (she still fell in love and caused a war though, just saying). She was followed by Mulan (the cross dressing, sword wielding Chinese girl) , Tiana (the first Black princess), and Rapunzel (who kicked some serious booty).

Still, even though progress had been made since 1937, all of the princesses had one thing in common: they dreamt of their prince to come.

Every single princess fell in love and her actions revolved around her love of this man. This taught little girls everywhere that in life, the most important thing was to want love and be loved by a person of the opposite sex.

In comes Merida, the princess in Disney/Pixar’s new movie Brave. Even at first appearance, Merida is different. Her hair is red and wild. She is unkempt and she does “boy” things like shooting arrows and getting dirty. She is the most accurately depicted teenager that Disney has ever allowed a princess to be. She argues with her mother and selfishly wants her way. She doesn’t understand the big picture or her role in it and seeks an “easy fix” to get her mother to see what she wants her to.

Merida tries to change her mother, and when it doesn’t go the way she expects, she has to be brave (really, really brave) to save her family. Beware if you see this movie in 3D because there is a demon bewitched bear from hell that will scare the bejeezes out of anyone under the age of 10 (or maybe just anyone) as its jaws come ripping towards you and the roar shakes your seat.

Throughout the film, the idea of “fate” and one’s “path” is continually challenged. *Spoiler Alert* Merida does NOT end up with a man (gasp!). She doesn’t fall in love and she refuses to choose a husband even when everyone around her, her entire kingdom and community, expects her to. In fact, Merida changes the way her community views marriage and its expectations for the leading clan families to choose mates for their children. In the end, Merida is brave because she challenges expectations and fights for her family. This is a message that anyone, female or male, can benefit from.

Merida is a new type of Disney Princess. One that does not fall in love. One that does not wait for “Prince Charming” to rescue her. One that does not change herself for a man. Instead, Merida proves that not all Princesses are helpless, in fact, they can accomplish more than we ever thought possible.

Go and see Brave with the whole family, everyone will enjoy it, especially those little impressionable girls. They need a princess like Merida in their lives. Maybe we all do.

Movie: Brave

Release Date: June 22, 2012

Rated: PG

Directors: Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman

Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, & Emma Thompson

Rating: A

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About the Contributor
Camile Betances
Camile Betances, Adviser
Camile Betances moved to Coral Gables to attend the University of Miami in 2003, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education and Creative Writing with a minor in Spanish. In 2010, she also earned a Master's of Science degree from Florida International University in Curriculum and Instruction in English. Betances is a successful high school English and Creative Writing teacher. She happily spends her days working with her students at Coral Gables Senior High School and has done so since 2007. She is the adviser for Catharsis, the literary & art magazine (a program which she began), and CavsConnect. Ms. Betances also works in her growing freelance photography business, Camile Teresa Photography. She loves to write, read, dance, attend Zumba, and is a member of the PARK Project Action Team. In her limited free time, you can usually find her snuggling with her cat and a good book.
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Not Every Princess Wants to be Rescued