I have just enjoyed the latest Disney/Pixar animated film entitled Brave. Set in the Highlands of Scotland, with evocative bagpipe music and beautiful rolling rugged scenery, this is a tale with a feisty red-headed heroine. I loved the Scottish voices; I seemed to be the only one in the cinema who understood the Aberdonian prince! Visit Scotland loves the positive portrayal of Scotland. The heroine, Merida, charms us with her mop of unruly curls and her attempts to live wild, ride fast, shoot straight and not be confined to the ‘princess role’ set ahead for her. We revel in her attempts to set her own destiny, and in this she takes the usual Disney princess concept a long way. Snow-white and Cinderella she is not – as she sets her own agenda and causes her father, brothers and most of the men in her life to notice and listen to her. She is a throughly modern thirteenth century heroine! She is thwarted by two women – her mother, Queen Elinor, and a witch in the forest. Yes, there is the usual magical nonsense and the twisting of the story to resolve, but the conflict arises because her mother cannot accept that she has her own ideas and wants to make her own choices in life. She doesn’t want to marry the chief’s son who wins a competition for her hand. She wants to create her own fate and be the master of her own destiny. And it is not the men in her life who get in the way, but the women who want her to conform to the expected role, and to follow the traditional path that they took.
Does this ring true to us today? When you try to step outside of the norm, the comfortable and the accepted, is it not often other women who are threatened and challenged by you? Just when we should be supporting each other in our efforts in life to move forward, we sometimes hold each other back with critical attitudes, snide comments and a lack of support.
What does it mean to be brave as a woman today? Perhaps being brave is being the first woman to lead a service in a male dominated church. Or it may be continuing an international preaching role with a new baby at your side and very little sleep to sustain you.
Often being truly brave means supporting others around us, whilst putting our own hopes and ambitions aside. Being brave might mean sticking in at a job you do not like so that your kids can be provided for whilst your husband struggles to build a career. Or being the only stay-at-home mum in your street because you actually want to be with your own pre-school children. Sometimes being brave means staying for years in a marriage with an unfaithful husband so that your children have some stability, then realising that the really brave thing is to finally leave.
Being a brave woman today is a complex role, but we should be there to support each other in whatever path God has called us to follow that uses the gifts, passions and talents that He has given us.
This is a great film to go to with your daughters, your neighbours, and your friends and discuss issues that arise. When the dvd comes out be the first to buy it and have an event watching it at your house. Be brave this summer…