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Sometimes, I find spending a lot of time on Tumblr has affected the way I think. When it comes to things like, representation of female characters and their … characterisation, I am very much influenced by the what these ‘strangers on the internet’ say.

That’s the reason I got my 4 year old cousin a Merida-doll instead of any other Disney princess. I wanted to get her a Career Barbie (like when they had President Barbie or Doctor Barbie etc) but somehow Toys R’Us didn’t have any of those. Did they go out production? I guess I’ll never know.

Anyway. My cousin (and my mother’s godchild) Fridah Ashley received a copy of Brave (original, okay?!) for her birthday and according to my Lola, she loved it so much she slept on the DVD and broke it. That’s commitment. So, for Christmas, I got her Merida, this doll that didn’t really look like the actual character but was as good as it got. What is important about choosing Merida over the rest of them?

I wanted her to understand that princesses didn’t always need to have a prince. I wanted her to understand that princesses didn’t have to “sit around and be pretty” because princesses have a responsibility to protect their nation, to protect their family. I wanted her to see that princesses can ‘save themselves’ and ‘win their own hand’.

Nothing against the other Disney princesses that were available (Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora) but for a 4 year old, I thought I could put romance on the back burner. Merida was messy, had this whole head of hair that was not to be tamed, went out horse riding alone, defied the fact that she was to be made to marry, turned her mother into a bear, repented for screwing things up and learned the importance of responsibility. That’s a message I want my god-sister to learn.

I asked her once what princesses do, since she claimed that she was one.

“Bow (illustrated with a curtsy). and shake hands (illustrated by the action, once more). Live in a castle. Alone.”

“not with your family?”

“no. because they don’t like me since I’m a princess.”

I think I may have other things to work on with her.

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