Merida really could be gay. She could be straight. She could be asexual. We just don’t know. Over the course of the film, she shows romantic interest in neither boys nor girls; it’s only by assumption that her parents—and, presumably, most viewers—think she’s heterosexual.
Is this ambiguity intentional? Almost definitely. Pixar is notoriously meticulous—the Easter eggs and subtle references in each of its works are legion—and it’s unlikely that the filmmakers simply didn’t think to give Merida any sort of love interest. No, this is a deliberate sort of ambiguity. With that in mind, here are five ways of looking at Pixar’s motivations for being so coy:
- Brave is about a daughter’s relationship with her mother, and sexuality would only distract from the developments within that relationship.
- She is gay, and Brave is Pixar’s subversive way to put a lesbian in one of its movies.
- Merida is a straight girl who likes to run and shoot and fight.
- She’s neither gay nor straight; she’s asexual. (This would be just as sexually radical—if not more so—than making Merida a lesbian.)
- The ambiguity is itself a message.
Read more. [Image: Pixar]