Like many little girls, I grew up on a steady diet of Disney and in the era of their Princesses – Belle, Ariel and Jasmine in particular.
Many of my girlfriends adored the Princesses and coveted their hairstyles, singing voices and wardrobes. Yet, as a tomboy with fairly unkempt hair and not a trace of pink in my wardrobe, I couldn't find a single way to relate to these immaculately groomed girls who spent their days twirling around in lovely dresses, looking pretty, and waiting for a Prince to kiss them and change their lives.
First of all – kissing boys? Gross. Secondly, the Princesses and their lives were kinda… well, boring. They didn't really seem to do anything, unlike the male protagonists who were always having exciting, interesting adventures. Sitting around in a castle tower? Bor-ing.
So when I finally watched Disney Pixar’s Brave earlier this year, I felt my heart swell. And all because of one little flame-haired girl called Merida.
Compared to her predecessors, Merida was an unlikely leading lady – a wee Scottish lass with a bow and arrow, unruly red ringlets and a face free of makeup. Not only did she actually resemble a real girl – 'imperfections' and all – she openly rejected the pressure to find a man. Instead, her focus was on winning archery tournaments and rescuing her family from a wicked curse.