Two decades ago Belle was heralded as the first bookish introvert to arise as a true Disney heroine, and to massive critical acclaim. Pixar is long familiar with the Disney legacy and very pointedly eschewed heroine-driven themes because of it. When they finally settled on Brave’s Merida they knew they didn’t want to perpetuate the submissive orphan waif/’someday my prince will come’ cycle. But, what really makes the story a modern day marvel and Disney outlier is not Merida’s head strong fiery red-headedness, per se, but the masterfully-shaped ingeniously-crafted loving, nurturing, tradition-obsessed Queen Elinor as the story’s antagonist. So while this critic might be skeptical of the feisty princess syndrome, they are missing the much larger breakthrough in the full multi-dimensional Mother/Queen who obstructs and fights her head-strong daughter without destroying, abusing, threatening and or morphing into the even greater cliché i.e. the evil conniving fulminating step-mother/harridan/witch.
Enough Feisty Princesses: Disney Needs an Introverted Heroine – Lindsay Lowe – The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/enough-feisty-princesses-disney-needs-an-introverted-heroine/273821/