Merida is a totally awesome and underrated Disney princess and I have stolen her as an ace role model. Everyone seems to latch on to Elsa as the pinnacle of “female characters who don’t need no man” while forgetting about Merida, who, in my opinion, is a much better example of what it means to be a strong, independent woman, in addition to being a great inspiration for ace people feeling pressure from family/society to just “act normal.”
Firstly, Merida is a free-spirited wild child who just smashes gender roles to bits like it’s no big deal. She does what makes her happy regardless of whether or not it’s considered an appropriately “feminine” thing.
She is strong, capable, and can take care of herself without any man following her around to keep her safe. She rides horses, is an incredible archer, and bravely runs and jumps wherever the heck she feels like going whenever the heck she feels like doing it. She has clearly put a lot of practice and effort into doing what she loves and becoming really good at it. She climbs waterfalls because they’re there and doesn’t care about how she looks doing it.
Secondly, she understands the world around her and is totally happy being alone in nature. She’s not afraid of being alone because she has taught herself all of the skills she needs to survive. Stuck outside for the night? Whatever, she’s got this. She knows what’s good to eat and what isn’t. She knows how to find/build shelter and keep warm.
Even if you’re not an especially nature-loving or outdoorsy person, we can take all of this as a metaphor for real life. Stuck living alone (or prefer to live alone)? Merida wouldn’t be bothered. She’d have taught herself (or be willing to learn) all of the skills she needed to be independent and take good care of herself. If a challenge presented itself, she’d buckle down and find a way to deal with it. Merida needs Merida, and that’s it. She loves her family and wants to get married someday, but when the chips are down, Merida is enough for Merida.
Thirdly, Merida doesn’t take any crap from anybody and is not about to change herself to make others happy, even if it means facing a lot of conflict. She is Merida; she is happy being Merida, and she is always going to be Merida whether everybody else likes it or not. She’s not about to force her wild hair into an uncomfortable style if she doesn’t want to, put on an overly tight dress that she doesn’t like, or be forced into a marriage she didn’t choose because it’s tradition. She isn’t about to pretend to be something she’s not just because it’s the “proper” way for her to act.
She carries herself with confidence and respects herself enough to not be forced into anybody else’s mould. She asserts what she wants and is willing to speak out when it’s necessary.
At the same time, Merida treats others with kindness and rights what she’s done wrong. She acknowledges when she’s messed up and hurt others, and, in her independent style, finds a way to fix it herself. While she’s firm in asserting what she wants and doesn’t want and won’t go against her beliefs in order to make anyone else happy, she is willing to try to find a compromise in order to maintain peace and get along with her family. No, she’s not about to get married until she’s good and ready, but she is willing to work with the clans to find a way to maintain peace among them without the marriage, and she learns to understand her mother so that they can have a mutually respectful relationship even if they might not agree on everything.
Overall, Merida might be underrated and often ignored, but she’s an awesome role model for all girls and women, ace or not. She loves herself and others, is strong, capable, and confident, does what she likes and what makes her happy regardless of what anyone thinks about it, respects herself, and, above all, refuses to be turned into anything that she isn’t or made to do anything she isn’t comfortable with, regardless of what tradition and society tell her she should be and do.
We could all benefit from being a little more like Merida.
A 26-Year Mystery Remains Unsolved… Who is “Valentine Doe”?
Valentine’s Day marks 26 years since an unidentified girl was strangled to death in the Florida Keys.
An area known as “the horseshoe” is frequented by windsurfers and campers. It’s a place of fun in the sun and escape from the daily grind. Not 10 feet from the picturesque shoreline starts a heavily wooded forest.
It was there that the body of a young girl was found nude, strangled by the strings of her bikini top. She was murdered on Valentine’s Day, 1991, and found the next day. Investigators call her “Valentine Doe.”
Investigators believe “Valentine Doe” was murdered on Feb. 14, 1991.
There were some clues. Witnesses saw Jane Doe hitchhiking the day of her murder. She was last seen near mile marker 17 on U.S. Highway 1, about 18 miles from where her body was discovered. Two witnesses from the “horseshoe” area independently observed an older model white pickup truck with a camper shell in the area, driven by two white males. One of the witnesses saw the pickup on Feb. 14 and the other remembers the truck in the area two to three days prior.
Blood was discovered on a nearby dirt road. Drag marks led investigators to scattered pieces of the girl’s clothing. They found a “Forenza” brand cardigan sweater with wide, horizontal stripes and silver buttons, denim shorts and black, ankle-high moccasins with red stitching and leather fringe.
An autopsy revealed that Jane Doe was sexually assaulted and severely beaten. She had stretch marks on her abdomen that indicated a previous pregnancy. Jane Doe also suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease, and had a large cyst on her right ovary which would have caused her significant pain. She likely sought medical attention for her condition.
Jane Doe stood approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds. Her ears were pierced four times and she had two tattoos. Both tattoos appeared to be non-professionally done in blue ink.
“Valentine Doe” had a tattoo of a heart and the word, “Love,” on her upper left shoulder. She also had a cross tattoo with four radiating lines on her left hand.
Investigators don’t know where Jane Doe was from, although they note that she had no suntan lines on her body…which are generally seen on residents and tourists in the Florida Keys.
If you have any information on the identity of “Valentine Doe,” please call us at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).