My relationship with Disney animated children's culture is tight knit. Our family was very up-to-date with the newest Disney movies. Each Halloween, myself or my two sisters would choose to be one of the princesses. Whenever we played any type of role-play game with Barbies or dress-up clothes, one of us was always the princess. I was usually always Belle, my oldest sister was Aurora, and my middle sister was Arielle. We strayed from these characters on occasion, but these princesses where the ones that looked most like us and therefore, they were the default choice. I remember when we played this role play game in the school yard, my black friend LaRae was upset because she could not be a princess. We had her play the role of Sebastian from The Little Mermaid instead. Then and now I feel awful that LaRae was the only girl in our group that could not be a princess. I can't imagine how she must have felt that day. Although, I did want to add, and am surprised that Christensen did not mention it, there was a princess movie that was put out in 1997 that had Brandy as the lead princess role. I loved it as a child! I had my mom record it and I watched it all the time.
I completely agree with Christensen's claims as far as racial and sex inequality is concerned. I did notice however that violence is not mentioned very much. I have always wondered if removing cartoon weapons and violence from popular cartoons really mattered. It seems like since those things have been removed, violence in young people has only escalated. The action of removing these elements from cartoons was almost like putting the cookies on the top shelf. Children knew these things existed, but were only to be seen and used by adults. It almost increases the desire in children to use these things. In modern day American culture it is difficult to even find children's toys that resemble guns, swords, knives, etc. I am curious to see if there is a correlation between the lack of these resources for children and the increase in violence for children.
Brave challenges the typical Disney stereotype of princesses in many ways. Rather than being the weak, thin, pretty character, Merida was more realistic. She wielded a weapon, was adventurous and boisterous. I am happy that the media is changing its portrayal of leading ladies, but there is still a long way to go. Merida still fell under the "white" stereotype of princesses. She was also not overweight, which is another issue that Christiensen pointed out.