The movie Brave premiered this weekend. And while I don’t have much interest in seeing this film, it has major significance to me: its main character, Princess Merida, is the first animated heroine with curly hair.
Look at all those wild, glorious curlicues! Do you have any idea how revolutionary this is? In all other animated films, the heroines have straight hair—maybe with a slight wave, but that’s it.
I, Madame Weebles, have curly hair much like Princess Merida’s (except not as long and not as orange). And I love it. But it took me a lonnnnnnggg time to get to this point. Like most other girls with curly hair, I wanted straight hair when I was growing up. As a child of the 70s, I was obsessed with Cher’s hair in particular:
I wanted that hair so badly. I was fascinated by how smooth and shiny it was. It was hypnotic. It was nothing like the frizzy, unruly mess sitting on my head. And despite the popularity of the perm during the 70s and 80s, there weren’t a lot of curly-haired celebrities to look up to. Look at who I had to choose from:
With role models with this, who needs enemies?
I spent many years fighting with my hair to make it straight. My weapons of choice were the hair dryer and chemical relaxers. But my curlicues never surrendered. They were masters of deceit and cunning, lying in wait. Before I left the house every morning, I’d do a final check to make sure my head was a curl-free zone. Then, a while later, without warning, SPROING!!!! One of those little bitches would pop up. Then another. And another. Until I looked like this:
Finally, I realized I had no choice but to wave the white flag. You win, curlicues. I can’t beat you. I laid down my hair dryer and made peace with them. I made offerings of conditioners and gels. Now my curls and I are BFFs.
I’m struck by the fact that there still aren’t a lot of curly girls out and about. Even now, with more diverse looks and ethnicities being embraced, you usually see women rocking the curly hair in movies and stuff only when it’s intended to convey a certain look—wild, exotic, sinister, whatever. Now sure, curly girls are good at causing all sorts of mayhem, but why limit us to that role?
That’s why I’m so glad Princess Merida and her Brave curlicues have debuted. Own it, sister!