Curlicue power!

June 24, 2012 — 100 Comments

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.

These are some of my curlicues.

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!

100 responses to Curlicue power!


    45 years ago, that Joni Mitchell look was to die for. Still is. As is her voice.


    Mostly, I’m just glad I still have my hair.
    Now if you had a way to tame my eyebrows…

    Also, William Shatner had a perm in the 80s. There’s a role model for you!
    No, not so much?
    Ah well…


    Power to the curls! Another great thing about this movie is the girl is the star and heroine of the movie. I heard a critic say, it may not be as big as some others because it depicts a girl in the power role. I love that she’s red-haired too. My hair tends to be more WAVY, despite my trying to straighten, if humidity’s up, it kinks up in a few curls, but I must say MW, you locks look quite lovely and fetching.

    Here’s some role models: Salma Hayek is wearing her hair more wild and curly now, also Marilyn Monroe rocked some curls in her day and Beyonce does the curlicues too.

    But the wild-haired, curly crimson-haired girl in Brave may the best one of all. :).


      Preach it, B! I also love the fact that she’s a redhead. I hope the movie does well even if the main character IS a mere girl.

      I haven’t seen Salma Hayek’s curls yet, I’ll have to keep an eye out for her. I like Beyonce’s curlicues, although I loved her hair when she used to wear it more natural. My hair gets pretty wacky when it’s humid too so I know what you mean— actually in this photo it looks less curly than it normally does since it’s pretty decent out there today. I’m already bracing myself for the next few months of humidity…


    I’m glad you’re now at peace with your beautiful curly locks, MW. Also, I can understand why Medusa would not have been a great role model, but, maybe then again, if she had been more accepting of the snake thing, she might not have been so ornery! :-)


    Funny you should mention that–I just saw “Brave” last night with my boys, and I am here to tell you that the hair stole the show. The movie tagline should be “Go for the Pixar. Stay for the hair.” It was more than a mere presence–it had a personality all its own. I couldn’t take my eyes off it it–I couldn’t get Enough of it! And now, every girl on the block is going to want a head of hair like that, I promise you Weebles. So rock it, woman!
    By the way, my daughter was an Irish dancer, and I now have a closet FULL of curlicue wigs of every shade, length, and size. If you’re wondering where all the curlicues have gone, they’ve gone to Irish dancers, every one.


      That tagline is killer, Robin. “Go for the Pixar. Stay for the hair.” KILLER!

      That’s interesting about the Irish dancers and the curlicues. My niece does Irish dancing and she has pin straight hair, but to my knowledge no curlicue wigs have been deployed. So far, anyway… ;)


        Hmmmm….has she paid $2000.00 for a dress, yet? (Don’t fall out of your chair. It’s true. And believe me, I had NO IDEA what we were getting into!) Anyway, that might be the time that the curly wigs kick in. Then again, curly wigs might be going out of fashion now, and ballet-style buns might be coming in.
        Glad you like the tagline, Weebles, Thanks much.


    Well, the main character being not just a girl, but a curly-haired girl just pretty much sealed the deal for me buying this movie for M (and me) when it comes out on DVD.

    Rock the curls!


    long live the curls … awesome header pic by the way..


    A long-time fan of animated movies – and I mean long time!- I may have to check this one out. The female lead characters have been getting more independent in recent years, a trend a strongly applaud! So glad you’ve made peace with your curls, I’ve always thought the curly girls were lucky! And, lastly, love the new Weebles! Great hatchet job! :)


      I know, I like the trend of female characters who aren’t helpless damsels in distress! And of course, I always thought the straight-haired girls were lucky. It’s always that way, isn’t it? And I’m glad you enjoy the new Weebles photo, I had a lot of fun staging it! :)


    Okay, I saw “Brave” on friday at 10:40 am. That’s how excited I was to see Merida rockin’ the red curls. Let me tell you, she’s a feisty and rebellious character. Disney got it right.
    Madame, your hair is to die for. It’s your crown and glory. Remember, not everyone looks good in curls – you don’t see Christy Brinkley or Cindy Crawford going the way of the curl. Why? because it would look like crap on them, that’s why. There was one super model in the 70’s that I adored. Her name was Rosie Vela and she was GORGEOUS. Please tell me you know who she is. OMG. She had the best hair and no one could duplicate her look.
    I’ll shut up now.


      Dang, Grippy, that’s impressive, going to the 10:40am show!! I may have to amend my original statement about not seeing it.

      I had to look up Rosie Vela because I didn’t recognize the name but as soon as I saw her I remembered her immediately. She was gorgeous. And you’re right–some people just don’t look right with curls and vice versa. When I think about it, I probably never looked right with straight(ish) hair either. Thanks for the pep talk!


    Yay! Embrace it love it be it! Now, maybe you’ll help open the door for the most maligned hair on the face of the planet — kinky! I happen to love it — as a child who came of age in the early seventies when afros came out — and my father told me, ‘never let anyone tell you that you have bad hair.’ But unfortunately, everyone’s still trying to conform to that one ideal — keep preaching!


      I told you about how badly I wanted a ‘fro when I was a kid, right? Man, I wanted that perfectly round afro like you can’t imagine. And yes, every black woman I’ve ever met has talked about having issues with their hair. But so many of them relax it! I have one friend with wild kinky hair–she’s always gone natural and it looks fantastic. We’ll get there eventually, Sandee!

    Fish Out of Water June 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Love your hair! I desperately tried to get that in high school by getting a perm. It didn’t quite happen the way I expected, like most things in high school. It was hideous. My hair was meant to be stick straight, but I will always yearn for curly locks.


      Thanks Fish! You were probably one of those girls I yelled at in high school when they got perms: “What are you DOING????? Why would you perm your hair, it’s so nice and straight!!” They thought I was nuts.


    Just came back from see Brave to read this post! Oh Madame Weebles you are timely and connected with the current happenings. I quite enjoyed the movie. I went with my 11 year-old daughter who is having “mom issues” at the moment. She didn’t like the movie cause (I think) it was a little close to reality for her. We talked about the lessons and I hope it does helps her understand her mom’s perspective on things. Or at least try to understand…


      I’m sorry your daughter is having a rough time, Merlin. Being an 11-year-old girl ain’t easy, that’s for sure (not that being an 11-year-old boy is a cinch either). But you sound like a great dad, and I hope your chat helped her.


        It is the eternal kid challenge – boundaries need to move as they grow. And from their perspective the boundaries never move quick enough. We all lived it in some form or another. This too shall pass. Thanks for the kind thoughts :)


    BFFs are the best. Glad you and your curls made up. =)


    I always hated my hair because if it got long it would look like Barry Gibb:

    Now that I’m bald(ing), it’s actually a huge relief.

    But I realize that solution wouldn’t quite work for you. Luckily I love your hair.


    Saw the movie last night. It is hard to believe it is animation when you can see EVERY HAIR INDIVIDUALLY on her head. Amazing animation. Okay movie. Awesome curly hair.


      Pixar’s animation technology really is unbelievable. The level of detail never ceases to amaze me. So basically Princess Merida’s hair is the star of the show, right?


    I want to be your younger self’s curly-girl role model ;-)
    I have crazy, small child-eating, it has its own agenda, dark brownish red, curly hair that I love. And what’s more – my husband loves it too, even first thing in the morning when the rest of the world turns and runs for their lives.
    Embrace Messy Hair. Own It. Rock It. Love It. Amen.


      Welcome, Andi!! I wish you could have been my younger self’s curly-girl role model too, that would have been excellent. You’re obviously my hair twin, since my hair has been known to snare small children and animals as well. It is She Who Must Be Obeyed. And although I’m not sure if Mr. Weebles especially digs my hair first thing in the morning, he’s stopped pointing and laughing, at least.

    the howler and me June 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    LOVE red hair, and I have always wished for either curly hair OR straight hair. I am somewhere in between…. Wavy, frizzy – weird. No blow drying… no product… Most of the time it kinda looks like a rats nest….


      I love red hair too—I have to get mine out of a bottle but I don’t care. :) Hair is strange stuff, isn’t it? Even though it’s technically dead, it has a life of its own…


    Hi Madame

    I can remember my mum and sister spending all sorts of time trying to infuse their hair with curls. Unlike theirs, mine just bent in ever direction possible quite naturally. In fact, I secretly suspect Medusa modeled her look on me (before 10am).

    I’m sure Brave is in my future. Disney is adept at creating and breaking trends, so you might have a lot more curly company soon.

    Glad your at peace with your hair :)



      I dunno, Nigel, your hair looks pretty spiffy in your Gravatar photo. No Medusa snarls in there. It will definitely be interesting to see if Brave causes a surge in the number of girls who want curly hair—I hope so, if only for the little curly girls out there now who stare longingly at the straight hair of their friends.


    I just spotted a new photo. Great acting by those Weebles. You just don’t see that kind of acting everyday, they put so much into their every performance. And is that a Clue piece that I spot? Are we due a Clue based series?

    When I was at University in Leeds there was a pub called the Colonel Mustard. It was outside the Waddingtons factory where Cluedo was first created. It had the various rooms and even a secret passageway.

    It seems appropriate now to say, Cheers!


      It looks convincing, doesn’t it? The Weeble in the pool of blood kept asking me about his motivation for the scene, which was annoying, but in general they were both very professional to work with. The axe is actually a charm—yes, I have axe charms. I thought about using the meat cleaver charm that I have but the axe won out.

      But now you’ve got me thinking I’ll need to do a Clue/Weebles series of photos. You’re a freaking genius, Nigel. And I’m pretty sure I would have lived at the Colonel Mustard.


    My hair is and always has been so straight I had to have the perm solution stay in it for two days and the curls were still all gone in a week. That’s why my heroine has always been another curly redhead with a beautiful voice–Bernadette Peters.


      I love Bernadette Peters. Although I guess I wasn’t impressed by her hair when I was a kid, I was too enthralled with Cher. And if it’s any consolation, paralaxvu, just like your hair doesn’t take a perm, my hair refuses to straighten for very long. The two times I had it relaxed chemically, it was straight for about 2 days and then it started frizzing and kinking up again. :(


    Loved the post and can totally relate. I, spent years fighting my curly hair and have come to love it. WTG Disney on the curly hair heroine. It’s about freaking time.


    I’ve wasted my money trying to get what you have naturelly. I have very thick traight hair. I would curl it only to have it all fall apart 15 mins later. I’ve since learned to accept its never going to have the beautiful corkscrew curls I wish it would. The clip of your hair I saw made me jealous :D Oh and on a completely other topic. I love the weeble pics, specially the one you have of the murdered weeble. Am I corrected in concluding you take the pics yourself?


      Hi Mrs. Peacock! I think we’ve all wasted tons of money on this sort of thing, haven’t we. I’m sure if I saw a photo of your hair I’d be jealous myself of your beautiful, thick, straight hair. And thank you for the comment about the Weebles pix! Yes, I take them myself—it’s a lot of fun! :D


    wow! I love your hair


    Oh, I want curly hair! I have terrible fine, thin straight hair that lies on my head like a wet blanket. Sigh. Your curliques look lovely


    I wasn’t aware it was possible to dislike curls.
    Which reminds me… *frowns* does this look a bit high to you?!
    *poking at widow’s peak*


    i had harpo hair until i started losing it.


    I never really thought about it, but you’re right. With the exception of Lil’ Orphan Annie, there aren’t a lot of naturally curly heroines.

    Curly hair is sexy. Don’t sweat it!


    Yay curls! I am looking forward to that movie. I too took a long time to get to loving mine, although mine are looser and wavy. The straightener was my best friend for years upon years. For a long time I also thought I was blonde.

    When I wear it curly, people say it looks wild/sexy, and I know what you mean about the roles. Does this mean you are always sexy and wild? I hope so, haha.


    Oh you got curly hair. You lucky girl :) Beautiful! I wish I had hair like Esperanza Spalding.
    Cher certainly had a thing with half-finished dresses.


      Cher was the height of glamor to me back then, those dresses fascinated me too. I like Esperanza Spalding’s hair very much—I have a friend whose hair looks almost exactly like hers, and it looks great.


    Mine’s red, and it’s long, but I don’t have your lovely curlicues. Instead, I have a natural wave and a few tons of hair. In high humidity, it frizzes out until I look like a deranged lion. Fortunately, I don’t have a problem with that look. Nobody messes with me… :-)


    I have curly hair and grew up loathing it even though old ladies that reeked of lavender would praise it all out of proportion. That only made me hate it more, but I made peace with it when I started college and we’ve been cool with each other ever since. Now if only I could get used to the whiskers that sprout out of my face seemingly overnight. I need to see “Brave”.


      Ugh, the lavender-scented old biddies. Yeah, nothing like praise from them to make you feel even worse. I’m glad you and your hair are friends now too. It’s a big deal. But don’t get me started on those fucking chin whiskers.


    My hair is stick straight, except for when it’s really short and the weather is humid. I always, ALWAYS, wanted curly hair. Not wavy, not shampoo commercial hair, I wanted CURLY hair. The only reason I never got a perm was because I’ve seen so many awful ones that just look like bad perms, not like the curly mass that I want. So this straight-haired girl is jealous of your curlicues.


      See, I always wanted the shampoo commercial hair! It was so glossy and shiny and smooth. Sigh. Nature is a cruel bitch.


        Shampoo commercial hair looks like Barbie hair to me, and you know what happens to Barbie hair when you try to comb it. Disaster. So my thinking is, if I had Barbie hair, I’d never dare to comb it, and soon I would have leaves and dead mice in it, which wouldn’t be attractive at all.


    I love your curlicues! I has some when I was younger, nice big curls. But now my hair is just so boring and frizzy. Not perfectly straight, but not wavy either. I wish it would be one thing and stick with it! Princess Merida’s natural hair is awesome! It’s like on fire!


    i was smitten with Cher as well, but more for the lithe, breastless body – unlike my lumpy, gigantic-breasted self. oh, and that signature ‘flexed arm hang’. i still use that one when i’m doing my Cher impersonation…. the tongue thing, too.


      That’s the one thing missing from that photo, the tongue thing. But otherwise it’s all Classic Cher. She’s pretty much the only person on earth who could wear Bob Mackie dresses and not look like a 50-lb sausage in a 2-lb sack.


    Interesting how people want what they don’t have. … Meanwhile, I’m trying to catch up from being on the road and busy of late.


    Oh you girls and your hair woes! I love girls with curls. I don’t know why so many hate them.

    Medusa is a great role model for curly haired children anywhere. I love references to women with snakes for hair!


    I have always wanted curly red hair instead of my straight brown stuff. Curling it myself was always such a pain in the ass so I even got a perm when I was 13. Big mistake and also a pain in the ass! So now I keep the straight and color it red :)


    Curlicues? Never heard that word before. Interesting.

    When I was a toddler, I had the Shirley Temple do. But I’ve never been able to get my hair to go into perfect curls. It’s just a frizzy mess in the summer and it goes fairly straight in the winter. Growing up and until recently, I longed for very straight hair. Then I realized I actually have beautiful hair (go figure) and I love it just as is. Wish I had known that 20-30 years ago :(


    Oh My God!! this is so me. now my hair have turned wavy from downright curly but it took me time and one straightening process to fall in love with my own curls!! loved it!!


    I remember Crystal Gayle from when I was a child and how DESPERATE I was to have hair that draped luxuriously all the way to the ground. Visions of Rapunzel danced through my head…but alas, you can the woman out of the curl, but you can’t take the curl out of the woman, so I proudly own it, especially when I’m out of form ;-)


      Amethyst, so good to see you! I can’t believe I forgot Crystal Gayle—she was another one with fantastic hair, you’re absolutely right. But I’m glad you’re owning the curls too. Keep it real, sister.

    goingtoandromeda July 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I would love hair like yours! I have straight, fine hair but wear it curled almost all of the time to the point people are surprised it isn’t natural. It involves a fine-tuned method of rolling it in rags, sleeping, unrolling, sleeping some more to flatten it…and eventually I get nice looking curls that will last 2-3 days. I don’t mind the effort, I just wish it was rain/humidity proof. Nothing sadder than a good head of curls dripping into a straight mess and vice versa!


      You must have some serious skill at this point to be able to get your hair to curl for that long. I feel your pain on the humidity issue, though—nobody’s hair is immune to being ruined by clammy, humid weather. :(


    omg – you literally have me laughing out loud and desperately needing to get to the bathroom, of course, I had to ‘testify’ first. Good thing I can still hold my bladder.


    As a curly-haired goddess, I could totally relate. I used to want stick-straight hair, but now I sort of embrace my “just rolled out of bed” look. People ALWAYS ask me how I style my hair (they’re dismayed when I tell them I did nothing) and dudes love it.


      I totally feel you, sis. I do very little to mine–conditioning, scrunching, done. And the dudes do love it, except that I remember once a guy I was dating tried to run his fingers through my hair and they got stuck. Not really the stuff erotic movies are made of.


    I wholeheartedly agree! While I still let my hair be straightened when I go in for a little pampering, I embrace my curlicues on a daily basis. We are actually a whole family of curlicues, and were quite pleased to see Princess Merida kicking some butt! I’m always amazed at the lack of dolls and characters with curlicues for my kiddos.


      Well hello there, Little Miss Wordy! You are obviously a great curlicue mother. Represent! It really is a shame that more children’s characters aren’t curly-haired. Hopefully Princess Merida will inspire others in the future, because we need more kickass curly girls!


    Don’t mind me…. just scrolling through your blogroll. Nothing stalkery about it. *whistles unmenacingly*

    I was drawn to this post because I too suffered with, then later embraced my curly hair. I spent the better part of a decade ironing the hell out of it – it’s kind of amazing it didn’t fall out in big, crispy chunks in the late 90’s. Then when I hit 30 (nearly a decade ago…. FUCK), I decided to lay down my flat iron, and bring out the satellite dish sized diffuser. My curls and I have been friends ever since. Curlicues unite!!!!

    It’s about time Disney pulled its head out of its ass. Next, I think it should have a heroine with stretch marks.


      Well hello there, Linda J! Welcome!! Yeah, all those years of fighting with the curls, getting tendonitis of the elbow blowing it straight, frying it with the iron, turning it into straw with chemical relaxers… it’s a wonder we’re not bald, right? Here’s to embracing The Curls, sister. And I’m totally on board with your idea of a Disney heroine with stretch marks.

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