Brave is out this Friday, and it's pretty clear that archery is having a moment right now. And with onscreen heroines like Katniss from The Hunger Games and Brave's Merida holding the bows, little girls are sure to be interested in the archery trend. I myself tried it for the first time at a Pixar Brave event, and I'm seriously hooked! In our interview with Brave producer Katherine Sarafian, she said she loves that girls are picking up the sport, and she never would have taken an archery lesson if it weren't for the movie. "We took classes early on, and next thing you know, I'm like, this is awesome! It's a powerful feeling. And if you can imagine really just being out there the way Merida is in the movie, just shooting arrow after arrow . . . it's cool!"
At the event, I chatted with Wired's "GeekDad" Jim MacQuarrie, an archery instructor, to get an insider's perspective on the trend. He told me that archery is the sport for people who hate sports (which explains why I liked it). He also noted that, in his opinion, girls are better at it than boys. "Boys just want to chuck arrows," he said, and archery is an internal game that requires a lot of focus and patience.
And unlike some other male-dominated sports, archery has a long history of women behind the bow. Even the ancient Roman goddess of hunting Diana (and her Greek equivalent Artemis) is known for having her bow, arrows, and quiver on her and is usually portrayed with her hunting dogs and prey. And the all-female Amazon warriors of Greek mythology and classical antiquity were believed to be named for a-mazos, or "without breast," a tradition of having your left breast cut off to make it easier to use a bow — talk about hardcore! Nowadays, there are a plethora of famous competitive and Olympic female archers, and onscreen we've seen a variety of fictional ladies take up the bow and arrow. Learn about Merida, Katniss, and more female archers hitting the mark in films over the years.