ParaNorman: what’s wrong with this picture?

Movie titled for its male protagonist? Check. Male/ female ratio 4:1 (mirrored by monsters/ dead people)? Check. Lone female sexualized? Check.

Girls make up half of the population of children, so why does Hollywood present them as a sexualized minority in movies for kids?

 Update to commenters: Nothing in the plot of this movie changes the sexualization of the female character. Or justifies that sexism for some greater good. Please don’t fall for Hollywood’s m.o. that there’s “a good reason” to marginalize females in animated movies. There isn’t. Sexism is not required for plot or humor, because “there are no female pirates in history” or original versions of adapted stories are sexist. In “Ratatouille” there’s only one female chef to four males, because that’s just how it is in the real world. Huh? It’s okay to make a movie about a rat who can cook but too many female chefs would be unbelievable?

Don’t read comments if you don’t want spoilers.

25 thoughts on “ParaNorman: what’s wrong with this picture?

  1. Margot, have you seen the new Ghibli movie? “From up on poppy hill”? You can already find it on the internet, with english subtitles.

  2. ” Please don’t fall for Hollywood’s m.o. that there’s “a good reason” to marginalize females in animated movies. ”

    1. This movie wasn’t made in Hollywood… it was hand-made frame by frame in Portland, Oregon from concept to completion by the incredibly talented people at Laika.

    2. It’s the best movie of the year animated or not.

    3. Have you even seen the movie? How on earth was the sister character “sexualized” at all? If anything she was an unattractive jerk almost the whole way through. It was actually a nice change actually from the “all the women are smart and the men are wimpy bumbling morons who get kicked in the balls or slapped by the feisty female love interest” approach (because kids, violence against men is A-OKAY if you’re a “tough independent woman”!).

    “It’s okay to make a movie about a rat who can cook but too many female chefs would be unbelievable?”

    And it’s totally fine according to you to have books and movies that feature all female casts with not a male in sight or, if they even exists at all, all the males are morons and serve no purpose other then comic relief (ie “Brave”).

      • I’m looking at the poster… she’s in a non-sexual modest long sleeve shirt leaning on the big guy in a non-sexual pose. I could understand your “concerns” if she was in a sleeveless shirt showing cleavage and belly or something but I think you’re analyzing something that isn’t there.

        • Hi Someguy,

          The female in the poster is defined in relation to the male. She is looking up at him, adoringly. Her role, like so many females in animated films and, of course, grown-up ones, is clear: She is “the girlfriend,” or “the wannabe girlfriend.” That, is sexualizing her.

          MM

      • “She is looking up at him, adoringly. ”

        Okay… so?

        “Her role, like so many females in animated films and, of course, grown-up ones, is clear: She is “the girlfriend,” or “the wannabe girlfriend.” That, is sexualizing her.”

        But she isn’t. Watch the movie before you make judgements.

  3. **SPOILER ALERT**

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    For all of you saying “you’ll be surprised”, sorry, but the fact that the jock character is gay does not change the sexualization and stereotyping of the female character.

      • I get that, but still, don’t miss on it, remember it’s from the same guys that made coraline…

        Speaking of movies, have you watched Brave yet? If so, what did you think of it?

        • Aninha,

          Yes, I saw Brave. I liked it v. much. By the time I saw it, everyone had blogged so much about it, I had done many blogs about the making of the movie, but I didn’t do a review but I think I will, after all, its Pixar’s first female protag ever!

          MM

      • Sure, I felt the movie had about 5 different subplots, all interesting on their own, that it could have followed, but because it didn’t choose which story to fully tell, it ended up not telling anything. It was disjointed after the marriage thing.

        Then there was the jokes, too many and all over the place, consuming valuable time. And I didn’t felt the resolution of the mother/daughter conflict satisfacting, they basically just spent some time together and I didn’t feel the magnitude of their differences could be solved that easily.

  4. go see the movie, then comment. there is another female character that isn’t shown (for good reason). Also the conflict is solved in a female-empowering way. No groveling involved, no forgiveness asked…

    • Hi Skeletal,

      I just responded to a similar comment. I would love for this film be empowering to females as well as males, but this poster is something my kids and I pass everyday. As far as a female not being shown “for a good reason” that excuse for sexism is way to common. For example, In Ratatouille, there was only one female chef, to 4 males, because that’s the way it is in the real world, so it was important to the plot. Never mind that animals talk and rats can cook, there’s always a good reason to marginalise females.

      MM

      • Perhaps I didn’t word my response clearly. She isn’t shown for the reason that it would really ruin the enjoyment of film if she were advertised with the rest. I do agree that the poster is bad. But is makes the boys look bad too. (Not that it makes it OK to make the female all doe-eyed and “needing to lean on” the MAN) But it makes it look like the boys are vacant/jock, fat/over-eaters, geeky/misfits or bully/thugs. this movie, like many others, feeds on stereotypes because that is what humans find easy. The poster is bad, yes. But see the movie with open mind/eyes. Don’t let the poster color your views. Most of the time, the producers of a movie have NO say in the promotion of a movie< It will be promoted by what sells to the general public. As I said before, stereotypes are easy for humans to identify and therefore make an otherwise clever movie look pretty stupid. And it is NOT a kids movie. Should have been PG-13, they only got away with it due to it being animated.

  5. Defined only in relation to males? Check.
    UGH, the way she is looking up at him adoringly (presumably her boyfriend) is making me sick. And judging by her tracksuit she is a cheerleader.