I got this comment from Clare:
As a mother of 2 little boys I’m constantly struggling to find movies for them to watch that aren’t completely sexist. And it is frustrating because he is too young to have an opinion on what girls can or can’t achieve. I want him to grow up knowing girls an be strong leaders, smart and funny, not just pretty to look at. But hardly any kids movies give you a decent female protagonist worth bothering with. For me “Brave” was embarrassing as Pixar’s first female lead movie. Despite the film having a stereotypically “feisty” heroine (when is that word ever used to describe a boy/man?) it is still all about whether Merida will marry or not. Merida is seen as subversive, difficult because she won’t do as her mother asks and get engaged, but why not a movie where strong, independent Merida has a great adventure that’s nothing to do with romance like any number f her Pixar lead character counterparts? Also as Merida seems to be a young teen the whole idea of marriage is particularly creepy.
I’m glad Clare wrote in because, just like “women’s” issues, people tend to think sexism in animated movies is a girl issue. It’s not. What are our kids learning about gender when the males get to do all the cool, fun, brave stuff, when they get to be the center of attention, while girls are stuck on the sidelines?
Yesterday, my daughter brought a light up fairy to show and tell. She earned that fairy for reading her first chapter book, and she was proud of it and her accomplishment. A couple first grade boys yelled out, “Stupid! Boring!” The boys wanted to be clear that they wouldn’t be interested in something as uncool and girlie as fairy, Fairies, are sadly, on eof the few images we can find in our culture of magical females. Unfortunately, the boys’s reaction isn’t a rare reaction when girls show and tell “girl” stuff. How’s that for an early lesson in public speaking?
What if fairies flew out of the Pink Ghetto? What if kids saw fairies go on exciting adventures in narratives marketed to all kids? What if fairies didn’t look coy, with short skirts and shy smiles?
What happens when kids learn, from the moment they exit the womb, that there are girl toys and boy toys, and that girls are less important than boys? How does it affect who our kids grow up to be?