You’ve heard it all from me before. Basically, if you added up all of the speaking time of the female characters in “Turbo,” you might get 5 minutes of dialogue. “Turbo” reminds me of “Ratatouille” in that animators really seem to believe that it’s easier to convince audiences a talking rat can cook, or a snail can win the Indy 500, than a female character can be a great chef, a champion racer, or the star of her own movie.
Here are my three daughters reviewing “Turbo.”
Reel Girl rates “Turbo” ***SS*** for gender stereotyping
A note on Reel Girl’s ratings and gender stereotyping. I’ve seen comments about movies I gave a high S rating to (“Monster University” and “Despicable Me 2” most recently) that the male characters in these movies are not typical males. They are complex. Therefore, the gender stereotyping isn’t that bad. I strongly disagree with that assessment. I don’t see the lack of complex male characters as a problem in animated movies for kids. From “Toy Story” to “The Lion King” to “Ratatouille,” there are great male protagonists. Not only that, there are so many male characters in these movies, heroes and villains, cool dudes and geeks, athletes and artists, on and on, that kids get to see all kinds of male representation. Female characters, on the other hand, are barely there, passive, and sexualized. Females are erased and seeing that repeated pattern negatively affects both girls and boys. I can’t think of a better way to address stereotyping of male characters than to show kids strong females who are the stars of their own movies, with males helping and supporting them on their quests.