Time Magazine’s “Gods of Food” of story features zero women. That’s right, ZERO. Here are the gods.
Now, take a look at these chefs from the children’s movie “Ratatouille.” Do you notice any similarity in the pictures?
The photo above is actually missing the two male costar chefs of the movie: the rat, Remy, and his BFF, Linguini. Here they are.
Oh, wait. There’s another male chef featured prominently in this children’s movie, Remy’s idol, Auguste Gusteau.
If aliens landed on our planet and picked up a copy of Time magazine, they would think that men do all the cooking in the world.
Here’s the thing: children are kind of like aliens. They’ve just landed on earth, and this is the world grown-ups show them? A fantasy world, created with children in mind, no less, where females go missing. “Look, honey, you can grow up to be invisible! That’s right, daughter, it’s more likely that a talking rat can become a world class chef than a female human child.”
You think I’m exaggerating the lesson kids are learning here? See that one female chef in the second picture, looking sad in the background? Her name is Colette, and she actually has a monologue in the movie where she bemoans the sexism of French kitchens. Parents are supposed to hear that speech, smile, and think: “You see, there’s a feminist in the movie! Isn’t that great?”
I call Colette’s character the Minority Feisty, and there are clones of her in most children’s movies made today. She is a “strong female character,” and there can be more than one in a film, but she’s always in the minority compared to male characters. Her role is usually to help the male on his quest. Like a First Lady, she cheers him on and gets to give him a kiss. Still, when parents see the Minority Feisty, they’re grateful and somehow miss that instead of teaching a 4 year old all about sexism, it would be much cooler, and more effective, to show kids females actually doing stuff– having adventures, taking risks, solving problems, and being heroic. Like, for example, instead of Colette’s 2 minute talk, why not make a movie starring a female chef and her female rat BFF with a female mentor, cooking in a room of females? Or at least, a room half full of females? Because, believe it or not, girls are one half of the kid population, but if you were an alien and you saw the G movies on earth– whether they featured humans, animals, toys, fish, robots, cars– you would think girls were a tiny minority on this planet.
Another thing drives me absolutely crazy about this cooking sexism. In kidworld, rumor has it that cooking is a girlie thing. “Girl” toys and dolls involve cooking, while “boy” toys and dolls– whoops, I mean action figures— involve fighting and stuff. So how come everything shifts and cooking becomes a guy thing? Seems like if cooking earns money and acclaim, then abracadabra, it’s for the opposite gender. The same is true for all kinds of gender stereotypes that dominate kidworld, for example, the belief that girls are artsy and verbal (the latter referring to reading and writing, not actually speaking.) But how come female writers get designated to chicklit? if girls are so artsy, why are the “great” artists are mostly men? Check out this image from the Guerrilla Girls.
The truth about this stereotype is that we prefer our girl children quiet, with a nose in a book, coloring, or doing something “girlie” like that. While, you know, boys will be boys, loud and misbehaving, with all their “boy energy.”
Gender stereotypes of kidworld have nothing to do with innate ability and everything to do with social status. Sadly, we perpetuate those made up differences in movies made for kids and brainwash a new generation. Take a look at this video from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media.