Last week, my 3 daughters (ages 5, 8, and 11) and I saw the preview for Dreamworks upcoming “Penguins of Madagascar.” A female has just one line in the entire preview. Ironically, she says: “Where’s the sound?”
Even before seeing this, I had an issue with the ubiquitous frat boy penguins. In the earlier film “Madagascar 3” (yes, three) one of the 4 brother penguins (yes, brothers) chides the others: “You pillow fight like a bunch of little girls.” Here’s that preview:
As I blogged after my kids saw that preview:
Why would kids need to hear a line making fun of how girls fight? What writer or producer or director could possibly think perpetuating that stereotype would be funny for girls to hear? Or were they, more likely, not thinking about little girls at all?…“Madagascar 3,” by the way, features the same 4 main characters as in 1 and 2. Guess how many are female? One, Gloria the Hippo.
Does Gloria get her a spin off movie where she is the protagonist? No, DreamWorks decided that the 4 penguin brothers should star in their own narrative., captioning their story: “When the world needs saving, heroes become legends.” I have a special sore spot for sexist spin offs. This is because, so often, when I write about the lack of females in movies like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Tintin, Superhero sagas, the list goes on, commenters invariably write me that the girls gone missing is nobody’s fault, it’s how the original story is. With a spin off, Hollywood has a clear an opportunity to create a new narrative with a female star, but what does it do? Manage to be even more sexist than the original. After 3 Shrek movies (yes, three) did Fiona get her own trilogy? No, Puss In Boots got his spin off film. That movie had a fabulous Minority Feisty, Kitty Softpaws. I’m still waiting for her spin off movie. I’m still waiting for the Wonder Woman movie, but what do I get? Batman vs Superman, because after all, we’ve only had 8 Batman movies and 9 Superman ones.
So, please, don’t tell me anymore that movies lack females because the cast of the original story does. And please, don’t tell me movies are sexist because that’s just how it is in nature. Animals don’t talk in nature, nor do planes or cars, and that doesn’t seem to bother anyone much. Hollywood is sexist because it’s run by men along with the rest of the world. Parents need to seriously consider if they want things to stay this way, if they want yet another generation of children to be conditioned to expect and accept a world where females go missing.