Yesterday, I took my three daughters ages 4, 7, and 10, to see “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.” We all enjoyed the movie. The animation was great, though the story was a little weak. I didn’t really understand why the evil guy had to do his evil deeds. But here’s the real problem with the movie. Here are the main characters:
There are 5 males and 2 females. The female ape, Barb, is the sidekick to the evil villain and the female human, Sam Sparks, is the sidekick for the hero. Sam is a classic Minority Feisty. She is a great character, smart, compassionate, and brave. She’s a scientist. But her role in the movie is to support the hero.
The last 6 movies I’ve seen with my daughters– “Despicable Me,” “Monsters Inc,” “Smurfs 2,” “Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters” “Turbo” and “Planes, all reviewed on Reel Girl, have the same pathetic gender ratio.
Females are half of the kid population so why are they conistently presented as a minority in movies made for children?
This year, I’m going to face the upcoming year of multi-million dollar sexism marketed directly at my three daughters– ages 3, 6, and 9– head on, in January.
Of the 21 movie posters for young kids pictured below, only 4 appear to feature a female protagonist; 16 seem to feature a male protagonist and 10 are named for that male star. In one case, “Peabody and Mr. Sherman,” the movie is titled for its 2 male protagonists.
Of the 4 movies starring females, just two are titled for the star. It’s the small budget 7 million film from Moscow, “Snow Queen,” that was brave enough to name its film after a female. “Frozen” is the title chosen for Disney’s version, the same movie studio that changed “Rapunzel” to “Tangled,” to obscure its female star. Fittingly, in the poster for “Frozen,” the woman’s image also fades into the background.
Both “Dorothy” and “Epic,” buffer the female on the poster with males, Epic with a constellation of them and “Dorothy” by listing no less than 7 famous male actors.
From the position of characters on the poster in “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,” it looks like the male is the star, but maybe, hopefully I’m wrong. When you look at the poster, try to imagine a gender flip, the female in front and the male’s legs and hip in the female’s red-carpet-ready pose. That image will make you laugh.
Author P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood as Walt Disney Pictures adapts her novel Mary Poppins for the big screen.
That movie could be really cool. But why, why, why is the movie called: “Saving Mr. Banks?” If there is a female protagonist in this film, could she be concealed any more? I know the androgynous “P.L. Travers” is how the writer’s name is shown on her books, but Mary Poppins came out in 1934. The writer had to use the initials to sell her book. Of course, J.K. Rowling opted for the same tactic years later, but hasn’t her success done anything for women writers? The year is 2013. When are writers going to be able to come out as women? Finally, and I hate writing this, and I hope that I’m wrong: From what I see on the internet it looks like the protagonist of the movie is, in fact, Walt Disney played by Tom Hanks.
I have not yet seen any of these movies. As I’ve written about a lot on Reel Girl, movie posters are their own media. Even if a kid doesn’t see the movie, she sees the ads drive by her on the sides of buses or loom above her pasted on walls. She hears the movie titles. Not to mention, she sees the protagonists on TV, cereal boxes, diapers, clothing, toys, sheets, and in video games.
The posters below are found from Google images. There are multiple posters, and I chose the one I’m predicting that I’ll see around town. Whenever I see a movie poster on a bus or wall with a female character solo, front and center who is not surrounded by multiple male characters, or when multiple female characters are shown, I rush to post the sighting on Reel Girl.
As you look at the posters below, ask yourself: Who looks like the star/ leader/ protagonist of this movie? What would this poster look like if the positions, number of male characters, and title references were switched to female characters? Why are females, half of the kid population, presented as a minority in children’s films? Why is the imaginary world, a place where anything should be possible, sexist at all?
So here we go.
Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing from Children’s Movies in 2013