Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2013

In 2012, I waited until the last possible minute. It wasn’t until December that I posted Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing from Children’s Movies in 2012. Even though in the age of the internet, the facts were impossible to miss, I kept hoping that, somehow, I’d overlooked something.

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.

The poster for “Planes” may look mysterious, but it comes from the producers of “Cars,” a movie which had many more male than female characters. Tellingly, the preview for “Planes” doesn’t show a single female character.

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.

If you are going to argue that there could be strong females in all of these movies, even if they are not the star of the movie, that’s not the same. Please read The curse of the Minority Feisty in kid’s movies.

“Saving Mr. Banks” is coming out in 2013 but does not have a poster yet. On imdb.com, it’s described:

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.

There’s a movie I’ve heard of with no poster and I’m not sure if it’s coming out: an indie, English dubbed release of the French movie “Ernest and Celestine”

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

Monsters University

MU

 

Despicable Me

despicable_me_2_movie_poster_01

Smurfs 2

Chapter 14 smurfs-2

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson 2 Sea of Monsters

 

Leo the Lion

leo

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-movie-poster1

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

sherman

Frozen

frozen

The Hobbit: There and Back Again

kinopoisk.ru

Escape From Planet Earth

escape_from_planet_earth_ver2

Jack the Giant Slayer

jack-the-giant-slayer-poster

Oz the Great and Powerful

OZ-The-Great-and-Powerful-Movie-Poster-oz-the-great-and-powerful-31464719-511-755

The Croods

croods_xlg

Epic

epic

From Up on Poppy Hill

poppyhill

DofOZ_IDW_ad.indd

The Snow Queen

The_Snow_Queen_Movie_Poster

Planes

Planes

Turbo

Turbo Movie Poster

Batman The Dark Night Returns

batman-the-dark-knight-returns-part-2-poster

Tarzan

tarzan-poster

Girls gone missing: new previews

This poster for “The Hobbit” is all over downtown San Francisco where I just was with my 9 year old daughter and her entire class on a field trip. What’s missing here?

I know, I know, it’s not Hollywood’s fault. I should blame J. R. R. Tolkein instead. He created the series around mostly male characters. But before I go into Tolkein, I want to know: Have you ever seen an ad for a major motion picture featuring 13 female characters? Ever? Do you think all the other people passing by noticed that this poster is all male? Or is it so similar to all of the other all male, mostly male, front-and center male posters that no one notices that females go missing? It’s just a “normal” annihilation, kind of like a board room meeting at Facebook.

Here’s why J. R. R. Tolkein can’t shoulder the responsibility of sexism in 2012 USA:

(1) The gender imbalance is not just this movie, it is representative of a pattern, a gender matrix that Hollywood rarely breaks out of.

(2) Everything is derivative. Are we going to be reproducing sexism thousands of years from now because the Bible, the Greek myths, the classics, and DC comics are narratives created by men?

(3) Even when Hollywood makes a movie from a spin off of a character in a classic, time and time again, a male is picked as the new main character i.e. “Shrek 3″ led to “Puss In Boots.” The latest?

“Oz The Great and Powerful.” The life story of Oz, the fake ruler, the imposter. He gets his own movie. I’m sure it humanizes him very nicely.

The real ruler of Oz? That would be Ozma. When I was a kid, she was my favorite character in the L. Frank Baum series, because she was the real ruler of Oz, the rightful ruler, and also because she had dark hair like me.

Anyone ever heard of her? Do your children know who she is? There is a book about her. Where is her movie? I didn’t see the preview.