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February 22, 2006

Comments

Christine

What surprises me is that the Olsen twins empire was based on the fact that no one in Hollywood was targeting girls of a young age and yet it has not been reflected immensely in films today. I am more concerned with the representation of female characters rather than the numbers. It is also sad that female roles are lacking for young girls and mature women in Hollywood. Anyone not 20-30ish and a playmate need not apply. It is sad that Hollywood still has a dominant stronghold on the female representations in our culture and they are usually far from reality. Women and mothers need to boycott films that do not represent female characters equally (we are half of the populous) and unjustly.

Sarah

The best film I have seen recently with a strong female role was Dreamer with Dakota Penning. Absolutely beautiful!

meritt

Truly... your kids will be fine. At that age they don't even care whether it's a boy or girl in the main role. They indentify with "children" in the roles, but not whether it's a boy or girl.

I look back at some of the things I fretted over when they were younger and I think "Wow. What a waste of worry."

Ms Sisyphus

There is nothing wrong with these people. They are simply mirroring the biases inherent in our male-dominated culture and repeating the dominant patriarchial patterns. What's wrong with the consumers for so eagerly and willingly buying into it?

linda

I notice this all the time, excepting, of course, movies marketing only to little girls. Like Strawberry Shortcake, for instance. And likewise, movies that are marketed specifically to boys usually have only boy characters. But in movies that are supposed to be non-gender specific, there is always a serious imbalance in favor of boys.

It's weird. And offensive. What is wrong with the people coming up with this stuff?

Kimberly

"However has anyone realized that Winnie the Pooh has only 2 females in it and the rest are males. Now granted they are stuffed animals tha live in the hundred acre woods.....but why?"

So far as I'm aware there is only one female character in the Pooh menagerie--the very Maternal Kanga.

As to the reason, it's because the characters were created by Christopher Robin, a little boy. A.A. Milne used stories based on his son's favourite toys as the basis for the Pooh stories.

Susan

I have to disagree with the findings linked to females roles in G rated movies - there are PLENTY of popular female movie leads, Disney has a whole cast of Princess characters!
Sleeping Beauty
Cinderella
Jasmine
Ariel
The list goes on and on... and just look how WELL they portray strong positive female role models (laughter thick with sarcasm).

Elizabeth Gray

I have a son so at the moment this is not an issue for me. However has anyone realized that Winnie the Pooh has only 2 females in it and the rest are males. Now granted they are stuffed animals tha live in the hundred acre woods.....but why?

Mainland Mum

Interesting post and comments! I've been thinking a lot about this lately (I posted a short post about it recently).
I would rate myself as moderate-to-very concerned about gender imbalance in kids' movies, but I am just as concerned about the quality of the characters themselves--a movie about a group of idiotic girls and one smart boy (or vice versa) wouldn't appease me.
I think it's crucial that girls see strong, self-reliant female characters in all forms of media (whether fictional or not) as they grow up (and that boys see nurturing, self-aware male characters). Nancy McKeon's "Facts of Life" character Jo Polniaczek, with her leather jacket and motorcycle, was a Godsend for me growing up flat-chested and acned in the image-conscious 80's. She was smart, tough, and didn't wear frosted lipstick--she was her own person. I hope that by having frank discussions with my kids about the BS expectations they will face based on their gender will, longterm, help them make some big decisions about who and what they want to be, whether it's a welder or a ballerina. If my kids are going to watch movies and growing up--and they are--I'd at least like them to absorb images that in some small way help them conclude that one's gender does not define what they must be.

Stephanie

I guess it doesn't really bother me. My daughter has strong female role models of various types, from "traditional" to non-traditional, in her life. I doubt she'll remember any of these movies in her adulthood, at least not to an the extent that it will impact her self-esteem or alter her life choices.

Stephanie

I guess it doesn't really bother me. My daughter has strong female role models of various types, from "traditional" to non-traditional, in her life. I doubt she'll remember any of these movies in her adulthood, at least not to an the extent that it will impact her self-esteem or alter her life choices.

They must think

Kimberly

Several of the major studios have had female heads in recent years--Sherry Lansing springs immediately to mind.

Gloria in Madagascar
Red and Granny in Hoodwinked
Miss Clavel and Madeline in Madeline
Ducky Lucky in Chicken Little
The chick in Robots
Meg and Lulu in The Pacifier
And I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it--say what you will about that wildly proportioned doll, Barbie's movies tend to portray strong, proactive girls.

Krisco

Whoops, I wasn't finished after all.

I meant to add - how about the fact the female characters that ARE there are - often - for instance - Princesses. Looking for a Prince. Literally.

Krisco

I am SURE this has to do with the lack of women in either the writing or decision-making roles in Hollywood. As Jerry Seinfeld says on his show (my oft-used frame of reference), he doesn't know how to write for a woman!

I am a little worked up about it.

How about the fact that the only female characters taht

Damselfly

The last G movie I saw was "Madagascar," and I loved Jada Pinkett Smith's character Gloria the hippo. She was a strong, positive character in the movie.

LauriJon

As a wife of a screenwriter I have to say it's Hollywood. Over the years there were two script he wrote with female leads. The first a movie about a secrect agent nun and the second was a children's movie about a bad elf and a naughty girl he had to reform. At some time in each script's development executives strongly suggested he change the female leads to male. Their belief, and unfortunately the belief of many hollywood execs is that female leads don't always draw an audience.

The only way to change this thinking is for more writers & producers & execs to develop material with strong female leads, and for US the movie ticket buying audience to GO to those movies.

Afterall, it's a business driven by box office.

Kimberly

I'm not too fussed by it, honestly. Other than the fact that I would have preferred no love interest at all in this movie, as I feel it veers away from the original intent of the stories. Plus, now that I'm thnking of it, why *did* we need a love interest? To stick a token chick in there so that feminists would be appeased? Or because our society still refuses to allow the male access to the role of capable, competent primary caregiver? If they had changed the to the Woman in the Yellow Scarf, as you suggest, I think I'd be hopping mad for just that reason.

I think the main reason for the gender disparity is the simple fact that little girls will happily watch and engage with a story that has a male character as the lead, while little boys often reject stories featuring girls. It's a dynamic that also contributes to the reading gap found between boys and girls--ironically, much of the greats of children's lit feature female protagonists, leaving boys to either tune out or become absorbed in Goosebumbs and the like.

Sabrina and I talk about how the characters are protrayed, and who does what and why. But they're discussions borne of her observations, not my politics. Which, with a severn year-old, is exactly how it should be.

I suppose I should stop here and disclose that I am a terrible adaptation snob--I opften refuse to acknowledge the existence of movies that have been bastardized out of beloved books.

Michelle

I'm just wondering what the stats are on female animators and women who produce and/or write G rated features.

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