A day at the movies.
July 3, 2013
As I stepped into the cinema complex – it was utter chaos.
School holidays. What a nightmare. Kids everywhere – excited – and asking for everything.
I took my 10 yr old, her school friend and my 6 yr old, for a stint at the movies, to see Monsters’ University.
The cinema was full to the brim of super-energized children and their parents.
Nothing was on the screen at this stage.
It’s funny that when you go to a kids’ movie, you tend to get there early.
Why is that? So loud. Kids kicking into the back of your seat…
The first ads started to roll out – the still-photograph ones – promoting the local area.
To my horror, one of these ads was for pole dancing classes, with images of women dressed as strippers – one hanging upside own with her legs completely spread apart.
Behind me, two 7ish yr old-looking boys exclaimed, “Whoa!”
All the while girls and women are being told, it’s great exercise!
So why not in sports’ gear?
It’s grooming girls and boys. It’s Porn Culture.
So that was Gender Studies Lesson #1 for a lot of the children in that cinema.
Did they all see it? Or get it?
The two, 7 yr olds behind me certainly felt a reaction that their brains computed and filed somewhere, and I know my daughters saw it.
I was gobsmacked. It almost feels like they’re taking the piss.
Then we came to the ads for future kids’ movies. Coming soon!
- Planes (from the makers of Cars) – animated scenes from Top Gun in the ad. Boy planes talking about other boy planes.
- One about a snail (a boy) who wants to be fast and his dream comes true (fancy that). That one’s called Turbo.
- Smurfs 2 with ONE female – who needs rescuing from all the men.
- And a behind-the-scenes movie following One Direction around their world tour.
This leads us to Gender Studies Lesson #2: Almost all children’s movies will be about boys, leading boys fulfilling their destinies and boy worship.
Not girls or women. They can only (generally) be a support to helping him.
Yes – we did have Merida from Brave and what a wonderful, sassy, girl she was. I say ‘was’ because Disney are now remodelling her to look more ‘princess’ like, with a smaller waist, big doughy, cat-like eyes with long eyelashes…see below *sigh*
Left = After – – – – – – – – Right = Before.
It feels hopeless. They give us a wonderful story about a brave girl and her relationship with her mother (of all things) and then take it away again by wrapping her up in Barbie.
And then there was the actual movie, Monsters’ University. It was good in parts – it was about boys, boys, mateship, boys, boys, brotherhood, boys, boys, teachers…and one dominant female role – the meanie Dean of the University. Witchy like, but who was the best ‘scarer’ of her time. Can’t have it all (be the best AND nice), like the boys.
When we left the cinema, I did chat to the girls about why we keep seeing children’s movies that are SO male heavy and what ‘type’ of women/girls we all – boys included – soaked in.
In the few hours of our cinematic journey, the female representation we observed, was as follows:
- Ad: Stripper – sexual pleasure machine
- Upcoming movies: The only substantial amount of girls seen, in only one of four trailers aired, were screaming out their undying love (male worship) for the cookie-cutter boys of One Direction – the other needed rescuing.
- Movie: A secondary role of a mean, witch-like Dean of the University
- Movie: An even lesser role of a mother, in curlers, a mu-mu and doing the laundry
- Movie: There were some all-girl frat houses, but collectively were on-screen for about a minute.
I honestly can’t convey my disappointment.
Boys are so fortunate to see the same positive reinforcement over and over again – showing them how to tackle problems with the brotherhood…
Question #172: Where are the movies for our girls? Where are their role models?
And another thing – even though it could be done without it, they didn’t use the opportunity to use the plural possessive apostrophe after Monsters in the title. The perfect chance to teach everyone its use – like for Mothers’ Day.
So no grammar lesson for the kiddies either.
PS I lodged a complaint with the cinema and the Advertising Standards’ Board. I’ll keep you posted.