The curse of Barbie is alive and well in children’s cinema

For all the assumptions about how innate “gender” is people seem to put an awful lot of energy into programming proper gender behavior in children based on what’s between their legs.

It seems to me that a great deal of gender is pretty unnatural given how much effort is put into telling people what is the correct “gender behavior”.  I was working retail until very recently and I saw the effort people put intoinsuring little boys were macho tough guys and little girls were princesses with the little boy wearing t-shirts that said stuff like “Here Comes Trouble” etc and little girls wearing “Princess” and “Born to Shop” t-shirts.

Granted this is Texas but this sort of thing seems universal at least in certain lower middle working classes.

I’m on the mailing list: Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and I got pointed to this.

The Independent UK:

Continued use of distorted female stereotypes as ‘eye candy’ blamed on male-dominated industry

By Susie Mesure

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Blockbuster movies are perpetuating negative female stereotypes, according to a new study that shows women barely get a look-in on the world depicted in children’s cinema.

Men, or male characters, dominated the 122 biggest-grossing family films released in the three years to September 2009, American researchers found, prompting campaigners to warn that children are getting a lopsided view of life at an impressionable age.

In the male-centric universe of the silver screen, a woman’s role is as “eye candy”, where her looks, age or what she is wearing matters more than what she does, the report found. Geena Davis, the actress who campaigns for gender equality, said she was shocked by the findings. “Zero progress has been made in what is specifically aimed at kids,” she said. “What children see affects their attitudes towards male and female roles in society. And, as they watched the same shows and movies repeatedly, negative stereotypes are imprinted over and over again.”

From the young, blonde and beautiful Alice, in the 1933 animation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, to the slim and busty Princess Fiona in Shrek the Third, wasp-waisted female characters have long landed all the big parts in Hollywood. Even the summer hit Toy Story 3 was branded “carelessly sexist” for its negative depictions of women in the film and prevalence of male roles: for every seven male characters, there was just one female.

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