Wednesday, April 2, 2014
The hidden meanings in kids' movies
I was brought up in a Disney world. I probably know most of Disney and Pixar's kid's movies. I loved them, and still do actually. They made my imagination go to incredible places and taught me many things about right and wrong, etc. But growing up, I now see all the things that they did not teach me, that they induced me to believe. First of all, being a girly-girl type of child, I was a huge fan of princesses, I wanted to become one, it's a s simple as that. I saw poor Cinderella, or Snow White who were poor slaves and who found the perfect guy, who happens to be a prince, and who saved them from their misery. And tadam, they became a princess. Hum, that doesn't sound very realistic, and certainly not feministic. I wasn't raised to think like that, my mother being a feminist and earning more money than my father. My mother was the one to work late and my father was the one coming home early to take care after me, cook the meal for us all, and wait for my mum to come back home after her long day of work. So I had the chance to see that a woman can do things on her own, and that her goal in life isn't to find the perfect husband who will take care of her. But I can only imagine how a little girl whose environment was somewhat more "traditional", which doesn't mean that her mother and father had a non-equal kind of relationship, would want to aspire to be like that princess. Now, I know that girls eventually grow up and won't believe in prince charming forever, but I believe that many girls do internalize this kind of concept which tells her that no matter what she does, a man will be perfect for her, that he will be the one taking care of her because she can't make it on her own, since she is ONLY a woman. This misleads women into being passive in life, putting men's desire first, because they know better. They will accept things they shouldn't for their marriage's sake, or simply because they were lead to believe that men are men and women are women, that it is normal that there are some differences between them. They probably won't even feel that this system is unfair to them. Don't take me wrong, I am not saying that men shouldn't take care of women, I'm just saying that men should take care of women just as their women should take care of them. It makes me wonder to what extent did these old kid's movies deliver the right messages as to women's emancipation and equality of the sexes.
Needless to say that if those movies deliver a wrong meaning to girls, it also delivers a wrong message to boys, who will feel it their role and duty to man up and behave manly, which implies that they will feel that they are the only ones who can help girls, so that there is an unconscious kind of superiority in the things they are able to do compared to girls, and which also implies that they must be stronger. This is bad for many reasons. It is bad because it is a pressure on boys, and obviously men, that they have to fit to the society's idea of what a man is, and also the fact that they should use their force. This means that boys will feel like violence is a men's thing, and that it is their role to perpetuate it, since it shows how virile they are. And this leads to things such as men using violence in general to face their problems, and also violence against women, be it physically or morally, since they were taught that they know better than women, who have to conform to their ideas.
The more recent movies for kids have changed. They have empowered girls as protagonists,which is great. They are generally girls who fight for their independence, like in the recent movie "Frozen" or "Brave", which I love. But many recent movies show girls/women as warriors, who replace men, who are more powerful than men. And I wonder, to what extent are they not a reproduction of what the old generation of kid's movies did, but with now a girl doing what boys used to do? Was that the aim of it all? A girl becoming like a boy? I thought that the older movies were harmful to both the image of the boy and girl... Why is it suddenly better to be a girl? Is it better when girls are the ones who behave violently? How is it ok to make children feel that violence is the way to deal with things, be they boys or girls? Is that what women's empowerment is about? I don't think that equality of the sexes is only a matter of women empowering themselves... What will it change in our society if women change, but men don't? Isn't gender issue a social problem that concerns any individual, woman or man? And what is the message delivered to boys when they see that girls are now the ones who held the power? Won't they feel threatened? Won't they be lost? Just like girls used to be? Shouldn't we try to redefine the meanings of both manhood and womanhood? And could it not be done simultaneously? In a way that really shows equality, and care, and love, and not in a way that show a constant battle between the sexes? Because I thought that the aim of girl power was to give equality and respect to both genders, not to say that both are equal but are in opposition... Why can't we want the same things for women and men? Why can't we all be against violence? Why can it not be that women AND men fight against bad things together, the two of them being equally powerful, as two human beings? Because if racial or cultural discrimination is unfair, then gender discrimination is too, be it towards men or women. Then why isn't it condemned? Why can't the image of man and woman be like the image of two people coming from different countries? Both distinctively different, but fundamentally the same.
I recommend that you watch this video called "The hidden meaning in kid's movies", a speach made by Colin Stokes, which inspired me to write this article:
Have a great day and keep your mind sharp!