I freely admit that I am a fan of most kids’ movies, cartoons especially. They are the ultimate in escaspism for me. Which is why it always makes me sad when it’s pointed out to me the numerous flaws in their composition. (I say pointed out to me because I am so ensconsed in my fantasty world of kids’ movies when I leave them that I rarely take the time to view the genre as a whole.)
NPR’s Linda Holmes published a great column today about the lack of female main characters in the 10 Pixar films to date. Blasphemy I said! Not my Pixar. What about Helen Parr/Elastigirl in The Incredibles? Oh, right, the movie was really about Bob/Mr. Incredible. Ok then…. Well…no not in Toy Story….Nope, not in Monsters, Inc. What do you know, Ms. Holmes has a point.
And thinking about it, little girls haven’t had any strong, lead role model in recent memory that wasn’t a princess. In movies that I’ve seen recently, Reese Witherspoon in Monsters vs. Aliens is the only female around which a story was centered, and she wasn’t strong, independant, and plucky (like most male leads) until the end of the movie.
What are we telling our little girls with these movies? That there’s always a male of more importance? That they can’t be strong and independant in their own right without some sort of life changing experience? I don’t think that’s the message we want to be sending. Next time I go see a kids movie, I would love to see one with a strong, plucky female, such as Ellie in Up, as the center of the story, not just as a story generator. However, sadly, I doubt that day is anytime soon.