Recently everyone is talking about how movies are sexist and causing children to hate themselves or aspire to be the sexist stereotypes we see in films.
Do you agree?
Firstly, I want to admit that of course there are some movies that are completely sexist, but we need to bear in mind that literature is far more sexist and yet it doesn't get the media attention of being a bad influence on children as they grow up
I am an equalist (if you would like to know more about what that is, click here to watch my vlog) so I truly believe in gender equality, and I intend to raise my kids to not fit any of societies sexist stereotypes. However, I am a huge movie buff, and I watched so many different movies as a child that never influenced me to become a stereo-typically 'weak' woman, or 'crazy' woman as the media is saying has happened. So I am just going to go through a few movies from my childhood that have been viciously attacked recently for no reason.
So firstly - Disney Movies:
Okay - yes, there is a theme in many of these movies of the princesses being saved by their princes. However, many are based on fairytale stories and legends from hundreds of years ago - so don't attack Disney for making fairytales sexist when actually he changed and lessened the sexism in these. As we know, many of the fairytales that Disney made into movies were originally a LOT darker than what we saw in his films. Sleeping Beauty was raped, Ariel was discarded by the prince she loved - the original storylines were far worse than anything we saw. Secondly, it isn't always the prince saving the princess. I really hate it when people say that Frozen was the first Disney film that shows you don't need a man to save you....ahem.... Pocahontas? Mulan? Tangled? Just to name a few....
As a kid, I always wanted to be Jasmine, or Meg - strong, feisty, independent women. I never wanted to be a soppy, weak woman... and I never felt these movies made me feel like I had to be one. If anything, these films exposed me to the strong women that I would aspire to be like.
Let's move on to the physical aspects of sexism in Disney movies, shall we?
YES, the princesses have unrealistic body-types - they are animations, so this will always be the case. I never watched these and thought to myself 'I need to be super skinny' - the only one thing I did want that these women had was voluminous hair.
On a side note, I am also going to mention Kim Possible as television series that has a great female protagonist throughout.
Secondly, women in film:
Yes, in the 50's women in film were displayed in very stereotypical ways - however, this was due to the era; the 50's was not just a sexist era, it was a racist, homophobic, and generally discriminatory time - so movies created then really reflect this. So let's move on to our generation, and our movies.
I'm going to mention the movies that influenced me growing up, and they are things such as;
Tomb Raider - a kick-ass, strong woman.
The Mummy - an incredibly intelligent woman.
The Terminator - a woman with attitude and fighting for what she feels is right.
Kick-Ass - Hit Girl. Just... Hit Girl.
So, if you are concerned that the movies your kids are watching are having a negative effect on their views and how they should act - start showing them the many movies that have strong female characters for them to aspire to be.
I really find that sexism towards men in movies is far greater a problem than sexism towards women. Men in movies tend to fall under the following categories; tough/fighter/warrior, nerdy and sweet, the good guy that gets no girls until the end when the women realise he is nice (I have a real issue with the good guy theory - the friendzone theory - as these guys go for women based on their looks instead of girls that they have things in common with or good personalities - so are they actually good guys, or just shallow men that think they are amazing because they won't hurt or cheat on these women?).
As time progresses more and more movies with strong female characters are being made, however, men's stereotypes in movies remain. This reminds me a lot of societies sexist views - women should be treated with respect, but men are still judged if they do not fit into a specific role in life.
If we want sexism to end, full stop, then we need to bear in mind every aspect of sexism. We need to fight for sexism against both genders to stop, and we need to ensure our children are watching and reading things that show you don't need to conform to a certain type of personality according to your gender.
So what do you think; is sexism really an issue in movies, or are we just watching the wrong movies? Is sexism against women in movies a larger issue than the sexist roles forced upon men?
Comment below, as it would be great to discuss this.