Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's a Girl Thing

Mulan, I love your movie, but I'm wondering...



I was reading a blog on workitmom.com and it really got me thinking.
But let's flashback first:
When I found out I was having a girl, one of my first broad and overly-naive mommy statements was that she wasn't going to be all "pink'ed-out". I was not a girlie girl. You kind of have to be pretty and dainty to pull that look off, and I didn't have a dainty bone in my body. I never liked the girlie girls, to be honest. And red-heads look stupid in pink, so I think I subconsciously shied away from that color. I made a conscious effort to buy my baby-to-be some clothing in yellows and blues and greens and the occasional purple. Then she arrived, and I was too busy trying to stay afloat in the churning seas of new motherhood to worry about what color onesie she had on. Who knew so much would cease to matter so quickly? Whatever, as long as when she got older she didn't watch a million Princess movies and turn into wispy, helpless Disney girl, right? God forbid.
2 1/2 years later, I've come to the conclusion that we're not in any real danger here.

However, we do like the Dinsey Princess collection, just a little bit. Those Princess Jammies that I decried in a long-ago blog post would be the treat of the week for her now. We'd have to bathe her in them.
I don't find it surprising that most movies are about little boys, male characters, or male-centered. Most of the makers of movies are male. Usually the female characters are allowed to be funny, smart, or have a great round-house kick...but they're still the side dish more often than not. Either that, or it is all about her... and the sparkly crown on her head.
We watched Beauty and Beast one recent rainy day (I loved that movie!) and I was rather disappointed to discover what a stinkin' wuss Belle is. "Oh no! Don't take my father!" (Grab Gaston's arm, fall off helplessly). "Oh no! Don't kill the beast!" (Grab Gaston's arm, fall off helplessly, repeat. Well, at least she reads.)
The blog I was reading referenced a great article on NPR.org, a letter to Pixar, asking for some chicks in their flicks who were, well, not princesses.
I actually had to sit and try to think of a movie I knew, geared towards children my daughter's age and older, where the story was about a girl who was just a girl. Not the daughter of royalty, or marrying royalty for her reward at the end, etc. Let's see...
Um, Mulan? Daughter of a decorated war hero, but she holds her own. Of course, she does so by pretending to be a man...cross-dressing jokes aside, part of me feels that she negates the whole girl-power mojo by pretending not to be a girl. I know, she had no choice, standards of society, yadda yadda.
I realize that many of the Disney flicks are based on fairy tales, and many fairy tales were centered on the royalty because they were the A-list celebrities a long time ago (once upon a time?) I'm not talking about movies like The Incredibles, either, where it's centered on a whole family. I'm trying to think of a feature film about a girl. Like, "this is Jane, and this is what happened to her."
I want to see a movie about a girl who's a professional dirt biker. Or a construction worker. Or an painter. I am moderately aware of childrens' movies, teaching elementary school. But I can't think of a movie that Maddie would really dig - one that little girls would want the jammies for - off the top of my head, and that bugs me. Honestly, I know princesses sell, but shouldn't there be one? Is there a movie out there that's centered on a girl who has no inclination towards the throne?

4 comments:

crazyoatie said...

I completely agree with everything you said. Hollywood is still a man's town, even with all the women working in it. It's because movies are still made for that oh so lucrative 18-24 male demographic. Very very frustrating.

cyndee said...

Well, I am a girly-girl, so my input is probably meaningless, but long before Disney took over our lives I was READING (I know, crazy concept!)the Little House books, Nancy Drew, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, The Little Princess, The Secret Garden. Oh! What would summer have been without them? My advice: Turn the TV off and let her revel in the books and music she loves anyway. In a couple of years she'll get to read about all those great ladies! (And if you just can't help yourself, you could get the Veggie Tale story of Queen Esther!)

Megymelly said...

Well seeing as she's a little young to sit through the Anne of Green Gable series at 2, I'm sticking to the Boynton and Carl and Shannon. But there's big plans for all those books down the road. Believe me, she's not plopped in front of the TV all day, I'm just looking for rainy day/Movie night movies.

cyndee said...

I wish for the life of me I could remember what I did with my kids before the invention of the VCR! I think rainy days back then were just a big pain in the butt! :-)

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