In 2012, I waited until the last possible minute. It wasn’t until December that I posted Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing from Children’s Movies in 2012. Even though in the age of the internet, the facts were impossible to miss, I kept hoping that, somehow, I’d overlooked something.
This year, I’m going to face the upcoming year of multi-million dollar sexism marketed directly at my three daughters– ages 3, 6, and 9– head on, in January.
Of the 21 movie posters for young kids, only 4 appear to feature a female protagonist; 16 appear to feature a male protagonist and 10 of those movies are named for the male star. In one case, “Peabody and Mr. Sherman,” the movie is titled for its 2 male protagonists.
Of the 4 starring females, just two are titled for that star. It’s the small budget 7 million film from Moscow, "Snow Queen", that was brave enough to name its film after a female. “Frozen” is the title chosen for Disney’s version, the same movie studio that changed “Rapunzel” to “Tangled,” to obscure its female star. Fittingly, in the poster for “Frozen,” the woman’s image also fades into the background.
Both “Dorothy” and “Epic,” buffer the female on the poster with males, Epic with a constellation of them and “Dorothy” by listing no less than 7 males at the top of the poster.
The poster for “Planes” may look mysterious, but it comes from the producers of “Cars” which had a token female in a group of males. The preview for “Planes” doesn’t show a single female character.
From the position of characters on the poster in “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,” it looks like the male is the star, but maybe, hopefully I’m wrong. When you look at the poster, try to imagine a gender flip, the female in front and the male’s legs and hip in the female’s red-carpet-ready pose. That image will make you laugh.
If you are going to argue that there could be strong females in all of these movies, even if they are not the star of the movie, that’s not the same. Please read The curse of the Minority Feisty in kid’s movies.
“Saving Mr. Banks” is coming out in 2013 but does not have a poster yet. On imdb.com, it’s described:
Author P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood as Walt Disney Pictures adapts her novel Mary Poppins for the big screen.
That movie could be really cool. But why, why, why is the movie called: “Saving Mr. Banks?” If there is a female protagonist in this film, could she be concealed anymore? I know the androgynous “P.L. Travers” is how the writer’s name is shown on her books, but Mary Poppins came out in 1934. The writer had to use the initials to sell her book. Of course, J.K. Rowling opted for the same tactic years later, but hasn’t her success done anything for women writers? The year is 2013. When are writers going to be able to come out as women? Finally, and I hate writing this, and I hope that I’m wrong: From what I see on the internet it looks like the protagonist of the movie is, in fact, Walt Disney played by Tom Hanks.
There’s a movie I’ve heard of with no poster and I’m not sure if it’s coming out: an indie, English dubbed release of the French movie “Ernest and Celestine”
I have not yet seen any of these movies. As I’ve written about a lot on Reel Girl, movie posters are their own media. Even if a kid doesn’t see the movie, she sees the ads everywhere. She hears the movie titles.
The posters below are found from Google images. There are multiple posters, and I chose the one I’m predicting that I’ll see around town. Whenever I see a movie poster on a bus or wall with a female character solo, front and center who is not surrounded by multiple male characters, or when multiple female characters are shown, I rush to post the sighting on Reel Girl.
As you look at the posters below, ask yourself: Who looks like the star/ leader/ protagonist of this movie? What would this poster look like if the positions, number of male characters, and title references were switched to female characters?
So here we go.
For a look at Magowan’s collection of 2013 children’s movie posters go here.
Margot Magowan started her blog Reel Girl, because as the mom of three young daughters, she was alarmed by the sexism in children's movies, and the games, toys, and clothing mass-marketed to kids based on those movies. Reel Girl is dedicated to imagining gender equality in the fantasy world. Reel Girl's posts have been featured on, written about, or linked to major sites around the web including The Week (best opinion),Jezebel, Shakesville, Blogher (Spotlight Blogger), Forbes.com, Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, Adweek, Ms., Bitch (best posts of the internet), SFGate, and many more. Margot’s fiction is featured in the anthology Sugar In My Bowl edited by Erica Jong. (Ecco 2011), and she is currently writing a Middle Grade novel about the fairyworld. Margot's articles on politics and culture have been in Salon, Glamour, the San Jose Mercury News, and numerous other newspapers and online sites. She has appeared on “Good Morning America,” CNN, Fox News, and other TV and radio programs.
Republished with permission.