Sexism

Katherine - posted on 06/27/2011 ( 42 moms have responded )

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Ever notice how many movies don't have a female? Or they have the "token" female? I was just reading this blog in cafemom and she's talking to her daughter about Star Wars and how Princess Leia is the only female. Her daughter asks her why? I never really thought about this before until I read this.

It's true. So many movies eliminate the females. James Bond, Shark Tale, Finding Nemo, Star Wars etc......What would you tell your daughter?

Here is the link: http://thestir.cafemom.com/toddler/12230...

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[deleted account]

Strong females in childrens movies ... Jane, Terk and Kala (Tarzan). Mulan. Pocahontas. Dory (Finding Nemo). Belle (beauty and the beast)
What about Jesse in Toy Story 2 and 3. Even Barbie is pretty tough in 3.

Going older ... Avatar - Neytiri or Grace
Aliens - Ripley and Vasquez (I loved this movie when I was younger because the women kicked alien ass so much better than the marines and showed no fear).

Princess Leia is the leader of the rebel alliance. Hardly a token figure! Bear in mind we can now show them the prequel movies and show them that there were female Jedi. Remember the first Star Wars movie came out in the 70s before women held any strong positions in the military.

When the original Star Trek came out there was uproar about a female second in command. Since then there has been a female captain. Men still watched.

Movies have moved forward, my suggestion would be to show your daughters that.

Charlie - posted on 07/01/2011

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Bechdel Test Movie List
/bech·del test/ n.
1. It has to have at least two women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man


http://bechdeltest.com/

Interesting site for those interested LOL.

[deleted account]

Incidentally, you rarely see people in wheelchairs in movies. Or poor people. Or ugly people. Or overweight people....

[deleted account]

Yes HISTORY books... woman only gained the right to vote in the 1920's. Women were an oppressed minority and equality takes time.

I was watching TV the other night wondering what had happened to all the male dominant action heroes on TV. We've had Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, Dark Angel, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Nikitta...

Shows like CSI and NCIS all have strong female roles...

If you want to carry on believing we are the same oppressed women from the history books then carry on. I choose to see the positives of today not dwell on the inequality of the past.

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Katherine - posted on 07/01/2011

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Wizard of Oz
Pirates of the Caribbean
Honry, I shrunk the kids
Seinfeld
Fantastic 4
Flight of the Phoenix
Top Gun
Snatch
Matrix
Harry Potter
Toy Story

Jakki - posted on 06/30/2011

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OK can somebody now put on a list of movies with strong male figures over the last 30 years?

Charlie - posted on 06/30/2011

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Ok so someone on a facebook page(Authentic Parenting) just asked this question and I am going to copy paste everyones answers here as to movies with strong females in it.



Kill bill

Sleeping with the enemy

Erin brockovich

Tank girl

Labrynth

tomb raider

steel maGNOLIAS

The blind side

Hermione (sp?) Harry potter

V for vendetta

The witches of eastwick

Sara conner terminator

Made in dagenham

Buffy the vampire slayer

The contender

Girl fight

Million Dollar baby

Cold mountain

GI Jane

Thelma and louise

Fried green tomatoes



There are more but I am lazy LOL.

America3437 - posted on 06/30/2011

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@Krista E you are quite welcome!!! Rock on HeMan!!! and who can forget Sheera Princess of Power...lol..

Stifler's - posted on 06/29/2011

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European films are even better with the real looking characters. I'd rather watch them even if they have subtitles. The people look real, the story lines aren't totally unrealistic, there is actually a story instead of 90% special effects 1% story 9% big names promoting the movie.

[deleted account]

Geez, I hope no-one takes movies as their guide to real life! They're entertainment! And, in my opinion, not very good entertainment at that. But I say that bevause I don't like movies. Give me a good book any day!

Katherine - posted on 06/29/2011

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Ok so many of you think it's wrong. I hadn't really thought about the other female in Star Wars and I agree that the blogger has a somewhat skewed point of view.
Actually the more I think about it after reading the posts it seems like I was dead wrong.

JuLeah - posted on 06/29/2011

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I could have freed hundreds more if only I had been able to convince them they were slaves. Harriet Tubman

Charlie - posted on 06/29/2011

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ah yeah Xena was with that barabarian guy ....But yeah I get the relationship between Xena and Gabby.

JuLeah - posted on 06/29/2011

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Gabby married a dude in season two, I believe ... Xena was once married to a man as well. By season 3 they were ... involved, more so in season 4, but season 5 they were a solid couple, and I think that was also the season they had a child ....

Charlie - posted on 06/29/2011

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Hmmm I just watched Xena few weeks ( it STILL airs here )ago where Gabby married a dude .....

"Do you know what pisses me off? Skinny, beautiful, perfect looking women in movies. Its just not fair pmsl im going to sulk in the corner now "

I think this is the difference between American film and UK film .

I notice the UK actors are beautiful / handsome but they arent perfect and I like that.

I agree with Cathy ....I think people sometimes choose what they want to believe , if you look there are plenty of awesome female role models in film.

Krista - posted on 06/29/2011

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@America3437: Thanks for contributing, hon. You've really given us a lot to think about.

JuLeah - posted on 06/29/2011

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@ Jen
Uhhhh, Xena was veeeryy focused on who she loved.

Her soul mate, her life partner, her one and only. The Battling Bard ... Gabby, the mother of her child, her co-parent, her "even in death Gabrielle, I will never leave you."

Xena and Gabby are fondly remembered as one of the few solid TV couples ... the actors who played the roles are still respected for holding that relationship strong ... neither are gay themselves which caused a big fuss and stir in the straight community (I don't know why) but both actors are strong supporters of all things LGBQTA ... and often attend events, using their voice and status for the cause. or greater good as Xena would say.

The actors state that Xena and Gabby were married, though an actual wedding was never shown ... many of us are still waiting for the movie :)

[deleted account]

My son actually asked about this when I was having a grand time watching She-Ra Princess of Power on Netflix. I was explaining how much I enjoyed the show when it was on TV along with the show Isis and Wonder Woman. It wasn't common (still isn't) to see strong women as leads. XMen is a terrible cartoon in it's portrayal of women just as an aside. All they deal with is their emotional issues with the men on the team. Jean Grey is pathetic being bounced from one love interest to the next.

That's why i liked the above mentioned cartoons & shows (toss in Xena too) because the plots were not focused on who the lead female loved.

I also loved Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress book series. Strong female leads doing what heros or anti-heros or villans should do. There should be more but there isn't.

Maybe it's those pesky pronouns "he and she". ;)

JuLeah - posted on 06/29/2011

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I have a 14 yr old in my life. I picked up her history book and flipped to the index. I ran through the names and came up with about 15 men for every woman mentioned.

If them were the numbers, how did our birth rate get s'high???? Nah, there had to be more women then that ... but they are not mentioned ....

What kind of message does that send to our kids?

Krista - posted on 06/29/2011

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Hey, Leia wasn't the only woman in Star Wars! Everybody always forgets about Mon Mothma:
http://images.wikia.com/starwars/images/...

She was a Senator and the Supreme Commander of the Alliance, for pete's sakes. The phrase, "Many Bothans died to bring us this information" might sound familiar? ;)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/29/2011

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About the book thing...I think it is more about context then whether the author is male or female.

[deleted account]

Do you know what pisses me off? Skinny, beautiful, perfect looking women in movies. Its just not fair pmsl im going to sulk in the corner now

Jakki - posted on 06/29/2011

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I am with you Katherine and JuLeah... this is really something I have noticed. To those of you who do not believe this is so - I challenge you to watch the TV news and count how many men appear in the stories vs how many women. If you are alert to this, you'll be amazed! I'd say there are 10 times as many men as women.



And how about when it comes to the sport report - woah - you can easily go through 10 minutes of sports coverage and not see a single woman. Why don't they call it the Men's Sport's Report and at least be honest.



It is nice to see every now and then that there are major movies that do come out with a lead female in the them - but again, there are probably 10 times as many with a lead male.



And do you know what also annoys me? Nearly all men will only read books by other men, but women are happy to read books by either sex. If you don't believe me - look around when you're on public transport and check what novels people are reading! Why is it that men won't read books by women???

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/29/2011

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You would have tp live as a hermit to avoid all gener roles. I have more on this, be back.

JuLeah - posted on 06/28/2011

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@ Marina ... ouch.



Do you recall the studies done when efforts were being made to end school segregation?



They showed kids dolls, both white and black. They asked all kinds of questions, and the results were clear. Kids felt white dolls were smarter, cuter, better ....



Similar studies have been done regarding gender .... I worked in pre-schools and kindergartens for years and this issue came up a lot in my graduate studies in college.



When we are taught lessons prior to language, we internalize the lesson. We can't put words as to why we believe we just do.



We start teaching kids gender roles the day they are born when we put them in a blue or pink blanket.



You have seen the studies; I am sure, about adult reaction to infants based on gender.



They show an adult a picture of an infant with some expression on its face. When told the infant is male, adults define the expression as angry, or proud, or determined ... when told the gender is female (same picture) people define the expression as sad, or shy ....



Our beliefs about gender roles were taught long before we were able to critically process information and in our culture, what we are taught is that boys are smarter, stronger, better at math ...



By age 4, kids have gender roles figured out and you can hear kids talking about 'boy toys' or 'girl toys' and both groups understand it is an insult for a boy to be mistaken for a girl.



I am sure too you have seen the studies on gender and mathematics in school?



I have gone out of my way to expose my daughter to a different way of thinking, but she is bombarded with gender based messages and says things like, “Mama everyone knows boys do math better.”

So, unless we are really willing to look at this pre-lingual message we were taught, odds are we won’t even see it but accept its truth without question.

Stifler's - posted on 06/28/2011

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I think movies degrade people in general. In a lot of movies all the men are really stupid and the women are smart then in others all the men are smart and women are bimbos, there's usually not much of a balance. I can't say that I've ever noticed in a movie that all the characters were the same sex. Except lesbian porn.

[deleted account]

Its a movie. It is fictional and only there for entertainment. That is what I would and do tell my kids. Sexism? Really? There are plenty of women in movies, music, workforce, etc. it isn't sexism.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/28/2011

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Good valid point Sarah! I mean some pornos JUST have women in them! LOL.

Sarah - posted on 06/28/2011

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Shark Tale has 2 girls in it! (Although the Angelina Jolie character is a bit of a gold-digging slut! lol)

Honestly, I think it's ridiculous. There's loads of films with strong female characters, there's probably lot's of films with very few male characters too!

I think people need to stop looking for gender inequalities in everything and just enjoy the film ;)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/28/2011

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Juleah, I am not sure what you mean by "We are taught that boys are better at such a young age, we don't even know we believe it" Or what examples you may have to offer...I mean i think you might need to clarify for us dumb women....

I think you are not giving credit where credit is due. maybe the women that you know truly do feel equal, in there home, workplace, maybe they feel that it is indeed equal. There are definately physical (not just talking about vagina and penis) differences between men and women, and they don't need to be ignored or minimized for equality.

JuLeah - posted on 06/28/2011

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Finding Nemo ... humm ... Ellen

But for the rest, yah. This is why I think the pre-school going none gender is so amazing.

We are taught that boys are better at such a young age, we don't even know we believe it ... I can't tell you how many women I know that feel all things are equal between the genders .... that women are less is so deeply rooted, we don't even see .... and we teach it to the next generation.We have internilized this message, it is part of our make up.

We live in a world where they greatest insult you can offer a man is to call him a woman .... when that changes, then talk with me about how all things are equal

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/28/2011

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Dude, princess Leia is a leading role throughout the movies. She may be the only women in the original 3, be she is a bad ass! She is strong willed, smart, funny, weilds a weapon....wtf is the problem? Maybe cause there were not more of women in there, yeah ok. I will give you that. But the role she played, especially for the decade, was pretty great!

Amber - posted on 06/28/2011

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I'm not claiming that there isn't a difference, I know that there is. My point was that they are out there, and they'll only continue to be out there if we put our money where our mouths are. If we're going to male led movies, we're part of the problem. If we don't go to female led movies, we're part of the problem.

I like movies too much to not be part of the problem :) When they have good female led movies, I try to go to them. I also go to good male led movies...because as a society, girls are allowed to like masculine things but men can't do the same.
Half your potential audience (therefore earnings) have been eliminated due to gender conformity. They simply don't have those issues doing it the way they are.

I do have an issue with how much she dumped on her preschool daughter's shoulders. I think that's where most of my feelings towards this post came from. I just cannot fathom laying it all out like that and expecting my 4-5 year old to comprehend it, let alone still feel confident in herself as a female.
It's an issue that needs to keep being addressed so that equality will happen; preschoolers just don't need to be put in the middle of it.

Katherine - posted on 06/28/2011

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Very true Amber, there are movies that focus on women, but I'm wondering what the percentage is in the last 60 years.
Hmmm, runs to google.

Amber - posted on 06/27/2011

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I like the fact that her daughter is asking questions and that she is honest with her. But is it really necessary to drop all of that "reality" on a preschooler? I can't imagine having that talk with a small child.
I would tell my daughter that they are only showing the movie from one person's side. I'm aware of the inequalities, but that's not something that I think 4-5 year olds need to burden themselves with yet.

Unfortunately, Hollywood follows what the people watch. People haven't watched movies with female leads. They aren't going to make movies that they can't earn money from. So, we can't place all the blame on the men. If we aren't seeing the movies, it's our fault too.

She also delves further into how many women are in government and business. I saw a feminist speaker talk about this back in 2004 as part of my curriculum for the Junior Statesmen program. Her slogan is 50/50 by 2020. My roommate (brave soul that she was) asked why it wasn't more important to vote for people that could do the job, regardless of sex, rather than worrying about making it half and half. That woman went buck-o on her! How dare we discuss quality over quantity!

I can think of a few movies that focus on females:
Iron Clawed Angels
Now and Then
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Bridesmaids
Catwoman
Sex and the City
GI Jane
Million Dollar Baby
Kill Bill
Steel Magnolias

I don't have a daughter, so I can't think of a lot of kids movies. Plus, it's 1:30 in the morning...so my brain isn't completely in it :)

Bobbie - posted on 06/27/2011

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It's a good thing that movies are not the educational tool to be used with our daughters to guide them. The movies you named where written from a boys point of view or with main interests of boys. What I would tell my daughter about the Star Wars movie is that it is a solider movie about Luke and his battles. The Princess was just one person that he helped.
Reading books and knowing the characters before seeing the movie will help you see that there are many movies with females, strong, main character heros too, like Charlotte's Web. The princess and the frog, Tangled, Sherk,
Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella. The list is endless.

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