The Hidden Meanings in Kids’ Movies: Messages to Girls and Boys

Watching The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars with his son and daughter made communications expert Colin Stokes wonder about the stories we celebrate. Thanks to a growing awareness of gender representation, the world is now safe for girls in armor – but is the hero journey we’ve gotten used to inherently limiting? This funny and thought-provoking talk from TEDxBeaconStreet will make you look twice at your favorite films.

  • CJ99

    While there’s some excellent points I think in parts his presentation is a bit simplistic when he describes rapists as movie characters who “defeat villains with violence for the reward: a woman with no friends & doesn’t speak”. While that’s common in the kids movies he alludes to are often like that, the real world where sexual assaults occur is not. A good idea would be examining movies outside mainstream american disney movies. Two movies which easily pass the bechdel test are Appleseed: ex machina where 1 of the 2 main characters is a woman, the prime minister is a woman along with several others only 1 of whom remotely fits the typical american gender role. Another example would be vexille where again where 2 characters who dominate the onscreen action are both women the conversation of neither is dominated by a guy (there is a boyfriend involved but he’s absent for more than half the movie). In fact it turns the classic alice in wonderland movie on hits head in some ways. One last couple of points I wanna raise is this: the wizard of oz movie he referenced being probably the best version in the minds of most of us being mostly non-violent (which is good) is hard to do in movies since it does limit what stories can be told. Unless the movie is a mirror of the real world (not always a bad thing) but at least for me I’d rather live real life than see it in a movies. When I see a movie (and I do that often) I’m looking for a different experience. Lastly (yeah I’m gonna shutup soon) I don’t think what the presenter said is a bad thing at all but it’s only a start of the discussion.