The Rearing of the Childrens

Today instead of imparting you yet more of deti’s wisdom, I request a bit of help.

In my non-blog writing, I’m at a point where I need to explode the myth that men and women are different only because that’s how we’re socialized.  I’m refuting idiots like this.

However, one of my biggest challenges is that I’m largely ignorant of children’s movies, television programs, and books.  I’m aware of plenty of you-go-girlism in young adult stuff like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but for the under ten crowd I’m lost.

So I request your assistance.  I’m looking for stuff that either promotes the idea that girls=good/boys=bad, stuff that encourages girls to be aggressive action heroes, or that encourages boys to be soft and sensitive.

If you’re aware of a children’s movie, show, book, or game that does this, please leave it in the comments.  A quick summary of the way in which it’s socializing kids would be helpful but isn’t necessary.  Also, although my emphasis is on more recent stuff (from within the past 20 years), if you know of something older put it down.

I much appreciate any examples you can provide.  I know my overall point is right, but I’d much rather not have to waste my time watching stupid cartoons to prove it.

More enlightening posts to resume shortly.

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43 Responses to The Rearing of the Childrens

  1. Disney’s “Aladdin” starts off with a bratty princess with a doofy dad, who wants to go out and have adventures, despite being an INCREDIBLY privileged little trust-funder. The movie never really addresses this; she continues to be an entitled brat.

  2. Alan K says:

    Hey, Martel.

    It’s great that you’re still fighting back against the insanity—admitedly, I’ve lost any interest in debating with the crazies who insist on fashioning their own reality from thin air.

    [TL;DR Explanation: Blank-slate thinking (0% nature, 100% nurture) belies a rejection of the Creator and His purposes in favor of (wo)man as self-defined god with absolute humanistic self-sufficiency. This impass quickly resolves into a debate about (lack of) faith because there is no ‘philosophical proof’ of God that will convince an unrepentant mind. So, where do we go from here? Nowhere, aside from a faithful witness to a wayward soul. And then we move along. This explains my cynism toward debate. YMMV—and I hope that it does!]

    Popular children’s programming extends far beyond cartoons. I immediately thought of two older examples of (mostly) live-action fare that are still highly regarded: Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. The father figure in each film is gruff, broken, ineffective; needing salvation. The female lead is full of light and wisdom and nurturing love; she saves the man and all of his children from a life of misery.

    With this perpetual theme of male inadequacy, what must a child conclude?

    Keep at it, my friend!

    • Martel says:

      I’m fighting the crazies, although not trying to persuade them. It’s the people who unknowingly follow them I’m trying to persuade. A lot of folks think they hate feminism but actually agree with it.

      When it comes to the innate differences between the sexes, I agree that you have to be willfully obtuse not to see them. However, my opponents do present arguments (albeit bad ones) in favor of their view, and to do what I’m doing I’ve got to address them.

      Of course, their case is horrible. For example in the video at the link (which disappeared in the last week) it kept using Gaston from Beauty and the Beast as an example of masculine sex roles being forced on boys, failing to mention that Gaston is a buffoon.

      The two movies you cite come from the early/mid 60’s, the time when Hollywood was getting just a bit more openly subversive. Since then, it’s gotten far more open about it. I’m hoping to find a bunch more examples so as to prove it.

      • Alan K says:

        The Spy Kids franchise fits your target pretty well. Sky High is another example. Butt kicking girls and simpering boys/men everywhere in these offerings.

      • Martel says:

        I can’t wait to look into some of this stuff!

        I didn’t mean that, but I appreciate the guidance. Also, good to see you here again, Alan.

      • Alan K says:

        …been hiding under a rock as much as possible; dealing with social decay within my own immediate family. How does the old citation go? “We have met the enemy and they are us.” Something like that. Anyhow, no need to go looking for trouble; it’s all around. I let far too much garbage slip into my home; and I can attest that the danger is all too real.

      • Martel says:

        My prayers be with you.

  3. ballista74 says:

    Frozen, Tangled, Dora the Explorer are three that come to mind immediately…really you can stab at any of the fare marketed for children that teaches the idea of incompetent authority. My suggestion is that you find a video rental store (if you can) and look at the children’s section. Numerous titles will jump out at you. Most of the fare over the last ten years has preached children’s disrespect of parents. But a lot of it preaches the general ineptitude of men, and “you go girl” ‘s women. Hannah Montana manages to knock out both at once.

    • Martel says:

      Noted, noted, and noted (and Hannah Montana noted–nice to see how classy Miley turned out, eh?).

      I’d love to try your video store idea, but I haven’t seen a Blockbuster in years. Maybe I’ll check out the movie section of Best Buy or someplace like that.

      • Ra's al Ghul says:

        all Disney movies from 1990 on.

        (note most of them have absent mother figures) but the dads are by and large goofy, the antagonists are almost always male (little mermaid being an exception).

        Beauty and the beast is the best example, a beautifully done movie but the heroine is strong, sacrifices herself for the father, the beast has to be tamed, the villain the handsome self center Gaston.

        Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney or was on is a prime example, goofy dad, nerdy brothers, snarky “cool” girl.

        as a counter example though is the Disney “Phineas and Ferb” The boys are the brains and adventurers, the mom is clueless (the dad is goofy but not often seen) and the older sister is a sneaky rat.

  4. ballista74 says:

    When I mentioned that the titles will jump out at you, it will basically be titles where females are predominantly featured in the artwork. Reading the description on the back will confirm – if a female is predominantly featured, it will likely be sure to fit your criteria.

    Also, seconded on Sky High.

  5. Stingray says:

    Brave. While ultimately the message is good, it took pains to get there. The dad is a strong loving brute, whom is portrayed as smart/dumb. I can’t think of a better way to describe it now. The heroine is supposed to marry and doesn’t want to and of course all of her suitors are bumbling idiots. At one point, this large lumbering hunk stands up and you can see her excitement at the prospect of him being one of her suitors only to find out it is not him. Only a bungler behind him. I find this part incredibly ironic as when she sees the hunk, her protests of not wanting to marry stop for a moment. You can get the idea of this by only watching the first half hour or so.

    The dad isn’t too bad. He’s handsome, strong and tall. He is the leader, but one knows that the wife “lets” him and that she is the more “grown up” parent. I rather like the father really but *wink wink* mom is more intelligent.

  6. I found this: http://www.mrc.org/articles/nbc-promotes-princess-boy-propaganda
    Cheryl Kilodavis, “My Princess Boy”
    Try books on bullying?

  7. Look up any 80s and 90s cartoons and books. In the early 80s they were generally egalitarian and slowly progressed to go-grrrl-ism from there. Works especially well because the very same people who were raised on those cartoons are the ones complaining about how cartoons supposedly encouraged stereotypes in their generation.

    Humblebrag: The only ones I was exposed to were Xena and BraceFace, though. /humblebrag

  8. Roe says:

    Rio 2 – see Stefan Molyneuxs analysis on Youtube.

  9. Peppa Pig
    for example episode funfair

  10. roe says:

    I’m pretty steeped in kids programming right now (2 girls 5 & 7) and what I see is not necessarily “girls good/boys bad” but more like “girls are competent, boys are kinda… just there.”

    Popular shows – Doc MacStuffins (Doc is a little black girl who is doctor to toys, mom is a real doc, dad is… I actually don’t know what he does in this show. Househusband, I think).

    Sheriff Callie’s Wild West – Callie is girl sheriff, the only competent or heroic figure on the show, everyone else (mostly boys) are kind of goofy.

    Sophia the First – Sophia is commoner who’s mom married up so she (Sophia) becomes a Princess. Actually, most of the antagonists on this show are the snooty daughters of the court

    Jake and the Neverland Pirates – about the only male-oriented show on Disney Jr., I think.

    Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse is… not at all a fit for gender role models or anything.

    Let’s see – on Treehouse we have…

    Mike the Knight – skews male as hero

    My Big Big Friend – not a fit for anything at all

    Octonauts – skews male hero

    My Little Pony – kind of a “males are just there” show – occasional cameos by Shining Armor, who is kind of classic male hero

    So, it’s kind of a mixed bag out there. Disney is definitely pushing hard for the princess/girl market with a lot of self-actualized female role models

    Most of the boys in our circle are into Star Wars, Angry Birds, Lego & Minecraft. Which is about what you’d expect.

    • Martel says:

      “‘girls are competent, boys are kinda… just there.'” Sounds like most elementary schools today, too. Beliefs in female superiority are rarely expressed explicitly, it’s more either rip on guys only (a la Mark Driscoll) or ignore them. Lots of folks think boys are just defective girls.

      Thanks for these.

  11. roe says:

    Also, a counter-example – my oldest is quite enamored with “How to Train Your Dragon” – two feature movies and two series. It’s got a very positive pro-masculine message.

  12. GregMan says:

    It’s easier to enumerate the TV cartoons that do NOT trash men: “Jonny Quest”.

    Other than that I got nuthin’.

  13. Exfernal says:

    “Kim Possible”?

    TV Tropes is a useful resource to peruse. You might try these (and related) examples first:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ActionGirl/AnimatedFilms
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ActionGirl/WesternAnimation

  14. Zach says:

    I know somebody already said Frozen and Brave, but I just had to add that all the liberal girls I went to high school with 20 years ago talk about these two movies on Facebook all the time. More Frozen than Brave. Frozen is pretty explicitly about gender roles, and in a complicated way. You should probably watch it intently if you are going to comment on it, and you kind of have to address it if you’re going to talk on the subject and not appear oblivious. When you’re done watching it, watch the Honest Trailer for it on YouTube. You found the right one if there’s a very sarcastic “Are you happy Jezabel?” line.

    I haven’t seen Brave, but feminists get so excited that she has a frumpy body. There was outrage when Disney included her with Disney Princesses but slimmed her up a little.

    How to Train Your Dragon celebrates masculinity, but the main character has none. In the end, he is still brave and makes his father proud. Watch it twice. Pretend the first time you’re a feminist who wants to see Hollywood stop glorifying aggression. You’ll find some stuff in the movie that makes you mad, but you can come to terms with the ending. Watch it again and pretend you’re a red piller trying to sneak in some knowledge that will get past the Hollywood old guard. Craig Ferguson did the voice that you probably think is Mike Meyers. He’s kind of a Gavin McInnes light – former punk who is now some kind of quirky conservative working in a liberal industry.

    • Martel says:

      I’m sure I’ll have to watch them, but fortunately I can put it off for a little bit. The part I’m writing now refutes that gender roles have been socialized into us. Later I’ll be supporting the notion that we’re all being socialized into becoming androgynous weenies. Similar concepts, but not quite the same.

      Of course, no matter what they try to get kids to be like through movies and schooling, certain things WILL. NOT. CHANGE. As our instinctive realities clash with socialized fantasies, expect nothing but chaos.

      I’m ethically required to thank you, even though in some ways I’d rather not. On one hand, you’re what pushed me over the brink and will be what gets me to actually watch these movies (and will therefore make my book better). On the other hand, I really don’t want to watch these movies.

      (but I can use your tidbit about the Fat Brave Princes now)

    • Robin Munn says:

      How to Train Your Dragon celebrates masculinity, but the main character has none.

      I’m not sure I’d say that he has none. Not by the end of the movie, at least. He exhibits none to start with, but by the end of the movie he’s thrown himself into danger, expecting that he’ll probably die in the process, in order to save his family and his village. Anyone who can give his life to save his friends, I can’t accuse of having no masculinity.

  15. And for the engineering power trip – Tinkerbell
    Lonely girl in a typically male dominated fairy skills department – tinkering
    Luckily she has a knack for this (even though she would love to be a Fast-flying fairy…)
    She saves the day every time (getting to spend some time with the fairy queen!)
    Also, her team mates are ye good ole nice guys

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