Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh please, Disney! Rapunzel doesn't need to be about a boy!!

I just read an NPR article that explains that Disney has added a "swashbuckling" boy named Flynn Rider and renamed the movie "Tangled" because it is worried that the movie would not otherwise be appealing to boys.

This on the basis of the fact that "The Princess and the Frog" didn't do very well at the box office. I loved "The Princess and the Frog," as did my THREE BOYS.

Disney is concerned that boys don't go to princess movies. Even if that were the case, who cares anyway? The enormous princess-obsessed megaculture of girls doesn't seem to be affected by this issue. And I do have a three-year-old boy who adores princesses.

As it is, girls have so few role models and positive stories about strong, feisty young women. Geena Davis, one of my favorite actors, has created an organization to advocate for better roles for women and girls in the media. Five years ago, while watching children's television programs and videos with her then 2-year old daughter, Davis noticed a remarkable imbalance in the ratio of male to female characters. She went on to raise funds for the largest research project ever undertaken on gender in children's entertainment. The research showed that in the top-grossing G-rated films from 1990-2005, there were three male characters for every one female--a statistic that did not improve over time. At the top of her web site is this mission:

“Kids need to see entertainment where females are valued as much as males.”

And the recommendations the organization makes based on the research they have conducted:
  • G-rated movies and certain TV categories need more females as main characters, minor characters, narrators, and in crowds.
  • G-rated movies and certain TV categories need more characters of color, especially female characters of color as main characters, minor characters, narrators, and in crowds.
  • G-rated movies need to create more female characters with aspirations beyond romance.
  • G-rated movies need to create more women and girl characters that are valued for their inner character, too.
I applauded Disney when it made "The Princess and the Frog." But now it's taken two steps forward, three steps back.


  1. We do need more female representation. I've never been into princesses that much (I was a huge Pippi Longstocking fan), so I'd love to see more girl adventure movies.

    P.S. - I thought I submitted this comment an hour or so ago, but didn't. Anyway, I've been enjoying your playlist. Haven't heard Old Dan Tucker in ages!

  2. I know Lizzi--Little House on the Prairie, right? Have you heard that album, Bruce Springsteen and friends singing old Pete Seeger songs? I love it!