I’m Really Sick Of Hearing About The Gender Gap

I’m a feminist. (Duh!) I love equality, and I think it’s immeasurably important. BUT I’ve been reading some articles on the gender war and gender gap, and I have to say that I think a bunch of these arguments are getting a bit ridiculous.I read an article today on Jezebel about this large gender gap in upcoming movies for 2013 that addressed the issue of lack of girl protagonists in childrens’ movies.

The argument was sparked by this post on “Reel Girl” that shows 21 childrens’ movie posters for 2013, and only 4 feature a female protagonist. Margot Magowan started “Reel Girl” in 2009 to address the issue of portrayal of women in media.

Magowan alleges that these movie posters are widening this gender gap, but I think we’re making a mountain out of a molehill here. She chose movies that are remakes of stories or sequels. Is Hollywood going to change the story of The Hobbit to make the protagonist a woman? No because that’s not the story from the book that was published in 1937.

Boo battled Randall and won. HERO. Source: xits-a-bittersweet-lifex

Boo battled Randall and won. HERO. Source: xits-a-bittersweet-lifex

Are they going to change the Monster’s Inc. prequel, Monster’s University, to include female protagonists that we haven’t seen? No because it wouldn’t make sense given the original story of Monster’s Inc. And Boo is a protagonist/hero in that movie, but clearly she doesn’t exist yet in Monster’s University. Same goes for Batman and Tarzan. These original stories don’t have female protagonists, so why would the stories be completely altered?

Magowan explains, “Of the 4 movies starring females, just two are titled for the 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.

First of all, why is it considered “brave” to name a film after a female? That is utterly absurd to me. I’ll rattle off a few recents: Anna Karenina, Hanna, Salt, Alice in Wonderland, Coraline, Juno, Nancy Drew, Elektra, Catwoman, Frida and the list does in fact go on. I’d also like to point out that Disney changed the title from “Rapunzel” to “Tangled” as a marketing strategy because they actually wanted more boys to watch it so they changed it to widen the audience. Oh and remember that awesome movie Brave that came out last year? It wasn’t called Merida because Brave is a mass-appealing title.

The Tangled story is also pretty different from the original. In the original version, Rapunzel is visited by a prince who then immediately asks to marry her, and they plan an escape that goes horribly wrong. In Tangled, Flynn Rider does help Rapunzel, but she’s not without her own heroic story-line. She saves him just as much, if not more, as he saves her.

Jezebel argues, “As for how it leaves girls feeling, this is probably something many of us can relate to. As a child, I strived for the perfection of a Disney Princess, perhaps subconsciously knowing I’d never achieve that.” Am I the only one who didn’t believe that I had to act and look like a Disney princess as a kid? Surely not. And who’s to say that girls aren’t looking up to successful women of today to “strive for perfection” and realize they can’t? Are girls who dream to be president one day somehow better off than girls who want to emulate a princess? I find something very off-putting about that.

And let’s look at the Disney Princesses, shall we? Cinderella defied her crazy step-mother to do what she wanted. She took a risk. Did she fall in love and want to marry a prince? Yeah, but so what? Why is that bad? Ariel was the odd-one-out of her sisters. She had her own interests and explored and again, took a risk. For love? Sure. But also for herself because it’s what she wanted.

Jasmine didn’t want to marry who her father set her up with. She fell for someone else on her own and stood up to her dad. Mulan went off and fought in a war for her country despite the wishes of her family.

Magowan uses the term “Minority Feisty” for the female characters that appear in movies. She says that “I call the Minority Feisty ‘Feisty’ because that is, invariably, the adjective reviewers use to describe the ‘strong’ female character in an animated film. ‘Feisty’ is diminutive.” What?! I call myself feisty ALL the time. Am I being sexist to myself?

Here’s the Oxford Dictionary definition of feisty: lively, determined and courageous. And it generally applies to someone of small physical stature, which makes sense when applied to girls or women because generally speaking, we are physically smaller than men. The words lively, determined and courageous are not bad descriptors.

I don’t think the gender gap doesn’t exist, but I think there’s this push to create a bigger issue. I think women are finding reasons to say, “Sexist!” and it’s not getting us anywhere. How about fostering the idea that women can be screenwriters and filmmakers and make their mark in the cinematic world instead of calling every movie that doesn’t prominently feature a female protagonist a sexist movie?

Do you think that movies are sexist toward women? Is there a gender gap in movies? What about in other forms of media? Tell me in the comments!

Posted in: Beliefs
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  • ssd

    you’re not a feminist you idiot.

  • Anni

    I really truly believe that women deserve their rights just as much as men. But just because we aren’t featured in every little thing doesn’t mean it is sexist. It’s generally because the female doesn’t have the most promonant role in the movie( i.e. spiderman). If Mary Jane was placed on all the movie posters with the title Spiderman right next to her face. I am almost positive people will turn to that poster and say,” Huh?”. Also this women who is calling all of these movies sexist needs to realize a) she’s probably the only one that feels this way and b) that none of those movies are sexist, those women are just not the most important characters in the movie.

  • Angel

    What in the world Imma girl and i did even consider those movies as sexist …. y does this website make almost everything seem bad lighten the fuck up

    • Artemis95

      Dear Genius,
      While I understand your complaint about the articles on this website frequently overreacting by calling things “sexist” when that is simply not the case, and have complained about that myself, I simply must ask: DID YOU EVEN READ THE TITLE OF THIS ARTICLE? It says plainly that she’s “Really Sick Of Hearing About The Gender Gap.” If you bother to actually read the first paragraph, she says that “a bunch of these arguments are getting a bit ridiculous.” The whole article points out the fallacy in the argument of a DIFFERENT ARTICLE that says the movies are sexist. So please, do us a favor, and don’t complain when you don’t know what you’re talking about. Otherwise, you end up complaining about the fact that the author of this article AGREES WITH YOU. Unless, of course, that was your intent, in which case, may I suggest some form of psychological evaluation?

  • LittleRedWolfGirl

    I totally agree with you, that’s ridiculous. Personally, I liked that they called the movie ‘Tangled’ instead of ‘Rapunzel’, because it was more creative and unique instead of just ANOTHER princess movie names after that princess (Snow White, Pocahontas, Cinderella, and, even though she isn’t a princess, Mulan). It’s been done, and it’s not sexist to give the movie a more creative, catchy title. ‘Brave’ is a great point: there is no way anyone could ever call that movie sexist or anti-feminist. I’m a total feminist, but that doesn’t mean I think EVERYTHING needs to be about women or girls. Feminism means equality, and that means the guys still get their place in the spotlight. It does bug me when so-called feminists go looking for something to nit-pick about, even when there isn’t anything there.