Apparently I’m on a movie kick, but I couldn’t resist sharing this great article in Newsweek exploring the subtle sexism in recent kid movies.
…One in four female characters was depicted in “sexy, tight, or alluring attire,” compared with one in 25 male characters. The female characters were also more likely than men to be beautiful, and one in five were “portrayed with some exposed skin between the mid-chest and upper thigh regions.” Because you wouldn’t want to take on the world without baring your midriff—girl power! (Another study found, troublingly, that women in G-rated films wear the same amount of skimpy clothing as women in R-rated films.) One in four women was shown with a waist so small that, the authors concluded, it left “little room for a womb or any other internal organs.” Maybe we could carry them in our purses?
No wonder young girls are reporting body image issues earlier and earlier. Not only are fat females treated by the filmmakers as lesser or non-sexual grandmothers, but the girls we’re supposed to emulate are hyper-sexualized with giant Hentai eyes and Angelina Jolie pouts. And to think we all blamed Bratz dolls!
You know, I honestly cannot think of a sympathetic fat female human character in an animated kid’s movie. There were fat people in Wall-E, of course, but it was pretty offensive stereotyping. I think Mrs. Potts eventually turns into a fat human, but for the majority of Beauty and the Beast, she’s tableware. Arguably, one of Sleeping Beauty’s fairy friends is a plus-sized fairy, but that movie is old than my grandmother. Likewise, Hyacinth the Hippo. Dora the Explorer isn’t a svelte lass, but she’s also like six. And there are never fat princesses.
Then there’s Ursula the Sea Witch. Love her.
You know, she’s the first fat villian who really has some power. The other fat girls in Disney movies are either fairy godmothers (who twitter a lot) or singing teapots. Up until Ursula, the female villians were all tall, angular women with pinched faces (Cruella DeVille; the Wicked StepMother in Snow White; the aunt with the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp; Maleficient, who is also awesome for rocking that head gear) and she ends up embodying ultimate power (and, you know, getting stabbed by a boat, but whatevs).
But the fact remains that Ursula is still evil, and definitely not sympathetic. In fact, the only plus-sized female main character in recent memory is Princess Fiona, who is introduced to us first as being thin and Cameron Diaz-y and then her plus-size state is explained by her having been cursed. Seriously. Cursed! And the only reason she ends up being ok with her state is the fact that her man loves her best when she’s all green and belchy.
Let’s discuss in the comments!
Posted by Weetabix