Monday, October 9, 2017

A review/rant (ranteview?)

Moses, Hazel and I went to see Captain Underpants this morning. It was fun (the part that I saw, at least; I dozed off in the middle, but this says far more about my appreciation of/need for daily naps than the engaging-ness of the movie), and I loved the depiction of George and Harold’s close friendship (the song that plays during the credits – A Friend Like You by Andy Grammer – is gorgeous). 

(I find it interesting that kids’ movies nowadays are so intense – everything happens quickly and noisily and bigly; do kids prefer that style more than gentle, quiet stories, or do adults who make kids’ movies just think that kids prefer that style? I don’t know. I like quiet, gentle stories. ANYWAY.)
This evening Mo was looking through a LEGO catalogue and talking about the LEGO Ninjago Movie he saw at the beginning of the holidays. Studying the pictures, I asked him if there was only one female in the film. “No!” he said. There was “Lloyd’s mum” as well as “the girl ninja.” 

“Were they the only females in the movie?” I asked him, along with, “Did they have actual names?” and “Did the two female characters have a conversation with each other?” From what Mo and Alan could remember, the answers were yes, yes, and no, respectively. We figured out it didn’t pass the Bechdel Test. Captain Underpants didn’t either; the four main characters were all male, and one of the two females seemed to be included purely so that a male character could fall in love with her (also: the non-love-interest character was a secretary. *pauses to allow for eye-rolling*). The two women didn’t talk to each other; they weren’t at all the point of the film.

We saw two previews before Captain Underpants for films called Coco and Son of Bigfoot, both of which are coming out in December, and both of which feature male leads.

It’s 2017. 

It’s 2017, and yet if Hazel wants to go to the cinema and see a protagonist who looks like (an animated version of) her, she scored 0/3* this holidays, and, judging by the previews we saw, will likely miss out at Christmastime too.** You know what message the movies are whispering to her already? Your story is not worth telling or listening to because you’re not male. Your experiences matter less than a boy's.

Please excuse me while I rage into my pillow.

*rages into pillow*

I’m so tired of hearing (and fighting against) this message. 

It’s the message I heard loud and clear as I sat in church for years (it’s also the reason I left; Christianity is saturated in maleness, from God the father/Jesus the son down to all the men offering their interpretations of the male-written-and-starred-in Bible in their sermons on Sundays. I was in desperate need of spaces where my voice – and Hazel’s – had a place).

It’s the message I hear while watching kids’ movies, and it’s EXHAUSTING. And FUCKING UNFAIR.

*rages into pillow again*

*weeps for a bit*

I’m so tired of this version of “normal.”


* I’m including The Emoji Movie in this count, even though it seemed to require an understanding of technology neither of my children have yet attained and therefore was never on our list of films to see. The preview showed that the main character in this one is also male, though, and I noticed tonight that it failed the Bechdel Test too (there’s a list of current movies down the left-hand side of this page).

** Hazel’s also WHITE and ABLE-BODIED; there are so many other girls in the world who aren’t even seeing characters like them on the big screen in crowds, let alone as the lead.*rages and weeps some more*


  1. you forgot the shopkins movie. 🤢

    1. I DID FORGET!! I obviously wanted to put it out of my mind as soon as I saw that preview! It looks AWFUL.