Thursday, February 26, 2015

Teenager In House Forces More Reflection On Media (duh!)

Michale Rooker (blue) plays Yondu-Yondon't in Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie which reinforces gender stereotypes and unfairly depicts tree creatures as a thuggish, but ultimately kind, form of shrubbery.
I have a thirteen-year-old female roaming around these parts. She is my daughter which explains a lot, I suppose.

She has taken the high level of thoughtfulness I exert in the production and consumption of snack food and productively turned it towards identifying gender biases in media. She points out how society objectifies women, the media never missing an opportunity to sexualize women no matter what role they play.

I am proud she is becoming a nuanced critic of our dominant culture, but worried that joy will too soon leave her life.

Too often our favorite movies become merely status quo propaganda when viewed through the lens of gender equality. For example, Kung Fu Panda did a fine job of promoting body acceptance by having a fat (male) Panda as a protagonist. However, Tigress, a strong female kung-fu warrior, was relegated to being merely a supporting player.

I loved that movie. I know, I am shameless.

I hope for the kid that she can somehow accept the strata of high and low culture. No matter how progressive an animated Pixar or Disney movie may be, it will still conform to a conventional reality.

We must look to more cutting edge filmmakers and writers to bring about change in our culture. I still want to celebrate tree creatures, smart-ass penguins, and noodle-making geese rather than hold them accountable for not presenting a more palatable universe.

When progressive new ideas come along I hope to be in a position to promote them with a smile of enjoyment that comes from a fine cultural product. Stoke!

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