Thursday, April 15, 2010

Are our comments about Rapunzel sexist?

Regarding this article on changing the name "Rapunzel" to "Tangled" here:

Dorothy's article is a little defensive and quick to call it sexist.

My comments are also not sexist, nor do I accuse Disney of being sexist. I think Disney is a little unwise to announce it the way they did and to change the name of the film. As far as beefing up the prince character goes... they have to do that. How else are they going to fill up the time?

My comments are not sexist. They are stereotypes based on factual information. Like all stereotypes, there are exceptions. However, many stereotypes are true, and this one definitely is. The mom controls the family movie ticket. If her son wants to see a movie and it isn't appealing to her and her daugheters (if she has any), then she won't go see it. Instead she will tell her son to watch it when it comes out on video and to go watch his TV cartoons instead. There is a huge young boys market on TV, but not much of one in the theaters.

Most fathers won't go see those movies with their sons either. Why? Because a father typically isn't interested in watching an action cartoon in the theater. He'd rather watch an action film instead. So he's more likely to counter to his son to go watch Iron Man than Star Wars Clone Wars.

This is why the following animated movies have done poorly in the theaters (especially in comparison to movies that are attractive to mothers): Final Fantasy, TMNT, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Sinbad, Treasure Planet, Atlantis, El Dorado, Jimmy Neutron, Ant Bully, Emperor's New Groove, Osmosis Jones, Titan AE, Black Cauldron, and Iron Giant. Every time that Disney and DreamWorks has aimed more exclusively at the young boy... the film undersells.

Atlantis and its sequel sold well on video to boys at home. Emperor's New Groove also did much better on video, and it made a great TV show that was far more successful than the film. Osmosis Jones was very successful as a spin-off action cartoon, Ozzy and Drix (even though the original film flopped).

It's a stereotype based on factual information.



  1. How is this not sexist? "The mom controls the family movie ticket. If her son wants to see a movie and it isn't appealing to her and her daugheters (if she has any), then she won't go see it. Instead she will tell her son to watch it when it comes out on video and to go watch his TV cartoons instead." Not all mom's do this. Not all females have a problem with "boy/action movies". Fathers take their children to the movies all the time. You're probably thinking, "Okay, but this the exception to the rule." and I'm leaning more toward calling it sexist because it's not a few. Women. like. action movies. I don't get why the stereotype even exists anymore.

  2. It's a stereotype. There are exceptions. Exceptions don't make the stereotype untrue. Disagree? Then prove it. Where are all the boy animated films that did well in the theaters? Anime is another example. The boy animation market is at home.

    Also whether or not women like action movies is a separate issue. Action movies are usually live-action, involve romance and comedy, and are aimed at families. The less successful action movies don't have romance and comedy (and are less popular with women). What I'm talking about are animated action films geared towards boys.

    - TAE

  3. "They are stereotypes based on factual information."

    Where is this factual information? Oh, that's right. It doesn't exist because that's only a sexist generalization. Generalizations are not facts. And gender-specific stereotypes are always sexist in nature. Period. Stereotypes do not have a basis in reality. They only have a basis in perception due to limited experience and incomplete knowledge of a group.

  4. Where is this factual information?

    That was the list of how poorly the animations did that were aimed at boys. The reason why those films do so poorly is because the boys don't drive the sales of the movie tickets. A mom has to be willing to see the movie in order to take her son or her entire family.

    A great example of a "boys movie" done right is anything by Pixar. They've done boy toys, monsters, bugs, robots, super heroes, cars, and rats. And yet, a lot of women and girls go see their movies (actually the majority). Why? Because Pixar focuses on the relationships.

    - TAE

  5. Those movies all failed for different reason, not all because moms wouldn't take their sons to them. Here's why:

    Final Fantasy: Had the whole "uncanny valley" problem that turned away a lot of potential veiwers, as well as the fact that the only people who were interested were fans of the games.

    Titan AE: Wasn't marketed very well. Apparently, not much merchandise was produced because no one was sure what audience to shoot for.

    TMNT and Star Wars-Clone Wars: Actually successful, but hated by critics

    Jimmy Neutron:was successful, spawning a large franchise.

    Iron Giant and Osmosis Jones: Both were made by Warner Bros Feature Animation, which was notorious for how little it promoted its movies. In fact, prior to the success of Happy Feet in 2005, only ONE of their movies had been successful--Space Jam.


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