Do boys like stories about girls?

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When I was younger, I planned to have only girls. I had all these great theories about raising girls. Plus, since childhood so often means boyhood in stories, boyhood seems somehow less interesting. Like it’s already been done.

So karma (or something) ensured that I would have only boys to raise.

This has turned out to be a blessing in disguise since being boys has saved my kids from my plans to use theories on them. Instead I end up just observing them and trying to figure things out as I go along.

One of the things I’ve been fascinated by is watching which stories they connect with. Like a lot of parents, we’ve slowly accumulated a huge collection of children’s videos, based somewhat on our preferences, but largely on theirs.

The kids give us an idea of what they’re interested in not only by which videos they ask to see often, but also by role-playing their favorite stories. The system seems to be that Nicolas (who is 5) gets to play the most interesting character, and Leo (who is 3) gets to be the sidekick and/or second most interesting character. (I was the second kid myself, so of course I sympathize with Leo here, but I’m not sure if anything can be done about it.)

One thing I’ve been watching for is the common wisdom that boys don’t like stories about girls. The more I watch my kids, the more I get the impression that it’s not true. Both boys role-play male characters far more than they role-play female characters. However, this appears to be mostly a question of the fact that there are so many more male characters than female characters in children’s films. If they see a movie where the most interesting character is female, then that’s the role Nicolas wants, even if the character is doing fairly feminine things.

The other thing I’ve been on the lookout for in their viewing is the “Mo movie measure”, which is whether the piece (1) has at least two female characters (2) who speak to each other (3) about something other than a man. When you start looking for this, it’s surprising how few movies pass all three criteria (especially considering how rare it is to find a film that would fail the male version of the same test, which I’ll call the “opposite MMM”).

So without further ado, I’ll tell you the results for many of the films, videos, and books they like:

Their current favorite is Robin Hood. They have both the Disney version and the old Errol Flynn version from the 30’s. Nicolas likes to play all different characters in this story (including minor roles like the sheriff’s posse and Prince John’s rhinoceros guards) apparently based on how many sword/archery battles the character is in. They’ve been improvising a lot of swords, battle axes, and bows and arrows lately. I guess it’s mostly harmless. The Disney version just barely passes the MMM because for the first few seconds when we first meet Maid Marion, she and Lady Cluck are talking to each other about playing badminton (before they move on to only talking to each other about Robin Hood and how dreamy he is for the rest of the film.). The Errol Flynn version fails the MMM.

They’ve been requesting Mary Poppins a lot lately. They don’t role-play this one much, although just today Nicolas was playing the maid “Ellen” singing terribly and then closing the window on a songbird whose song was “giving the master an headache.” This one easily passes the MMM with an elaborate song-and-dance routine near the beginning about women fighting for suffrage. A lot of people complain that this movie is anti-feminist because the mom is ignoring the kids while agitating for women’s suffrage and in the end she dumps her suffragette sash to stay home with the kids. But really I think the mom is a sympathetic character, and the situation with the dad is shown as parallel. In his introductory number, he explicitly ignores news about the kids while he’s in his own world singing about being the “lord of his castle, the sovereign, the liege,” and he ends up learning that he needs to spend more time with his kids as well.

Along the same lines, there’s The Sound of Music which they like but haven’t requested lately. In that one, Nicolas takes the role of Fraulein Maria leaving Leo to play Captain Von Trapp (as I mentioned here). They especially like the fact that she plays the guitar and for some reason they’re interested in the fact that she carries her guitar around in “a suitcase” (the guitar-case).

Another current favorite is The Rescuers. This was one of my childhood favorites as well. Nicolas generally chooses to play Bernard (leaving Leo to play Bianca), which I think is kind of interesting since to me Bianca seems like the leader. But when it comes to playing the villains, Nicolas insists on playing “Madam Medusa” leaving “Mr. Snoops” for Leo. This film passes the MMM easily as most of the main characters (including the kid) are female. It may actually be one of the rare films that fails the “opposite MMM” — I can’t think of a single dialog in the film involving exclusively male characters, and when the male characters are talking to each other, they’re mostly talking about Penny, Bianca, or Medusa.

A perpetual favorite is Cars. For some reason Nicolas’s favorite role to play is the villain “Chick Hicks,” and Leo likes to play “the King” (who is the main character’s other rival). They’ve decided that Chick Hicks and the King are brothers. They love all of the characters though — it’s one of their favorite movies to play. This one barely passes the MMM as Sally speaks to Flo a little about saving their town (although there are no dialogs involving exclusively female characters).

Since this is starting to get long, I’ll just list some other favorites, and I can go into more detail later if there’s interest: Thomas the Tank Engine (discussed here), nature documentaries about pregnant sharks and whales (discussed here), Winnie the Witch, Herbie The Love Bug, The Jungle Book, The Wiggles, Finding Nemo, The Year without a Santa Claus (discussed here), The Grinch + Horton Hears a Who, Shrek, Wallace and Gromit, Dora the Explorer, and The Aristocats.

My conclusion?

I think my little boys show a preference for traditional boy stuff, especially vehicles of all types and (unfortunately) weapons. They also love anything involving musical instruments (which I would consider gender-neutral). They don’t seem to have any aversion to stories about girls or women. What matters is whether the story and characters are interesting and memorable — the characters’ gender has little effect.

At least so far. I plan to keep watching and see how their interests develop.

Comments

  1. scarlett says

    Hey, haven’t seen you before – welcome!

    I think children naturally gravitate towards their own gender in playing out roles they see in movies/books/TV, but that natural gravtation is hevaily sided in favour of boys, because there’s plenty of MALE characters who pass that ‘MMM’ criteria, and shuts out girls for the same reason, who then have little choice but to relate to male characters.

    For what it’s worth, growing up, I loved Anne of Green Gables (the book; only have a vauge memory of seeing one of the movies), and her interaction with people was almost exclusively female.

  2. says

    I sit for three siblings, two boys aged fourteen and eight, and one girl aged five. The five-year-old and I often will put in a video to watch together, and sometimes the boys will drift in and out while we’re watching. One of the few types of video that will get the boys in and then sitting on the couch and staying for the whole thing is the fluffy, pre-teen-through-teen female protagonist story where the heroine learns important life lessons, grows as a person, and usually has a nice, up-beat romantic subplot.

    The two boys won’t ever ask for The Princess Diaries or Ella Enchanted on their own, mind – but they’ll happily watch them once they’re on. Not so Star Wars or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or other more action-heavy films. Interesting, huh?

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    C.L. is a guest author – she will hopefully be writing another article.

    I think this – and Revena’s concurring point – really shows up how much conditioning is involved in getting people to behave “like” their gender. We have this huge investment in something that we desperately want to believe is natural, but there’s nothing natural about any gender distinction other than which of us can get pregnant and which can’t.

  4. says

    Thanks for the welcome!!!

    I watch everything my kids watch, and end up analyzing most of it (not really on purpose, it’s just kind of a habit…). Sometimes I write about it on my blog, but I could write more for this site if you guys are interested. There’s plenty more where this post came from. ;)

    I love my current set-up of having just a DVD player and no television. That way, we can get our kids whatever videos their friends are talking about (so they don’t feel left out), yet we know what they’re watching, and especially we know they’re not watching a bunch of commercials for junk food…

  5. scarlett says

    Sorry if I wasn’t clearer – I believe the Patriarchy is desperate to keep proving a point about how Men as Heroes and Women as Stay-at-Home-Mums-and-Wives/Damsels-in-Distress is the status quo. That’s why you get so much media telling you do. I think there’s a lot of good media to say otherwise, and, as a historian, sometimes I think the Patriarchy is like the (Russian Royal Family) Romanovs, denying anyone else’s opinion to the point of their own execution. Basically, I believe in the adage ‘give enough inches, they’ll have enough rope to hang themslves with’
    Does that make sense?

  6. SunlessNick says

    When I was a kid, I used to play these book-games, a bit like solo computer roleplaying games (but books, as you probably guessed). There was one where you played a girl out to save her family from dark magicians – but since everything in the book’s intro and rules was written in the second person, there was no definite cue that it was a girl (her name ended in “a” which is a common trope for female made-up-names, but that was all).

    So it was only halfway through, when another character refers to her in the third person, that I realised I was playing a girl. It certainly didn’t ruin my enjoyment; indeed I found it obscurely cool.

    I have also occasionally wondered if the book’s writers deliberate wrote the beginning without obvious gender cues, and why. Were they afraid boys wouldn’t play a girl if they knew it up front, or did they want to hit boys halfway through with the assumption that they were playing a boy (which of course I had assumed)?

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    C.L., please write as much as you want here!

    Nick, that sounds deliberate to me, too. Very interesting. I love subversive stuff!

  8. Purtek says

    I love the thoughts on Mary Poppins and The Rescuers. They were both favourites of mine when I was a kid, but I have this disease whereby I forget plotlines of movies I’ve seen within like six months of watching them, so it’s interesting to be reminded of the qualities you mention. I especially like the anti-anti-feminist angle from Mary Poppins.

    In a general sense: I get very, very frustrated with men I talk to who essentially dismiss any female-themed movie/book/show as “for women only”, and treat the portrayal of female experience (whether culturally defined or uniquely female by definition, such as issues of pregnancy/reproductive rights etc) as something to which they cannot relate on any level. The reverse is rarely expressed–Stand By Me is a great and universal tale of growing up and friendship, but Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is a chick flick (I haven’t seen the latter, but couldn’t think of a better example off the top of my head–if I extend to book form, Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye would be the first that comes to mind). Female authors are relegated to the counter-canon with similar statements, and often identified as overly feminist (and therefore inaccessible to men) even when many of their books don’t necessarily deal with women’s issues. It’s nice to hear about young boys being taught otherwise while they’re young enough to get that.

  9. sarah says

    This is why for me it’s slightly more important to see female characters IN main roles, and worry about the subtext of what they’re doing later. When female casts become more of the norm, then we won’t have the “that’s a chick flick” problem. For example, I was just thinking about Disney heroines… OK, the princesses, whatever other problems there might be with them, are usually plucky and young boys are usually willing to watch those movies. BUT. The huge “but” is that when you look at the casts, the female is always surrounded by a group of male sidekicks. The “funny one” in the comic relief role is certainly nearly always male. In the Little Mermaid her friends are male, in Beauty and the Beast, the only female bit of furniture is the “motherly” role of the teapot. So yes, heroines are good, but they don’t pass the test. And they don’t work to dispel the notion that females can’t be characters in interesting stories without them being “chick flicks.”

  10. says

    Yeah, The Rescuers is a cool movie because (of the older Disney movies) it’s a big exception to their usual gender rule. The lead hero, the lead villain, and the person being rescued are all female. Plus — since the girl is rescued by mice — she ends up having to take quite a lot of the initiative in her own rescue. The glamorous Bianca ends up having to prove herself to the male mice (who don’t think such a pretty lady should be out doing something so dangerous) and succeeds. Plus, the local swamp animals who rush in as reinforcements at the end are also essentially led by a female character (this one more matronly, balancing out glamor-hero Bianca…). And the cool thing is that unless you’re really looking for it, it all seems normal and doesn’t jump out as being a “girl movie.”

    I loved The Rescuers as a kid, and I think the gender balance is one of the main reasons why.

    Mary Poppins is cool too. On the surface it doesn’t seem particularly feminist because Poppins herself is a caregiver, and the suffragette mom neglects her kids. But Mary Poppins is very much a leader and in control of everything, and the parents are both shown as negligent in a parallel manner: both successful in their own sphere outside the home. In the book series of Mary Poppins, the mom isn’t a feminist, she’s just a flake (which is why they need a nanny), and apparently never improves. I know the author of the books complained bitterly about how her creation was ruined, but I think it’s cool that the mom is a sympathetic character who is passionate about fighting for women’s votes and rights.

    When I was a kid, absolutely hated the fact that generic stories were always about boys, and girls’ stories were some sort of specialization. I was happy to find little crumbs like these.

    Watching kids’ movies and reading kids’ books, I think things are improving. Slowly, but improving nonetheless.

  11. says

    True, it’s annoying that the sidekicks are still almost always male. Especially the comic-relief sidekick. We’re still stuck in a world where “the girl” is one character type you want to include and “the goofy side-kick” is a separate (generic, thus male) character type.

    Exceptions? The funny, plucky “Lady Cluck” in Disney’s Robin Hood comes to mind (although the gender portrayal in that film overall is not terribly progressive…). There were also a few comic female characters in Finding Nemo

  12. Jennifer Kesler says

    I get very, very frustrated with men I talk to who essentially dismiss any female-themed movie/book/show as “for women only”, and treat the portrayal of female experience (whether culturally defined or uniquely female by definition, such as issues of pregnancy/reproductive rights etc) as something to which they cannot relate on any level.

    Yep – we’re a genre just like, say, the mystery genre. Except, while anyone might watch a mystery from time to time, “chick flicks” have cooties which can launch out of the screen and convert viewing males into women, horror of horrors. Their manhood is very fragile and delicate, and must be preserved like a crumbling artifact. ;)

    Sarah: IIRC, Buffy had more female than male sidekicks and antagonists, but guys from the young, white, straight target demographic watched. I think it fit the requirements for a chick show, in that there were a lot of scenes and plots into which men really didn’t factor, so that viewing guys would have to relate to one girl or the other to stay involved. And they did, and I don’t think it really occurred to them that her second X chromosome should make relating a challenge.

    Just like we’re used to relating to male characters in nearly all male casts involving entirely male-driven plots, men are psychologically capable of enjoying shows that focus on women. They just haven’t had to do it much yet, since those strangely male-focused shows are the norm, instead of being sidelined into a genre equal and opposite to chick flicks.

  13. says

    Heartbreaking gender stereotype story from last week:

    My three year old daughter is running around the basement chasing another three year old girl, and moving her hands like giant jaws. They are both running and giggling.

    Me: What are you two playing?

    Her: We’re playing T-Rex! I’m the T-Rex, and I’m going to eat her up!

    Me: I didn’t know you liked dinosaurs.

    Her: No. Dinosaurs are for boys. I don’t like dinosaurs.

    Me: But you said . . .

    Her: We’re playing T-Rex!

    I didn’t have the heart to tell her that a T-Rex was a kind of dinosaur. Might as well let her enjoy her game.

  14. Patrick says

    The two boys won’t ever ask for The Princess Diaries or Ella Enchanted on their own, mind – but they’ll happily watch them once they’re on.

    I don’t find the idea of a pair of boys aged fourteen and eight watching Anne Hathaway movies, but never requesting them, all that surprising. My seven year-old nephew’s favorite movies all seem to coincidentally involve Keira Knightley.

    That said, I’ve often seem both of my nephews (the other is 4) watch movies with female leads happily. They are both also big fans of Mary Poppins and of Fly Away Home, which features a girl as the protagonist.

  15. says

    I’m sure that the female lead being an attractive young woman has something to do with the boys enjoying those films, yeah. They’re at the right age(s) to be developing crushes on movie stars. But regardless of why they watch “girl movies”, the fact is that they do.

    I’ve watched loads of movies simply because I’ve got a bit of a crush on an actor in them (I go through these phases where I have to see everything Ioan Gruffudd was ever in, or Clive Owen, or Brent Spiner, and so on), but there’s no myth floating around that girls and women won’t watch movies featuring boys and men as leads, so my reasons for watching various “boy movies” don’t seem to come under as much scrutiny.

  16. Patrick says

    From what I’ve seen of my nephews’ viewing habits, the idea of the films that they are watching being “girl movies” does not even seem to occur to them.

    I will admit here to watching every single thing Alyson Hannigan has ever made. Yes, even Date Movie.

  17. says

    Patrick – *laugh* Well, I actually watched 102 Dalmatians. The movie-star crush is a powerful thing!

    Ragtime – That story reminds me of a few of the weirder “fun with gender” conversations I’ve had while babysitting. Conversations about makeup and grooming are always particularly interesting.

  18. Jennifer Kesler says

    Ragtime, that’s just sad. Do you think she dislikes (non T-rex) dinosaurs because she thinks she’s supposed to dislike them, or does she just associate boys with things she doesn’t like because boys still have cooties to her? :D

    I’m sure that the female lead being an attractive young woman has something to do with the boys enjoying those films, yeah. They’re at the right age(s) to be developing crushes on movie stars. But regardless of why they watch “girl movies”, the fact is that they do.

    When I worked in film – pre-Buffy, Alias, etc. – I was advised ad nauseum by everyone I ever discussed it with: guys won’t watch female leads. Even if they’re a skimpily dressed beauty like Lucy Lawless or Linda Carter. This was an accepted “fact” in the industry, and nothing would convince them otherwise. You could have your T2 Linda Hamilton kicking ass alongside Arnold; you just couldn’t have Hamilton on her own, because in taking the lead from a nice, deserving man, she became a butch bitch, and no amount of gorgeousness could redeem her in the eyes of offended young men.

    Honestly? I do know men who are that threatened by women. They sit around posting their misogyny in little private forums, nursing their horrific wounds from date rejection (oh, noes) while dismissing the idea that date rape could be all that traumatic for a woman.

    I don’t believe they’re the majority, though. I think they just must be the only ones that get Nielsen boxes.

  19. Jennifer Kesler says

    I will admit here to watching every single thing Alyson Hannigan has ever made. Yes, even Date Movie.

    Sometimes good taste takes us to bad places. ;)

  20. Purtek says

    I am SO going out to try to find The Rescuers and watch it again. I adore children’s movies, and the only thing I ever feel like I should apologize for is their generally shitty portrayal of women. It pains me to say it, but the fact that the only female Muppet is Miss Piggy–first of all, a pig, second of all, a shrill, overbearing, obsessed-with-her-man whiner–is not a good sign for Mr. Henson. Fortunately for my worship of the man, the Fraggle “women” are an improvement.

    Yep – we’re a genre just like, say, the mystery genre.

    Exactly. Men’s experiences are seen to just naturally generalize to women, but not vice versa.

    I like the idea that Buffy is an exception, because as much as it’s a whole whack of other stuff, it’s also a coming of age story and a story about relationships with both friends and lovers, from a woman’s perspective. And the female sidekicks are among the best-loved characters on the show–who doesn’t like Willow? Too bad the same can’t be said for Angel.

  21. Maartje says

    I’m thinking back to my own youth here, sitting in front of the telly with my three brothers.
    Only my youngest brother watched ‘My little’ pony with me. He’s also the one who always makes female characters when gaming.
    Everyone watched Xena and liked it. We had no idea it was a big deal at the time, it was just a Hercules spin off with better heroes (yes, we all agreed on this.) But we also all watched Knightrider and MacGuyver together, at dinner time we’d watch pretty much anything (unless mum was home for dinner, then we had to sit at the table and pretend we had manners).
    Only one of my brothers didn’t like Buffy. My eldest brother was an enthusiastic Nikita fan.

    The ‘oldest child get’s coolest character’ thing is awfully recognisable. I’m the third of four, I never got to be Optimus Prime! I did get to be the yellow power ranger (pink was the girlfriend of red who was my brother, plus the sabertoothtiger was cool) while my little brother got stuck with the blue one. The only time I can think of one of them wanting to play a girl was when we were playing X-men. I think this was because there weren’t a lot of shows where the girl wasn’t the Token Girl.

    Getting to the point here (finally). I don’t think that any of us really watched tv for a specific type of hero and when we found a hero we liked it didn’t matter too much if this hero happened to be a woman or a man. If my brothers identified with the female heroes I couldn’t tell you.

  22. SunlessNick says

    BUT. The huge “but” is that when you look at the casts, the female is always surrounded by a group of male sidekicks. The “funny one” in the comic relief role is certainly nearly always male. In the Little Mermaid her friends are male, in Beauty and the Beast, the only female bit of furniture is the “motherly” role of the teapot. - Sarah

    That’s a good point. For most of its run, Alias lacked any female character besides Sydney herself who wasn’t a civilian or adversary. Threshold, a series I’m currently watching, has a woman in co-charge of a threat team – there’s a man who nominally outranks her, but he defers to her expertise at least as much as he asserts his rank, so I see them as equals, and she (Carla Gugino) is first in the cast list – but again, she’s the only female character.

  23. scarlett says

    For what it’s worth, I thought Alias was at it’s best in season two, when Irena had a major role. I loved her ambiguity, that you were never truly sure who’s side she was on. Then season three and Lauren Reed came along, and it went to pieces from there.

  24. Ragtime says

    Ragtime, that’s just sad. Do you think she dislikes (non T-rex) dinosaurs because she thinks she’s supposed to dislike them, or does she just associate boys with things she doesn’t like because boys still have cooties to her? :D

    I think it’s primarily not liking “Boy Things”. I think there’s a good marketing opportunity out there for people who want to sell traditionally male toys and games to girls by making them pink and sticking “Dora to Explorer” on them.

    If it is billed as a “girl thing”, my girls will do it, even if it is actually not a “girl thing.” But they’ll catch on quickly if it is not pink.

  25. SunlessNick says

    For what it’s worth, I thought Alias was at it’s best in season two, when Irena had a major role. I loved her ambiguity, that you were never truly sure who’s side she was on. Then season three and Lauren Reed came along, and it went to pieces from there.

    Season 2 was my favourite too, but I like 4 on a par with 1, so better than 3. Season 5 I’ve not seen.

  26. kristi says

    It is frustrating, the way female characters are portrayed. My sons (6 and 8) still enjoy many stories about girls. They even created mermaid costumes for themselves after watching The Little Mermaid (including wigs, bras, and tails). I’m afraid that as they get older peer pressure might change that, though.

  27. says

    Mermaid costumes? How cute!!! It seems normal (after seeing The Little Mermaid) to want to imagine being half fish and to copy the main protagonist, even if it means cross-gender role-play.

    I’ve found that when my boys play, they aren’t at all picky about matching up the gender of the person playing with the gender of the imaginary character being played. They typically pick characters for me and for my husband to play with them, and they often assign me to play a male character and have their father play a female character.

    I think a lot of kids learn from their parents not to do that though (as well as learning it from other kids). I’ve seen parents say things like “you can’t be the mommy shark because you’re a boy, but you could be the daddy shark.”

  28. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’ve seen parents say things like “you can’t be the mommy shark because you’re a boy, but you could be the daddy shark.”

    Makes you realize just how dependent “gender” is on programming. Nothing is more brainwashy than toy commercials aimed at tiny kids. And then people turn around and claim gender is “natural” and deviations from gender stereotypes are aberrant.

  29. kristi says

    My 6-year-old used to role play being a girl all the time. He’d get tired of being Spider-MAN and become Spider-GIRL, or he’d play Lava Girl (who, let’s face it, was way cooler than her partner Shark Boy). I never saw any reason to stop him. (I’m not arrogant enough to think I have the power to turn him gay!)

    Many parents I know, especially the strict religious families, would put a stop to that sort of thing immediately. I’m still annoyed that when I bought my niece a doctor kit, her mom told her she had to be the nurse and let her brother be the doctor…

  30. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’ve told this story elsewhere around here, but when I was a kid, everybody played “Star Wars”. I never wanted to be Leia because I wanted to fly a ship. Often on the playground, I’d be playing with a group of all boys, and one of them would play Leia while I played Luke or Han.

    Then my female cousins and I did this around my grandmother, and she thought it was just scandalous that I was playing a boy.

    Then again, those female cousins weren’t allowed to use their imaginations. I’d pretend to be taking everyone’s order for lunch on my imaginary pad with an imaginary pencil, and my cousins thought I was insane.

    Some people are just really incredibly repressed.

  31. says

    My 4 year old son loves Angelina Ballerina, Dora, Sagwa, and some other cartoons with female protagonists. In fact he is sleeping with approximately 7 Angelina dolls right now. OTOH, he also LOVES Thomas (we must have at least 100 engines/freight cars/etc. on the train table), Bob the Builder, Peter Pan, and other male characters. It’s all good at this age. When he gets older I’m sure some more indoctrinated boys will tease him out of it…his cousins were already teasing him last time the boys played together; fortunately that is rare.

  32. SunlessNick says

    This was an accepted “fact” in the industry, and nothing would convince them otherwise. You could have your T2 Linda Hamilton kicking ass alongside Arnold; you just couldn’t have Hamilton on her own, because in taking the lead from a nice, deserving man, she became a butch bitch, and no amount of gorgeousness could redeem her in the eyes of offended young men. - BetaCandy

    I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying here too: all of my male friends would have wanted to see Terminator 3 had it had Linda Hamilton but not Arnold Schwarzenegger; none of them were interested in seeing it when they learned it didn’t have her.

    Lava Girl (who, let’s face it, was way cooler than her partner Shark Boy). - kristi

    I hesitate to admit to suggesting anything from that film was remotely cool, but notwithatanding that disclaimer, Lava Girl was totally cooler than Shark Boy.

  33. Jennifer Kesler says

    all of my male friends would have wanted to see Terminator 3 had it had Linda Hamilton but not Arnold Schwarzenegger; none of them were interested in seeing it when they learned it didn’t have her.

    You’re not alone. I – and other young wannabe filmmakers – pointed these discrepancies out ad nauseum. The only response was a sage shake of the head and a condescending smile from the established film people. And then you don’t get “in” unless you buy into the dogma.

    “Business” is where you INVESTIGATE who your market is and what it wants. “Propaganda” is where you have have a predefined answer you want to force down the market’s throat. As far as I could tell, film didn’t WANT to know what the audience wanted, even though the constant claim was “It’s not our fault we have to make racist and misogynistic crap – we just give the audience what it wants”. Film knew what it wanted to show the audience, and demographics worked to support and excuse their agenda, not to create an agenda based on actual audience feedback.

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