LOS ANGELES - Male characters outnumbered females 3-to-1 overall in top-grossing G-rated films from 1990 to 2004, according to a study whose sponsors say the disparity diminishes the importance of women in children's eyes.John sarcastically suggests that "Dads & Daughters" may be a feminist group in disguise.
"We're showing kids a world that's very scantly populated with women and female characters," said actress Geena Davis, founder of See Jane, a program of the advocacy group Dads & Daughters that encourages balanced gender representation in entertainment for children.
He might be right. A group called Dads & Daughters should have a dad as a spokesman, not a Hollywood actress. My daughters find plenty of movies for children with female role models. For example, they like movies like Cinderella, Shirley Temple movies, The Wizard of Oz, and Eloise at Christmastime. The leading child actor is Hollywood today is a girl named Dakota Fanning.
"It's important for what kids watch that as far as possible, they see the real world reflected, to see men and women, boys and girls, sharing the space," said Davis, co-star of the female-empowerment film "Thelma & Louise" and star of TV's "Commander in Chief" in which she plays the U.S. president. "They should see female characters taking up half the planet, which we do."There are several Geena Davis movies that I'd recommend, but not those. The female empowerment in Thelma & Louise is murder and suicide, and is not a good example for my kids. I watched a couple of episodes of Davis's TV show, and she seemed like a lousy president to me. She was unable to control her own staff, and at the same time, she was recklessly committing to ill-considered overseas military adventures.
Joe Kelly, co-founder of Dads & Daughters, said as much as he loves "Toy Story," the study made him think about the movie differently. The movie has a positive message about two characters -- Tom Hanks' Woody and Tim Allen's Buzz Lightyear -- overcoming their differences and working together, but it does have a flaw, Kelly said.Toy Story was obviously created to appeal to both boys and girls. The main (human) character is a boy who plays with dolls, and the dolls spring to life when no one is watching. It seemed like a clever compromise to me. If the movie had been about a girl who plays with dolls, then it would have immediately lost 50% of the market.