I don’t want to offend any women reading this column. I’ve always thought there are plenty of things women can do just as well as a man. I can say that in plenty of areas, women are equal to men. However, I also remain hopelessly old-fashioned.
Now days, the feminist movement is in high gear. Everywhere you look, you see evidence that the male is not needed. Frankly, I think some of the arguments make sense. Still, much of it seems a little under-handed and manipulative.
Remember previous column in which I’ve written about how men are portrayed on TV? Name just about any Disney show my kids watch and I’ll show you a bumbling idiot playing the father or another male “role model.” The men on these shows provide comic relief and attempt to lead the family. However, in the end, it’s the level-headed female (most of the time it’s a teenager!) who saves the day.
My 2-year-old watches a cute little cartoon called “Peppa Pig.” It’s an export from England. The characters are all animals and they all have charming, authentic English accents. The reason I’m bringing up this show is to illustrate how even shows for preschoolers are portraying the fathers as big, lazy boobs. Peppa’s father is often seen trying to overeat (he’s a pig, after all), get out of work, or pursue his own selfish interests. Most of the time, when he is caught, Peppa will scold her father. “Naughty Daddy,” Peppa says in her charming accent.
Case in point: We are all sitting around last night watching the movie “Frozen,” a gift my older daughter received for her birthday (I know the movie has been out a while. I hope you’ve seen it. If not, I must exclaim SPOILER ALERT). The movie is cute enough. It goes along with the same old Disney formula in which there is plenty of magic and fun. There is a side-kick who makes jokes about bathroom humor and things that appeal to kids. There is a villain. There are some funny characters.
As is the case with most Disney flicks these days, there are a couple of tough females as lead characters. They are sisters. One sister must hide her feelings to save the entire village. One is tough and funny, a gal who reminds me a little of Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown’s tomboy friend.
To make a long story short, the tough sister is in danger of dying by the end of the movie and can only be saved by “true love.” Just when she’s about to completely turn to ice, her paramour (not the guy we thought she’d wind up with from the beginning but the other guy; not as polished but in any case, the choice of the audience) is riding at top speed toward her. Soon he will embrace her, give her a smooch and she will thaw out. Roll credits.
Nope. Just as he gets close enough to her to end this madness, her older sister swoops in: sobbing, apologizing for treating her sister poorly and reassuring her she always loved her. The older sister didn’t want to hurt the younger sister, so she hid her true feelings. On and on she sobs.
You guessed it. The true love from the older sister melts the icy heart of the tomboy sister and she thaws out. They didn’t even need the guy. In the end, we see the older sister getting a handle on her powers. She creates an ice rink and takes her little sister out for a skate around the courtyard as the rest of the villagers join in, cheering the royal sisters and reveling in the end of winter and a rebirth of their village.
The guy skates around with the sidekick. There is a hint of romance that may come later, but it’s certainly not an important part of the story. The credits roll and we are left to see that the sisters will do just fine: with or without a man in their lives.
It’s my opinion that women still want the romance part, though. Regardless of the fact that the sisters love each other and are devoted to one another, the women in the audience (and probably the men, too) want the princesses to fall in love with prince material and live happily ever after with their royal husbands.
Now, I’m all about siblings loving one another. I’ m all about strong women, smart women and tough women. I just think we are getting away from what fairytales used to be. I still think a woman wants a knight in shining armor to ride up and rescue her. I also think we guys need to step up and be the knight. We can’t take this baloney lying down.
I know, I know: the woman in question may be able to do most of the rescuing herself, but I think she still wants to hitch a ride on that white horse.