Archive for the 'Discussion' Category

Online videos of children aka “Pick on Someone Your Own Size”

Hello Everyone!

I recently came across some more “funny” videos on youtube, which I have complied here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7vD2CfQiNA

I was shocked to see that not only do adults videotape children doing things that are “funny”, they videotape them when they are hurt and upset.

Doesn’t seem responsible, does it?

The little girl in the first clip actually has a problem with being filmed. Rather than respect her wishes, an older sibling has decided to humiliate and frighten her and film her in tears.

Second Clip: There wasn’t any real explaination for filming this boy crying. I’m not sure who would be unsympathetic enough to find a little boy crying funny.

In the final clip, we see an appalling act of cowardice as a grown man humiliates a little boy. This reminded me of the phrase we all heard as children:

“Pick on Someone Your Own Size”

It’s extremely cowardly and pathetic to resort to treating children this way. It’s depressing that people even watch this online and find it funny!

I’d just like to remind everyone that children are vulnerable, and look to us for comfort and assurance, not for humiliation and laughter.

-Wilhelmina

Meet the Sailor Scouts

Is there any one girl that appeals to you as a role model? Is there enough variety among the girls?

Discussion: What we Think

“As a young girl, I really liked Sailor Jupiter because she was so strong and sporty.  So in my case there was a girl who appealed to me, and even now, I considered her the best out of the Scouts in the cartoon (in the comic, Sailor Moon becomes the most mature and strongest emotionally and she as well as Jupiter become my favourites). Although, looking back now, Mercury is really appealing because she takes her school work and responsibility seriously and she is always the voice of reason when Moon and Mars argue. I think there is quite a bit variety and most girls will probably find at least one girl whom they can relate to. The only problem in my opinion is that only one Sailor Scout (Mercury) out of five isn’t excessively boy crazy. It would have been more balance if there were two at least who were not obsessed with chasing boys.”

“My favourite was always Sailor Mars, as she was fierce and feisty. From this clip, however, I definitely see the virtues of Sailor Jupiter, who appears to be the most well-rounded. I think that the personality types, from frivolous, to serious, to feisty, to well-rounded, to feminine are very encompassing and most girls will relate to at least one scout.”

Continue the Discussion: Tell us What you Think

Gender Roles in Last Unicorn

Often it is during endings that the message of the movie is conveyed. Taken together does the ending of Last Unicorn reinforce gender roles, or does it subvert them?

Discussion: What we Think

“I am really torn about the ending. On the one hand, Amalthea refuses to do what she must until she is forced. First, she refuses to return to being a unicorn to save the others until she is forced by Schmendrick’s magic when the Red Bull attacks. Second, when she is a unicorn, she only fights back when Prince Lir is wounded/killed. This part seems to strongly reinforce the notion that women are naturally gentle and only fight back when the their loved ones are threatened. On the other hand, for a movie made in 1982, the heroine is quite active, she does fight her battle and the ending is bittersweet. She doesn’t stay with her beloved, she returns to the forest, to her former life. The lack of a pairing at the ending is amazing. It subverts the notion that lovers need to always be together regardless of their other dreams and obligations. In the Last Unicorn, love is important but it doesn’t take precedence over other important things and that in itself is very subversive to the notion that love is the most important thing in a woman’s life.”

“I think that the ending of the last unicorn is really gendered in the sense that once she has turned into a unicorn, she goes back to the forest and doesn’t live in the “wild” anymore or what not. I mean if it were the prince that turned into the horse he’d end up staying around the castle and what not. It seemed as the unicorn went off to the quiet forest where she will be accepted”

“It appears that this both subverts and reinforces gender norms simultaneously. On the one hand, the hero breaks out of the norm by telling the heroine that this doesn’t have to be their “happily ever after”. Also, SHE appears to rescue HIM, and defeats the red bull, however the issue with this is the idea that the female character defers to the male character for guidance and becomes more attached to him than he is to her.”

“That is very true Mina. There was something that bothered me about that exchange but I could not put my finger on it. Now I can. The exchange was very paternalistic. The men (Lir and Schmendrick) were both telling Amalthea what she should do, what has to be done. I did not like that either, that she could not come to her own conclusion that saving the unicorns is important; instead she need a man to point it out to her.”

Continue the Discussion: Tell us What you Think

Marriage in Sailor Moon

Discussion: What we Think

“While it’s nice to see a pair that isn’t about appearances and just wants to be together. The excessive attention paid to the ritual of marriage by Serena and her home room teacher draws the viewers attention from what really matters, i.e. that two individuals want to be together regardless of each one’s faults and the fact that they cannot afford a nice marriage ceremony, to less meaningful things, i.e. the white dress, the big party. Now I think the wedding ceremony is important as it is a physical manifestation of each partner’s commitment, however, the important thing isn’t the ceremony itself, but the emotions and decisions behind it.”

“They say women grow up anticipating their “big white wedding” because it’s the happiest day of their lives. But would women really feel that way if it weren’t for pop culture influences that push that idea upon us? This episode simply proves that the idea is fed to us from the time we are little girls. It shows the fantasy of marriage -not the reality of communicating with another person, paying bills with them, running a home with them, or raising children together”

Continue the Discussion: Tell us What You Think

The Last Unicorn: Amalthea’s Eyes

Also consider Amalthea’s song:

Discussion: What we Think

“There is a close link between loss of innocence and adulthood (as King Haggard mentions Lir’s eyes are the same) that is expressed in the change in Lady Amalthea’s eyes.  While this and a few other images do express a romanticism of innocence and in turn childhood, there is competing imagery that expresses the need to grow up; after all the Unicorn’s journey is a coming of age story. In the end, what the Last Unicorn stumbles upon is the assumption that childhood is an age of innocence. That innocent creatures do not know what love or regret is. Thus while it doesn’t romanticize childhood to the degree of Peter Pan, there are still some western presuppositions of what childhood is about present in the film.”

“The idea that falling in love with a man/ being physical with a man tie a woman to him is seen here. The idea that the heroine’s falling in love has caused her to “forget who she is” is tied to a very antiquated notion. This idea, therefore, reinforces traditional gender binaries within the context of a children’s film, which may cause them to perpetuate this stereotype in later life.”

“the message is clear when you see this clip, women are the beholders of innocence and once that is lost, they are nothing. At least that’s what I got from it. The Evil king seemed like he was angry when he found “no innocence” in amalthea’s eyes. I think this is really sad because it should be the same for men and it’s not. Only women are looked down upon or looked at a different way when the innocence is gone.”

Continue the Discussion: Tell us What You Think

Animal Cruelty and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

When I saw this part in the movie, I was shocked and disheartened that they would show something like this in a movie. I understand that it was all in good humour and it was used to show how Willy Wonka is mentally incoherent, I still thought it was inappropriate. As a guardian or a parent, I would make sure that my kids understand that “whipped” cream doesn’t actually happen by “whipping” cows with whips.  I also believe that older kids can actually distinguish that it isn’t true, I fear for younger kids who watch the movie without parent/guardian supervision. I definitely agree when Veruca Salt tells Wonka, that it doesn’t make sense but I also see the fantasy aspect of this movie. All in all, I don’t think this was a necessarily the right way to show “whipped” cream, but I understand that to show the character of Willy Wonka, it was necessary! – Sadaf, 20

Joanna, 23: “Truthfully this scene wasn’t really necessary as it was less than a minute in length. However, I do not think it was there for jokes, rather I think it was there to show how crazy Willy Wonka is. In the words of the little girl, whipping a cow for whipped cream “doesn’t make sense.” However, the fact that the scene is there so nonchalantly shows that our society doesn’t put much stock into animal cruelty.”

Tell us what you think! Is this a relevant scene? Would kids really understand the “animal cruelty” aspect of it? Comment away! 🙂

Stereotypes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Discussion: What We Think

Stereotypes, generally, have been an ongoing silent issue in the past couple decades. When viewing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I was amazed at the fact that there were distinct stereotypes portrayed in the movie (which i am also aware is based on the novel by Roald Dahl). In the clip posted above, you can see that there are 5 different stereotypes portrayed to the viewers:

Sadaf, 20: “I think that the portrayal of the Indian Prince/Princess is ridiculously stereotypical. It is really sad to see that the princess is just sitting there and serving the prince and not saying anything. The West seems to be viewing the East as still a group of people who are patriarchal. Also, when the clip shows the different cities where the chocolate is being sold, it’s really interesting to see the difference amongst the places (the Moroccans are shown in a slight lower class area, whereas New York city is upscale). I think that kids are prone to believe what they see, especially if they are younger and a parent or guardian don’t explain to them that certain stereotypes are not what the people are like (All Germans are not fat and own meat shops or all people from England have rich mansions and are spoiled). I believe that if there is no guidance by someone else explaining to kids that these aren’t true then we have a problem. I also believe that the stereotypes aren’t really that relevant to the plot and I think the story could have done without it.”

Joanna, 23, believes, ” While children can distinguish between reality and fantasy, when the fiction resembles reality, that distinction is much harder to make. In the case of the chocolate palace, I would not be surprised if younger children believed that an Indian prince built a chocolate palace. I know that I once believed the world rotated around really quickly and that humans lived with dinosaurs. However regardless of whether children actually do in fact think there is a chocolate palace in India, what is more problematic is the image of Indian people. The prince is seen as fickle and dumb by making a chocolate palace and believing it will not melt. Furthermore, the way in which the Indian woman is subordinate to the Indian man (unlike the white women) sends a very colonist message: brown men don’t treat brown women properly. And I find it shocking that messages like these are still being imbedded into movies, both children and adult alike”

Some other interesting responses:

anonymous female, 12: ” I really don’t see why stereotypes are a problem…they are clearly portrayed somewhat correctly since it must be true [because] why would someone make that up”

anonymous male, 16: “I understand why this can be a problem today, kids tend to believe everything they see [especially this day in age]. Though I don’t think the movie is to blame since it is based on a book, I still think some of the stereotypes were unnecessary.  I also don’t think the plot could have been that much better without it, since that is what kept me watching the movie!”

Vanny, 13: “I think that if u read the book  it makes more sense, because it’s  a lot  like the book , unlike  the original movie and that it’s not really trying to send a message, but to sort of show a fantasy or something and portraying it more or less the way kids would see it”

do you agree or disagree with any of these comments? Do you think that stereotypes are an ongoing problem today? Would you let kids watch this and believe it? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!