Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Geena Davis Is Doing The Real Work

Just after I gave my TEDx talk, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media released a report on their most recent findings. Mother Jones pulled a few I could have used:

I chose to focus my talk on kids' movies (and on gender) because they allow me to make a simpler argument than I could get away with on the subject of all popular culture or all aspects of privilege. We don't expect kids to have learned critical thinking skills yet, so filmmakers ought to take more responsibility for the subtext their stories embed. (I believe all filmmakers, and all artists, ought to be conscious of the unspoken messages of their work, but whether an adult work promotes a message by exposing it is much more complicated.) And while market forces are plausibly linked to a majority population being overrepresented in popular culture, the fact than men are not the majority of potential moviegoers makes their dominance in representation more obviously out of proportion.

But I think gender in kids movies is one of a large number of intersecting ways that a dominant culture encodes its rules of who gets what. And if you're one of the people that the dominant culture wants to exclude--or you're a member of the dominant culture who doesn't want to perpetuate the exclusion--you should wake up to as many unspoken messages as you can.

Read the Mother Jones post and the full report for more statistics that show the continuum from family films to our mainstream adult entertainment.