Part 1c: Look How Hilariously Political Traditionalists Are, (Especially) When They Think They’re Not
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

Feminists are frequently mocked for pointing out that the customs our society takes for granted are sexist, and those who like the status quo often accuse us of being too political. We are often told we are reading too much into customs/movies/whatever, when in truth the traditionalist is reading the exact same things into them, ze just likes it that way. In Part 1 of this series a commenter gave an epic example of just how political some knee-jerk defenses of the status quo can be:

When did it become unacceptable for a woman to follow the path of motherhood and caregiving? When did it become unacceptable for a man to be intelligent, driven and successful?

STRAWMAN ALERT! I'm not saying it's unacceptable, I'm saying this is the combination we see over, and over, and over again, and we deserve more varied role models. I'm saying that it's unacceptable that we see so pathetically few alternatives.

I'd also like to ask why you seem to think that "motherhood" and "caregiving" represent a mutually exclusive path from having a successful career?

The longer the so-called "stereotypes" are regarded as oppressive, the less women will want to become mothers.
Like, the whole human race will die out? Oh, noes! I'd better give up my career and my multiple post-graduate degrees and save the fucking species!

Also, I am advocating a more nuanced portrayal OF A MOTHER. How showing a variety of options for mothers could possibly mean less women will want to become mothers, I can't imagine, unless of course you've tipped your hand and you think stay-at-home motherhood is the only form of real motherhood? (the fact that these stereotypes are only "so-called" to you would indicate so!) And/or, perhaps you think women have to be controlled and coerced into motherhood?! The plaintive cry of the privilege-distressed: "But if women know they have options, they won't want to bed me and diaper my babies!!"

And sorry, but how long have men been demonized as child molesters?

I am utterly bewildered as to how this has any relevance to women's representation in kids' movies, unless you think Victim PointsTM cancel each other out? Pssst....little secret here: much like your misconceptions about sitcom dads, the stereotype of men being child molesters is also a product of patriarchy. It's the result of women being seen as the natural caretakers of children, while men are seen as the only gender with sexual desire or agency. A world where men are shown vastly outnumbering women as breadwinners with women as the caretakers (which is what you are advocating) is why it strikes people as so odd to see men caring for children. You can blame YOUR ideology for that one, buddy.

I hope we plan to change that stereotype before there's nothing but stay-at-home daddies.

Are you for or against "stay-at-home daddies"? Earlier in this very comment you were apparently gravely insulted that sitcom dads are domestically incompetent, but now you're holding up stay-at-home dads as this cautionary tale. Is this supposed to be a dire warning about the loss of masculinity, or do you somehow think men will abandon the lucrative world of compensated employment en masse due to the evil specter of feminism? Are you trying to say that the stereotype of men being child molesters is somehow inevitably going to lead to nothing but stay-at-home daddies?! HOW??? I mean seriously, this sentence makes absolutely no empirical, ethical, or grammatical sense.

"Riley's mother [...] could simply be there as a taken-at-face-value role model for young women, just as much as the current Dad is a taken-at-face-value representative of the status quo."
Why can't Dad's success and ambition be a taken-at-face-value model for boys?

Uh, yeah... 'cause we don't have nearly enough of those:

Both parents not paying attention because they're too wrapped up in work is something we all see.

So let me get this's fine for a mother to forget to pay attention to her kid because she's wrapped up in tracking a moving van, but it's not ok for a mother to be wrapped up in paid employment?!

Plus, as shown in Inside Out and tons of memoirs from the 50s, even stay-at-home, patriarchy-approved moms can ignore their kids. In fact kids today get an average of four MORE hours per week with their mothers than kids in 1965. (And four and a half more hours with their fathers. Take that, bumbling sitcom dads!) All the time now devoted to women's paid employment came entirely out of the housework column, with more time to spare for the kids!

This may be a clue that you have a particular ideology that you value above reality, and you're just flinging out whatever rationalizations you can to justify it. Speaking of which...

I don't think kids want to go to a Disney movie to be reminded that their own parents are never around.

Yes, thank heaven for the famed longevity of DISNEY PARENTS that ensures they're always around!!!!

I'm a Disney parent?! You murderers!

Maybe you were thinking of that heart-wrenching scene where Bambi's mom got a job with the National Forest Service?

Dear Andrew: you've said a lot of dumbass shit in these two comments. It's actually rather impressive:

...but I do accept that you sincerely believe it, and that you think your position is well-considered and reasonable. But it boggles my mind that someone could type THIS:

I don't think kids want to go to a Disney movie to be reminded that their own parents are never around.

and not realize they need to reconsider everything they've ever held true about the universe.

By introducing an under-credible reason for the plot's motivation, children can focus on relating to the adventure instead of the plight of the characters.

Yeah, this is why in the history of cinema no one has ever been bothered by the fact that Jack and Rose totally could have fit on that door, or that no one heard Kane say "Rosebud", or that Daniel won the tournament with an illegal kick to the face.

This is exactly backwards. The less credible the characters' plight (apart from in-universe accepted magic) is the HARDER it is to focus on the adventure, because the viewer has to keep actively suspending zir disbelief. Instead of getting caught up in the plot, one is liable to fixate on the simple solution that would make all the action unnecessary. Even in magic-based plots, inconsistent magic can be annoying, but remember Riley's family experience is supposed to take place in the actual real-life world, which requires a certain level of plausibility.

But I guess we're growin' our kids up at 4 years old now. We have to teach them about sex so that we can teach them what homosexuality means. Because apparently we have to, now that it's being shoved down their throats at school.

Oooohhh I just love it when people who disagree with me turn out to be absolutely terrible human beings!

Andrew, it is ridiculously bigoted and homophobic of you to think that gay relationships are inherently more sexual than straight relationships. All you need to teach kids about homosexuality is "Sometimes boys fall in love with boys and some girls fall in love with girls, and everyone in the world deserves to be treated with kindness and respect no matter who they're attracted to." That's IT. It's really not that hard.

And another thing, enough of this paranoia about "shoving" knowledge/acceptance of gay people "down their throats." As if our society didn't actively teach people to be straight:

We have to teach them about child molesters and stereotypes so that we can try to make our kids avoid them.

Yeah, 'cause NOT teaching kids about child molesters worked out so well for the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and the Duggars! (to name just a few...) It's not that there weren't child molesters in previous centuries (all the content warnings in the world for that link, because it's basically a treatise on why you shouldn't have any faith in humanity). It's just that now we recognize it and try to protect kids.

And I'm utterly baffled why teaching kids to resist stereotypes could be a bad thing. Heaven forbid kids turn into critical-thinking individuals!

And we wonder why the most recent generation of kids are completely socked in the brainpan.

I'm sorry, did you just wander off the set of Bye Bye Birdie?!

Or do you prefer your moral scolds from 1853

... see the simpering little beau of ten gallanting home the little coquette of eight, each so full of self-conceit and admiration of their own dear self, as to have but little to spare for any one else... and confess that the sight is both ridiculous and distressing... the sweet simplicity and artlessness of childhood, which renders a true child so interesting, are gone (like the bloom of the peach rudely nipped off) never to return.

or 1695:

"... I find by sad Experience how the Towns and Streets are filled with lewd wicked Children, and many Children as they have played about the Streets have been heard to curse and swear and call one another Nick-names, and it would grieve ones Heart to hear what bawdy and filthy Communications proceeds from the Mouths of such..."

or 20 BC:

Our sires' age was worse than our grandsires'. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt.

And yet it's been 2000+ years and civilization hasn't died out, we've figured out antibiotics are a thing, and I can vote now. I think if we've managed to withstand the corrupted youth of the last 20 centuries, civilization can probably endure the devastating threat that would be Mrs. Andersen founding a startup in a Pixar movie.

In conclusion, Andrew, if you hoped your comment would show I was wrong to think the movie's set-up promoted sexist implications, you missed by thaaaaaat much:

Part 2 of the Inside Out review resumes here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About the Author

Satiricalifragilistic grew up during the Disney Renaissance, and The Little Mermaid was the first movie she ever saw in theaters at age 3. Her mother flatly refused to let her leave the theater when Ursula got huge and terrifying, and maybe that explains her troubled psyche.

While she'll admit to being an inveterate nitpicker, she firmly believes in loving a piece of art even while criticizing it, and in the importance of engaging critically with what she loves. She has special contempt for anyone who tries to claim the politics in Disney films don't matter because "they're just movies," because she knows exactly how much the Disney Canon influenced her little gradeschool self—for good and for ill!

She loves art, design, music, dancing, movies from Hollywood's Golden Age, and British comedy...expect a lot of these to turn up in her reviews and mashups!