Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Women. We'll Settle for Half.

That's the official t-shirt of an organization called See Jane, founded by Geena Davis to correct the remarkable continuing disparity between male and female characters in programming aimed at young people. Incredibly, the entertainment industry needs more studies and data to convince it that girls, and female smurf-like characters and animals and so forth, are still largely missing from the sewage system that is mass media. Such activities keep the Annenberg School in business, I suppose, but sheesh, we all know TV and movies are male-dominated stories told from male perspectives with a pink bow slapped on here and there, and rather frequently a dead mother, to make us shed a tear. What a crushing bore! If it weren't for the exceptions, many of them celebrated right here at Alternative Films for Kids, we'd give up. But the exceptions shine so gloriously that we, like the good people at See Jane, prefer to keep pushing for improvement. Davis spoke about See Jane recently at the National Conference for Media Reform. (After watching Geena, have a look at the amazing keynote by Bill Moyers).

More good news for girls: Henry Selick is now in production with an animated screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline. This is a story about a girl. That's it! No boy sidekick, no brother, and very few male characters to distract from the strength, determination and loving maturity of the girl who travels to the dark side on a rescue mission and finds her way back again—without a Frodo, a Skywalker, a Buzz Lightyear or a Sully to help her.

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