to want animated films with strong female characters for DD to watch?

(103 Posts)

DD is 3.4 and we sometimes sit down and watch films together. She's at the age where she's starting to notice differences between people and characters and isn't very impressed with the 'girls waiting to be rescued' kind of plot that seems to be common. I mentioned this to a friend the other day and she thought I was being daft, that films have nothing to do with how a child views the world as they're "just entertainment". She seemed very amused that I want to find some films with strong female characters. hmm

I'm not BU about this am I? DD adores the Octonauts (and pretends to be Tweak or Kwazii most days), likes Lilo and Stitch, Mulan and Beauty and the Beast (mostly for the teapot I think!). But most other children's films seem to feature girls who need to be rescued (I'm thinking Aladdin, Robin Hood, the traditional fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White etc). Am I overthinking this?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 14-Nov-12 13:33:45

You are not being unreasonable at all; your friend is being naive.

Have you seen any of the Studio Ghibli films? Animated films, always a young girl as the lead, and women of all ages feature strongly. (another bonus is that characters have shades of grey - noone appears to be all good or all bad).

Gubbins Wed 14-Nov-12 13:35:12

Not overthinking at all. I'm impressed that she's already noticing the way that girls are often portrayed. You're raising a good little feminist there.

Studio Ghibli are great for strong female protagonists. My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, Arrietty, Kiki's Delivery service...

CrapBag Wed 14-Nov-12 13:35:13

Yes you are.

They are just films. Some have different style characters. Just because some feature females waiting to be rescued doesn't mean you should avoid them.

Brave has strong female characters but I did find it was quite scary for a little one. Shrek is pretty good too. Fiona is a strong female character.

Fakebook Wed 14-Nov-12 13:35:43

What about Brave? Or shrek?

Spatsky Wed 14-Nov-12 13:35:47

The Princess in "Brave" is pretty ballsy, compared to usual Disney Princesses especially.

It's a pretty crap storyline in general though.

Spatsky Wed 14-Nov-12 13:36:36

X posts with Fakebook and Crapbag

I've heard of Studio Ghibli but thought their films were more for older children - I'll go and have a look at them now, thanks.

I haven't seen Brave but had forgotten about Shrek, she does quite like that one too.

neolara Wed 14-Nov-12 13:39:46

Scooby doo. Velma always solves the mystery, and while Daphne does wear a short skirt, she also (literally) kicks arse on occasion.

Pocahontas? She's quite headstrong. You already have mulan and belle.

DixieD Wed 14-Nov-12 13:42:30

Mmm I see your point. Even ones I can think of with good female characters often have male ones in the lead role.
Any of the Shreks. Princess Fiona is a strong character. Toy Story 2 and 3 with Jessie in them. New Disney princess movie Brave. Very good strong female. Scooby Do - think the girls in that are quite good, although I dont watch it so could be wrong. My daughter loves Matilda but your DD may be a bit young.

Ill have to have a think for some more.

CrapBag Wed 14-Nov-12 13:44:21

Let her watch Buffy. wink

Ok I am joking and she is far too young, but another example of a strong female lead.

See there is tons of stuff around. I don't buy into all this 'oh women are only cast in weak roles' plenty of proof here that they are not.

Gubbins Wed 14-Nov-12 13:44:51

My Neighbour Totoro is perfect for that age, PuddleJumper. It was my terrified-at-the-slightest-peril eldest daughter's favourite when she was about 3. I'd probably put off Spirited away for a couple of years, though.

BeauNeidel Wed 14-Nov-12 13:46:30

I like Studio Ghibli. Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away are favourites here.

However, I also really like Aladdin et al. I grew up with those and I'm a very strong woman. Nothing to rescue here.

I think possibly you are overthinking a little bit. I'd like to think that my mother and other role models had a greater influence on my life than the Disney movies I liked and watched over again.

CrapBag I will definitely be introducing her to Buffy when she's a bit older! grin

Thanks Gubbins, I'll look out for that one. I"ve just discovered that we have Howl's Moving Castle on the Sky box - what's that like?

Beau I'm happy for her to watch Aladdin etc, I just want some other stuff to balance it out a bit. She's starting to complain that the girls never get to do anything!

Fakebook Wed 14-Nov-12 13:48:49

Tangled is quite good. Rapunzel is quite handy with the frying pan.

Dd is 5 and is into Mona the Vampire at the moment. If you want to go retro why don't you buy her some Maid Maryan and her Merry Men DVD's. I loved that programme growing up.

MummyPig24 Wed 14-Nov-12 13:49:27

Brave is great, Princess and the Frog, Tiana is pretty strong in that film.

JackThePumpkinKing Wed 14-Nov-12 13:49:51

Howl is great, but even DS who has watched Ghibli films since her was 2 was a bit scared by it and it was a bit old for him. I'd start off with My Neighbor Totoro and go from there. grin

JackThePumpkinKing Wed 14-Nov-12 13:50:06

Ponyo is awesome too.. really sweet.

I've never heard of the Princess and the Frog! blush

<adds Tangled and Ponyo to the list as well>

KnittingZombie Wed 14-Nov-12 13:51:58

Princess and the frog is good, though the voodoo character might be a bit scary for younger viewers

MummyPig24 Wed 14-Nov-12 13:52:52

Ooh and Coraline. Depends if your dd is easily freaked out or not. I seem to have bred totally fearless children. No, actually, dd is scared of the carpet shop.

Argh, no, Coraline freaks me out!

I was coming straight on here to say Studio Ghibli! grin

I love it, they're all brilliant.

My Neighbour Totoro is gorgeous.

Spirael Wed 14-Nov-12 13:56:51

How about Anastasia?

Avoid Princess Mononoke from Studio Ghibli - fantastic film but aimed much older. Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Ponyo and Kiki's Delivery Service should all be fine.

MummyPig24 Wed 14-Nov-12 13:57:51

I love Coraline, kids do too. It is a bit creepy though!

JackThePumpkinKing Wed 14-Nov-12 13:58:08

God yes, def avoid Princess Mononoke.

Laputa is brilliant for strong female roles, but perhaps a bit too violent at this age, though I think DS watched it when he was 3.

AndiMac Wed 14-Nov-12 14:01:18

Wall-E is another one to consider. The protagonist is a "male" robot, but the sidekick is a pretty tough and strong "female" robot. Quote marks as they are robots obv, not people, but it still gives the right impression in my opinion.

AndiMac Wed 14-Nov-12 14:01:46

Plus the right age for your DD.

I don't think I've heard of Anastasia either, whose is that?

Oh yes, we have Wall-E!

FlipFlippingFlippers Wed 14-Nov-12 14:02:51

Brave, Tangled, and Mulan are favourites in our house. Toy Story 3 wins every time. Bonnie and Jessie are brilliant characters
and Barbie is good too. Tho my eldest dd insists she is a space ranger and wants to be Buzz Lightyear grin

MrsWolowitz Wed 14-Nov-12 14:03:56

I think Rapunzel in Tangled and Belle in Beauty and the Beast are pretty ballsy. As is Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

I also quite like Jasmine in Aladdin with her refusal to accept forced marriage and the way she won't bow to the skinny baddy.

The girl wolf in Alpha and Omega is a good one too.

MrsWolowitz Wed 14-Nov-12 14:05:36

Oh and another vote for Mulan and Pocahontas.

They're strong female main characters too (both of whom rescue the male characters too).

Isandri Wed 14-Nov-12 14:09:28

The last unicorn. It's an oldie but was "drawn" by Japanese animator and hasn't dated. All the female characters are strong and the men are a bit wimpy and need to be rescued. The ending is definately strong female with no last minute female hero whimping out. Buy it from amazon and make sure you get the 2003 dvd conversion that comes with the English/German language option.
The American studio conversion is poor quality.
the last unicorn

It can be a bit scary for an under 4 so watch it first.

R2PeePoo Wed 14-Nov-12 14:11:45

The new Scooby Doo is awful. Velma chases after Shaggy all the time and is desperate for a relationship. Why can't see just be sarcastic and clever as she was when I was growing up.

DD is older (7) but loves Coraline, Secret of Moonacre, Mulan, Stardust, Wizard of Oz, Labyrinth, Willow, Ella Enchanted, Secret Garden, Josie and the Pussycats,Matilda, Jane and the Dragon etc. Jane and the Dragon is particularly good but it makes my eyes go funny after a while, your DD is probably coming up to the right age for it.

I've got a lot for when she is older including Bring it On, Whale Rider, Akeelah and the Bee, Buffy, Ever After, A League of their own, The Hunger Games and Practical Magic.

R2PeePoo Wed 14-Nov-12 14:16:47

Forgot City of Ember, Inkheart and The Spiderwick Chronicles

fuzzpig Wed 14-Nov-12 14:24:08

I'd assumed my dd (5) was a bit young for anime but I think I'll try some of those suggested on this thread! I love Howl and Spirited Away myself smile

WelshMaenad Wed 14-Nov-12 14:25:09

The three girls in Despicable Me are great, and the girl in Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.

That's a blast from the past, I think I watched The Last Unicorn when I was a child! The name rings a bell... Something about the waves on the sea...?

<Googles again>

Spirael Wed 14-Nov-12 14:56:39

Anastasia. Not Disney but often mistaken as such. About as historically accurate as most animated kids films, but it's an exciting adventure with good songs and a strong female lead.

Anastasia knows her own mind, does her own thing and ends up defeating the villain herself after her love interest gets rendered unconscious. wink

Might be a bit scary in places, as the villian is basically a walking lich who sold his soul to the devil and now his body is decomposing around him...

FrankSpenser Wed 14-Nov-12 14:57:55

Monsters Vs Aliens
The Secret World of Arrietty (Studio Gibli)
Brave
Chicken Run
Cloudy With....Meatballs
How to Train Dragon
Tigress in Kung Fu Panda (1 + 2)

Spirael Wed 14-Nov-12 15:09:17

Quest for Camelot might be worth a look as well. Kayley is a spirited, independant heroine.

An additional element is that the love interest is (and remains) blind, and the film does a sensitive and reasonable portrayal of this. He's every bit as independant as the heroine!

Pretty standard romp but has some good songs and amusing sidekicks. I haven't watched it for a while, but I don't think it was particularly scary in any places.

pissovski Wed 14-Nov-12 15:20:18

Meg in Hercules is pretty strong most of the time "I'm a damsel, I'm in distress, I can handle it"

WillowFae Wed 14-Nov-12 15:58:38

My two both LOVE Ponyo which is a Studio Ghibli film.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 14-Nov-12 16:34:36

I quite like Enchanted she starts off all dreamy and silly thinking about the plastic prince. She then has her time in New York City discovers what life is about gets Ballsy beats the witch\dragon saves Dr McDreamy and chooses him and his real life. Also love the twist that the Kick Ass Exc. woman ends up falling for plastic prince. Life doesn't always work out like you plan.
Even if you are not the strongest person to start with you can find it within yourself if something is really important.

mnistooaddictive Wed 14-Nov-12 16:39:42

Bizarrely enough the Barbie films are good for this. They always have female leads who solve problems and don't just sit around editing for the prince to save them. They are better than you would think!

60sname Wed 14-Nov-12 17:31:02

The Incredibles is great - starts off very trad 1950s family model and then subverts that. The mum and the daughter are great (and the daughter has some nice non-sappily-told personal growth). (Disclaimer, am child-free so not sure what ages it's suitable for).

Blatherskite Wed 14-Nov-12 17:36:43
lancaster Wed 14-Nov-12 17:44:34

I would second the barbie films. Barbie always "plays" a strong female character. The new movie princess and the popstar is really good ( my 3 and 5 year olds agree).

Colyngbourne Wed 14-Nov-12 20:19:32

Like many here, I can only recommend Studio Ghibli films. My kids have grown up watching them all, and whilst at the age of your daughter, I would recommend only My Neighbour Totoro, Ponyo, Arrietty and Kiki's Delivery Service, I would also encourage watching the others as they get older. My teens have gained a lot from strong female role models in Ghibli films for older teens - Whisper of the Heart, Only Yesterday and Ocean Waves, let alone Spirited Away, Mononoke, Howl etc.

The best Disney females are those in the last 20 years - Belle, Mulan, Pocahontas in particular. Anastasia is also very good - and assertive in her own right) - this was one of the old Don Bluth animations - but perhaps for someone older than 3-4 yrs.

gorionine Wed 14-Nov-12 20:33:08

Jane and the dragon www.janeandthedragon.com episodes are an absolute favourite at ours, boys and girls aged 6 to 44!

gorionine Wed 14-Nov-12 20:35:11

Sorry, forgot to say that you can find box sets of the cartoon on Amazon.

MoelFammau Wed 14-Nov-12 20:39:51

I work in the animation industry and yes you're absolutely right. The whole thing is as depressing as hell.

The only thing WORSE than the 'rescue me' princess type is the smart, sensible one who sorts out the daft boy. Think the female lead in 'Ratatouie', or 'Cars' or pretty much any Pixar film. Who wants to be the boring sensible one? Why not the funny one?

If it helps, we're doing our best to push forward a girls series for funky girls!

lljkk Wed 14-Nov-12 20:46:15

It's a pretty old-fashioned film if it only features girls who need to be rescued. Modern animated films aren't like that at all, I find. LIke someone else said, the modern Daphne in Scooby Doo kicks butt and is very observant & resourceful.

Has anyone seen the Scooby Doos where Daphne is the hair-raising race-car driver & Fred can't do anything but bite his nails at the prospect?

Quest for Camelot (=The Magic Sword?) was one of my first choices, too.

Whocansay Wed 14-Nov-12 20:47:05

Not animated, but I'm going to suggest Mary Poppins. I always loved it and my DSs of 2 & 4 love it too. We sit and watch it in installments and have a bit of a boogie to the songs. Very strong female lead and best use of a TERRIBLE accent ever!

(I was about 16 before I realised that actually Londoners do not speak like Dick Van Dyke blush)

Pilgit Wed 14-Nov-12 20:58:47

YANBU! They pick up the gender stereotyping stuff really easily. we were watching mirror mirror last weekend (not a great film but strong female lead - well she learns to be and kicks arse) and somewhere near the beginning snow white is in trouble and our 3.5 DD says 'oh, she needs a knight to come rescue her.' My jaw hit the floor -where has she got this from? Both me and DH retorted, as one, 'why can't she save herself?' We try all the time to teach her to be her own hero. But this sort of comment has made me realise how much normal TV and films have an effect.

I will also be taking the above suggestions!

I loved Ever After:A Cinderella Story, it's not animated but there's a great female protagonist who rescues herself and the prince, possibly a bit old for 3 but a good antidote to helpless princesses for when she's older.

YANBU!

As soon as I saw the title I thought about Studio Ghibli. They're usually very good wrt both sexes needing rescuing, both sexes being heroes, etc. Spirited Away is one of my favourite films, maybe a bit old for your daughter though.
Howl's Moving Castle is fantastic too. I'm not sure how either of the films translate though as I watch them in Japanese with subtitles blush So the English voice over may be different, I know it commonly is with anime!

Anime in general is good for strong female characters, if you can get over the tiny skirts every girl wears! Sailor Moon is another good one for older kids from what I remember, it would require a child to want to follow a series though as it goes from ditzy young superhero who is saved by masked man regularily to young woman who saves the masked man as she grows older through the first two series. The later series didn't get translated though iirc, which is a shame as they are the better ones for the strong female leads thing.

t0lk13n Wed 14-Nov-12 22:56:10

Mulan

Kethryveris Wed 14-Nov-12 22:57:14

how to train your dragon.. the girl in that kicks some ass.

JackThePumpkinKing Wed 14-Nov-12 23:20:17

Disagree about HTTYD - she's good, but not that good.

CaliforniaLeaving Wed 14-Nov-12 23:51:31

My 7 year old still loves watching Jane and the Dragon. (me too) At 3 we watched Monster inc and all the toy story movies, Mulan, and Little Mermaid. Still haven't seen Brave, it's on our list and she did love watching Princess and the Frog with her Grandma.
Beverly hills chihuahua was a hit the dog is a girl and has a girl voice but isn't animated.
Not sure if you can get some of the others Dd watches, Pearlie. she's a park fairy who has to stop the bad fairy each episode. Willa's wildlife about a girl who keeps wild animals in her backyard.

Laputa/Castle in the Sky is my favourite movie ever (although I hate the new voice dubbing). The Pirate leader is a brilliant female character. Sheeta is a bit goodie goodie and does get rescued a fair bit, but she grows a pair by the end.

Labyrinth, The Princess and the Frog, Anne of Green Gables...

nooka Thu 15-Nov-12 05:55:25

Another vote for Studio Ghibli films. My dd still loves to watch them all on a regular basis, and usually it ends up with all of us on the sofa with her. My Neighbour Totoro is probably our all time favourite (it's wonderfully rewatchable) and great for a littlie (the younger sister is every bit as feisty as her big sister).

We were also surprised that the earlier Barbie movies were actually pretty good, mostly because the music is so lovely, but the Barbie characters are surprisingly resourceful and dynamic. I'd go for Nutcracker, Rapunzel or Swan Lake and see if they are your sort of cup of tea.

The first two Shreks are good, but the third and fourth ones are rubbish, partly because Fiona pretty much disappears.

Another vote for Totoro, Ponyo. & Brave (bit scary though), but I was really annoyed by the ending of Mulan - in order to marry her prince, she first had to give up her power/strength, revert properly to her traditional feminine mode and then wait for him to come. Rather undermined all the fabulousness of the rest of the movie for me.

Spy kids when she's older.

GingerPCatt Thu 15-Nov-12 07:07:30

Not ponyo for a good female character. She is the epitome of damsel in distress! The boy decides her fate. Sorry if that's a spoiler. I hated that movie.

I'm just marking my place as I do believe my amazon account will be taking a battering this afternoon.

Thank you for all these ideas.
Mine love Anastasia & Ponyo so get more like these will be fab x

Mrsjay Thu 15-Nov-12 09:38:06

pochahontas is pretty strong as is jasmine mulan there is lots of female characters in films yes they may fall in love but they still rock nothing wrong in falling in love but they do seem to go on adventures, My teens watched disney films and tbh they never simpered after their prince to come they are pretty strong young women

JackThePumpkinKing Thu 15-Nov-12 09:44:33

Ginger - no she's not! She breaks away from all her siblings and goes out on her own. Her mother is also a very strong character.

BegoniaBigtoes Thu 15-Nov-12 09:45:27

Monsters vs Aliens is genuinely one of my favourite films and a feminist masterpiece. It's so funny and really, REALLY doesn't go near the traditional trope of get married and live happily ever after. Even feisty heroines usually end up walking down the aisle but Susan in M vs A turns into a monster and in the end opts to stay that way rather than have her jerk of an ex back. It's brilliant.

SparkyTGD Thu 15-Nov-12 09:57:05

Bolt, Bolt is the lead but the cat, Mittens, is very cool (& female) and Penny, the girl, is pretty tough.

Yes to older Scooby Doo, the new ones are all about the male characters being interested in the females & vice-versa.

Charlotte's Web, charlotte the spider herself & the girl who wants to keep the pig.

mamamibbo Thu 15-Nov-12 10:32:20

yanbu i feel the same way

dd1 is 3.5 and she likes brave,princess and the frog, tangled,toy story 2+3 (with jessein) pocahantas aswell

Wow, thank you all so much! I now have a very long list of dvds to look for - I may sneak a few onto the Christmas list for relatives!

Moel I look forward to that series! Atm DD is obsessed with the Octonauts which I love and that has a couple of fairly strong female characters but otherwise the tv options seem pretty dire (especially when you've only got CBeebies!).

Mrsjay Thu 15-Nov-12 10:45:35

TBF the likes of sleeping beauty are very old films 1930 'something' I do think kids films have moved on slightly

crocodilesmiles Thu 15-Nov-12 11:16:34

From what I remember, Flushed Away is a good one. Rita is quite a strong character.

crocodilesmiles Thu 15-Nov-12 12:40:04

Also, Fungus the Bogeyman, which is partly animated, is good. Here - There is a main character called Jessica, who is independent and strong. Bargain at £2.99 too! smile x

Kethryveris Thu 15-Nov-12 12:44:02

the reason i like the girl from HTTYD is she isnt a typical girl, she's a dragon fighter, she's kicking ass with the boys and you never see her in a dress or mooning over anyone, nor does she ever do the damsel in distress thing!

CrystalEclipse Thu 15-Nov-12 13:02:52

Alice in Wonderland
Lilo and Stitch

CrystalEclipse Thu 15-Nov-12 14:01:29

First of all I will admit to being a MASSIVE disney fan, but I must admit I get quite annoyed atposts like this

I do think Mrsjay has a point. Many of the original Disney films are comparatively really old now and just like much of the music seems dated, so does the portrayal of women. But just because classics like Dracula or Dickens may not carry the same feminist values as modern society, does not mean They don't make a jolly good read or that I'm going to run off and be bitten by a vampire.

I also think it's easy to project how we as adults view a film and forget that a child might view it differently. In the end this are just good old traditional stories that have been retold for generations and regularly referenced in modern life e.g. "a cinderella story"

DD watches all sorts of cartoons (although we have quite an extensive Disney collection blush) including the Studio Ghibli films. FWIW whilst she's seen the early Disney stuff she doesn't gravitate to it either preferring Mulan and Lilo and Stitch and the odd dose of Transformers. Arguably the female lead may be slightly more feminist (although I really do think this is questionable) but I don't often find myself nodding my head at some of the messages the films project generally.

The messages that the traditional Disney films try to convey are in fact quite lovely, e.g. believe in dreams (even in adversity), beauty lies within, courage don't give up etc. I think personally these are the more child friendly sentiments that still have value and are as relevent today to modern boys and girls as they were then.

ElectricMonk Thu 15-Nov-12 15:16:52

I agree - it's very sad! I second Anastasia, Shreks 1 and 2, Beauty and the Beast, and Pocahontas. She's juuuust about old enough for some of the milder Roald Dahl children's stories as well - I know he's a bit dark, but you can tell from his writing that he was a father to girls as well as boys I think. Matilda and The Magic Finger both have female protagonists, there are probably more but I can't think of them at present. There's also The Wild Thornberries series, the girl in that was pretty self-reliant from what I remember, as was her mother...

I definitely used to watch Daria cartoons by the time I was 5 years old and loved it - even though I didn't get all of the jokes, she was a very positive role model to me all the way though school (and I now have every episode on DVD). The hyper-feminine, workshy characters were all gently ridiculed, while the less popular but hardworking and free-thinking characters were clearly represented as the cool ones (including Jane, who wasn't academic but was a great artist, and Jodie, who was very pretty but also a high achiever).

At least things will improve in a few years when she's mature enough (if not officially old enough in some cases, sadly) for some of the following, in a rough ascending order of age rating:

- The Parent Trap (in which the silly, dippy, excessively feminised stepmother is ousted as a result of the twin girls' resourceful, inventive and messy schemes);
- Jumanji (I don't remember much about it, but I know the brother and the sister were both equally involved in the action);
- Sister Sister;
- The Worst Witch (books and series);
- Sabrina The Teenage Witch;
- Ella Enchanted;
- Miss Congeniality;
- Xena Warrior Princess (okay, I know it's a bit violent but I watched it from 6 years old, had Xena dolls instead of Barbie and still credit her with making feminism cool for lots of the girls in my class);
- The old Nancy Drew books (no idea what the reprints are like);
- The Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett, the first three of which are written for tweens but could be read together at a younger age (actually TP is great for strong female characters overall - Susan Sto Helitt, Angua and Granny Weatherwax are all fab and I started reading about them at 11 years old);
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer;
- The Big Bang Theory (some of the episodes are a tad adult, but I think it's worth finding the age-appropriate ones for the sake of showing her Amy and Bernardette).

You know, that list actually makes me a bit sad - almost everything on it is aimed at audiences of 12+, as if the only contexts in which girls can be independent/strong-minded are dark and dangerous ones... sad

Must say, I'm very glad my parents used their own judgment about age-appropriateness or I'd probably be a very different person now! I was really unpopular at school and could easily have become shy and unassertive, but I'd already learned from Daria, Xena et al that those weren't qualities I admired (and that strong, intelligent girls often got picked on but it didn't matter because there were ways of dealing with it). While girls might not be negatively affected by a barrage of "damsels in distress", my own experience leads me to believe that exposure to positive female role models on TV amongst all of that can be very beneficial.

Mrsjay Thu 15-Nov-12 15:43:04

The messages that the traditional Disney films try to convey are in fact quite lovely, e.g. believe in dreams (even in adversity), beauty lies within, courage don't give up etc. I think personally these are the more child friendly sentiments that still have value and are as relevent today to modern boys and girls as they were then.

Oh this ^ ^ wonderful post a lot better than I could have said

. I do think it is ok for children to watch disney films and enjoy them it is ok to be a bit meh about them as grown ups but tbh a child can see things so much more smiplistic (not a word ? ) than we can. a young child is so much different from a grown woman and it is up to us as parents to guide or children about equality positive role models etc and not all films have simpering defenceless girls in them I know my girls are not simpering defenceless females because they watched Disney films .

I'm not saying that she shouldn't watch the older Disney stuff, just that I want her to be familiar with some stronger characters to balance it out. She's already started to complain that girls never do anything in films and they're boring confused and I want her to see that girls don't just sit around waiting to be rescued.

Obviously there will be greater influences on her world view than films, but I think that as a parent it's important to be aware of sexism (and any other kind of -ism tbh) in this kind of material so that you can counter it if need be.

CrystalEclipse Thu 15-Nov-12 20:51:54

Most films can be viewed in either way, Shrek for example. Is Fiona strong female lead, or woman who has abandon the woman and comfortable home to become a monster in a swamp to live with the man of her dreams? An slight exaggeration maybe... but what about the general message of the film? Most of the jokes though are about referencing traditional fairy tale and rival animation studio Disney. So it begs the question is the message you want to give your kids that you achieve success off the back of others or though your own invention?

Children pick up on our own insecurities about these things. Best way to avoid your children seeing the "failings" of the female characters is to talk about the more positive messages from the films instead. True of so many of the children's films listed above as giving a more positive role model.

CrystalEclipse Thu 15-Nov-12 21:11:27

Oh and the interpretations above kinda show the difference between the way I in my teens saw shrek (at the time I thought it was hilarious) and the way I as an adult see Shrek. When I was younger the interpretation was far more simplistic.

Shrek and Peppa Pig are the only two cartoons that I as an adult genuinely can't stand. But I do like thought and beauty in my cartoons, for these reasons alone Disney and ghibli make the grade for me.

MarianneM Thu 15-Nov-12 21:16:17

OP, try the Madeline series, it's all on youtube.

They are originally really nice books, but the series is quite good too, especially the older episodes.

blanksquit Thu 15-Nov-12 21:20:07

Not animated but mine has loved Matilda for years. Also how to train your dragon. and Madeline (the film).

germyrabbit Thu 15-Nov-12 21:21:00

sex and the city

DowagersHump Thu 15-Nov-12 21:25:50

This is a bit of a weird recommendation possibly but the Tinkerbell films are quite good - in Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue, the main protagonists are female (there are a couple of male fairies but they don't save the day).

Princess and the Frog is very anti-feminist - the message there is that she won't find love unless she gives up her career dreams. So she walks away from her dream for love and then her career dream comes true - bleugh sad Horrible message for little girls

ProjectNice Thu 15-Nov-12 21:54:51

Check out the Bechdel Test next time you watch a film/tv thing. It's marked out of three:
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

It's sometimes very depressing, you can reverse the genders so does it have two named men... very, very few films in that case score less then three.

Little Mermaid 2 out of 3
Shrek 1 out of 3

prettysunset Thu 15-Nov-12 22:16:17

Charlotte's web, (although not animated) Charlote runs the whole show and manipulates the situation. Fab little film.

MandiandPops Thu 15-Nov-12 22:19:50

Mary Poppins! She doesn't take any nonsense from any of the silly male characters.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 15-Nov-12 23:01:58

Is Coraline too scary for DS1 (aged 5)?

Woozley Thu 15-Nov-12 23:08:36

I like to expose DDs to a range of female characters. They don't all have to be kick-ass heroines. Not all women are like that, neither are men!

I did used to get irritated by the girl character perpetually being the weak one when I was a kid though, always the one who tripped up and got the gang caught or something. I think female characters are portrayed differently now, far easier to find the strong characters I had to really search for in the 80s.

Mrsjay Fri 16-Nov-12 08:49:21

"failings" of the female characters is to talk about the more positive messages from the films instead. True of so many of the children's films listed above as giving a more positive role model.

^ ^ this it is so important to talk to children about things they are watching I am not talking about them taking notes and we set an exam at the end grin but I have always spoken about women simpering or females waiting on their man etc etc with my DDs , it does sink in just drip feed it from early on, MY daughters do see these things in tv programmes and films now,

I protest loudly every time dd2 talks about twilight <boak > creepy sparkly guy hangs about your bedroom she feels miserable and he saves her <heave> oh and the only thing that will make you happy is to actually give up your mortality for the said twinkley vampire angry

she does see it for what it is and didnt really like the last film but went cos the pals were going she was more into the wolf boy grin

Oh FWIW coraline scared me witless never mind a 5 yr old those buttons for eyes <shudder>

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 16-Nov-12 08:52:26

Thanks Mrsjay

<takes Coraline out of present bag>

<decides to read Amazon descriptions more carefully in future>

Mrsjay Fri 16-Nov-12 09:03:05

If he isn't scared easily some kids are fine with the darker side he will like it I thought it was creepy, I like tim burton nightmare before christmas and all that but coraline <shudder>

crocodilesmiles Fri 16-Nov-12 09:30:08

There's Laura's Star as well.

Here it is, my little sisters used to love this!

Woozley Sat 17-Nov-12 09:54:46

Did I watch a different Princess & the Frog then, the one where she opens a successful restaurant at the end? When did she give up her career? It's a fantastic film!

crocodilesmiles Mon 19-Nov-12 10:07:24

The Forgotten Toys is also quite nice. The rag doll is voiced by Joanna Lumley.

"I also think it's easy to project how we as adults view a film and forget that a child might view it differently."

Well part of the reason I feel strongly about this is that my neice became upset at the age of 3 because she wanted to be a knight or ?fireman? when she grew up and only boys could do those things.

She loves Mulan now but still needs more examples of heroic, brave women who aren't just about romance (and that excludes most Disney films, including Mulan really who of course gets engaged in the end).

Also, Tangled is a terrible film for gender - look at all the things she does with her time! Sewing dresses, painting, reading, dancing with inanimate objects. All fine activities but not exactly gender balanced!

JAne and the Dragon, on the other hand, was a brilliant series.

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