Is there a 'girly' animation film I can buy for DD that won't make this feminist mother spew bile?

(93 Posts)
ClairityVerity Wed 02-Oct-13 21:56:28

I have finally conceded that I should let DD indulge in pink/ sparkle/ fairy-type things from time to time, safe in the knowledge that she WILL grow out of it. Now that she has healthily embraced her older brother's love of kung fu/ cars/ dinos, I no longer worry about her being sucked full-bodied into a vortex of fluffy pink inspidness which will eat the feistiness from her soul and turn her into some vile, sappy creature like this <<shudders>>.

So! grin All our DVDs so far have been bought with DS's tastes in mind (though he does love a bit of Ben & Holly - HA! So much for his Mr Tough Guy image...). Can anyone recommend an animation film I can buy for DD alone, that won't have me reaching for the incinerator?


GrrArgh Wed 02-Oct-13 21:57:47

Check out some of the Studio Ghibli films

baskingseals Wed 02-Oct-13 21:58:29

How old is she?

Brave is pretty good if she is four or five.

Balloonist Wed 02-Oct-13 21:59:19

I've hear films like Brave and Mulan have pretty feisty heroines though haven't seen them myself.

noblegiraffe Wed 02-Oct-13 22:00:20

How old is she?
My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service both have strong female leads. Kiki even has a main character who is pregnant and runs her own business. DS will probably like them too.

QueFonda Wed 02-Oct-13 22:00:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I second Ghibli. Spirited Away is fabulous.

QueFonda Wed 02-Oct-13 22:01:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

And obviously give Disney a wide berth grin

Really...? Just let them watch age appropriate films. They watch a few times then get bored. Hilary Clinton grew up in Disney era too. Why do you appear to think everyone becomes a ditz? Seems a limiting view too, just from opposite end.

BetsyBell Wed 02-Oct-13 22:05:18

YY To Studio Ghibli films, My Neighbour Totoro is a beautiful film and Kiki's delivery service is fab, Howl's moving castle is another one worth checking out. My DCs watched all these from a young age. No pink or sparkles but plenty of magic!

On the Disney front: Brave and Tangled are pretty good too, oh and Princess and the Frog - all strong, positive female characters.

Another vote for Spirited Away here. It's a wonderful film with a female heroine.

ClairityVerity Wed 02-Oct-13 22:07:02

Whoops! Forgot to say she's three.

Minnie - DVDs in our house get rewatched until they bleed.

Mulan - good choice, they loved that one when we got it out of the library months back!

ClairityVerity Wed 02-Oct-13 22:08:12

Are there any Ghibli films suitable for a 3yo?

BlackberrySeason Wed 02-Oct-13 22:09:40

Spirited Away - but it is quite scary where the little girl is left all alone and the parents become pigs!

PinkFairyArmadillo Wed 02-Oct-13 22:10:01

Definitely look into Studio Ghibli. How old is she? Some of theirs might be a bit dark for young children, I'm thinking especially Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Spirited Away is absolutely lovely though, it's a fabulous film.

WidowWadman Wed 02-Oct-13 22:11:46

Tangled actually isn't bad for a Pixar Movie, either.

ArabellaBeaumaris Wed 02-Oct-13 22:11:57

Not Spirited Away, that's too scary!

My Neighbour Tortoro & Kiki have been tried by my sensitive 4 year old & passed.

chebella Wed 02-Oct-13 22:14:04

Arietty by Ghibli is perfect for non-vomit-inducing female lead. Also Totoro - epic film. Spirited away quite frightening IMO.

PerditaXDream Wed 02-Oct-13 22:14:21

My girls (12 and 9 now) have grown up with Studio Ghibli films and really enjoy them. Aside from the 2 mentioned above, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle are good but probably for older children, there's loads of others.

For younger children - Ponyo is good.

From Disney, Mulan and Brave have excellent feisty heroines, Lilo and Stitch is good too but quite old, not sure if it's still available. We also enjoyed Tangled (a version of Rapunzel) and the Princess and the Frog. More traditional tales, but not insipid.

AlfalfaMum Wed 02-Oct-13 22:15:24

Brave or Epic. Yes, the bears are a bit scary in Brave, but my younger two were 5 and 7 when they first watched it and loved it (and no nightmares).

Merrylegs Wed 02-Oct-13 22:17:56

I think Spirited Away is too freaky for a three year old. Dd really like Return to Neverland at that age. Sure it's got Peter Pan in it, but Wendy's daughter Jane is a pretty feisty character.

Faux Wed 02-Oct-13 22:20:28

Hasn't your son watched any films with female leads?

PerditaXDream Wed 02-Oct-13 22:20:29

oops, took too long to post. But Ponyo is for younger children I think, as is Totorro and Arrietty, based on the Borrowers book. If you like the style you can get the other Studio Ghibli films for when she's older.

All the films here are things I have been happy to sit through with my children, unlike (say) Barbie movies which my eldest DD liked when younger.

GlitterKitty Wed 02-Oct-13 22:20:51

Tangled is great.

ClairityVerity Wed 02-Oct-13 22:22:00

Okay, well she does fairly well with scary (she's often braver than 7 yo DS with scary scenes, bless her - and him!). So I think it'll be Mulan and Brave as I want her to grow up identifying with strong female characters.

Part of me wants both of them to at least see the other shit so they have a broader some point I might borrow a vomity princessy DVD from the library and then compare and contrast their wet characters with the stronger ones they'll have seen 100 times by then. Though maybe age 3 is a tad young for that sort of feminist essaying, huh? wink

I'll keep Ghibli at the back of my mind for when she's a couple of years older.

Thanks so much for your advice, folks!

ClairityVerity Wed 02-Oct-13 22:24:24

Faux - only Mulan. He wasn't interested in Brave when it came out, and half-watched Tangled at a friend's house but wasn't interested. I actually think having a sister whom he adores has now made him more open to watching 'girly'-targeted film and TV, so I'm hoping he'll enjoy the films we buy 'for her' as much as she does.

LynetteScavo Wed 02-Oct-13 22:25:59

Does your 3yo genuinely want to indulge in pink/sparkle/fairy type films?

I'm still waiting for my 8yo DD to ask for such things.

Shark Boy and Lava Girl was DDs film of choice aged 3.

noblegiraffe Wed 02-Oct-13 22:27:14

DS loved Kiki and Totoro at 3, I don't think you need to wait to show them.

nobutreally Wed 02-Oct-13 22:28:43

Studio Ghibli is absolutely what you want here - as others have said, Ponyo (one male and one female/fish lead! A retelling of the little mermaid story) and My Neighbour Totoro (2 female leads, male 'backup') are a safe 3yo way in - fantastical, childs-eye, and joyous. And with fantastic female characters and a brilliant sense of fun. My ds and dd both adore them, they work perfectly across genders, so your ds absolutely won't feel left out.

ClairityVerity Wed 02-Oct-13 22:30:04

Lynette - yes, she bloody does. She's always talking about Tinkerbell and the rest of them - didn't get that crap from ME, that's for sure. <<grr>> Comes of allowing her to mix with other children. Won't make that mistake again. <<polishes cage>>

MonstersBalls Wed 02-Oct-13 22:32:44

Definitely Tangled. My tomboy dd loves it and she won't watch any 'princessy' stuff.

LynetteScavo Wed 02-Oct-13 22:33:28

Tinkerbell is crap? shock

DD has never even mentioned Tinkerbell or asked to see a Disney Princess film. After 2 boys I would have quite enjoyed some frilly Disney.

I dunno, just rent a few Disney films and get them over and done with.

Catmint Wed 02-Oct-13 22:35:59

Another vote for stuff by studio Ghibli.

Our faves ( dd is 6)

Kiki's delivery service

Our all time favourite is Totoro. We have the soundtrack and we recreate scenes from the film, which is hilarious. Also have lots of lovely totoro toys and household goods. I have Totoro decals on my car.

twofalls Wed 02-Oct-13 22:46:44

What about shrek, toy story, incredibles - all have pretty feisty female characters. Epic was pretty good too.

And as dd1 pointed out to me last week, Barbie always saves the day in the barbie films <runs away>.

ClairityVerity Wed 02-Oct-13 22:49:21

"Barbie always saves the day in the barbie films <runs away>." ROFL!

Lynette - no idea whether the film of Tinkerbell is actually crap in cinematic terms, but I meant 'crap' in the sense that anything made with coy, sickly, over-feminised female characters immediately goes on my crap heap. grin

Okay, I'll give Ghibli a try but will keep a Disney lurking in the background just in case. grin

twofalls Wed 02-Oct-13 22:55:44

There was supposed to be a #runsaway comment at the end of my post grin

OhDearNigel Wed 02-Oct-13 22:56:15

Tank girl smile

Faux Wed 02-Oct-13 22:59:19

Tinkerbell is like a mechanic in the modern films. She has skills, is resourceful, solves engineering problems type of thing. Barbie is usually her own hero in her modern films, even if theyare cheesy.

Pinebarrens Wed 02-Oct-13 23:00:52

My neighbour totoro is a firm favourite by DD who is 4. She sadly lives in a world of princesses and butterflies.
We bought it when she was 3 as I couldn't take anymore Tangled and she loved it straight away.
I've just bought Kikis Delivery Service for her Xmas. Must see if I can get the Totoro sound track, I do find myself singing it from time to time

And for the record, Tinkerbell is crap.

ModeratelyObvious Wed 02-Oct-13 23:08:56

Kiki fine for 3 year old DS smile

When Despicable Me 2 comes out, it's pretty good, the female spy is quite cool and the daughters are strong characters. Also ok for 3 year old DS.

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 02-Oct-13 23:10:44

I don't think Tinkerbell is really crap. She's an engineer. She has strong female friendships and learns from her mistakes etc. I was prepared to loathe the Tinkerbell films but they're ok. Certainly no worse than Tangled. And, most of the Barbie films are about girls/women working together to overcome adversity. I still detest them though.

I was determined there would be no sodding princesses or Barbie in this house <hollow laugh> but we have the lot. I decided it was up to my DD to define her taste, not me. I content myself with harrumphing and pointed comments...

sonlypuppyfat Wed 02-Oct-13 23:13:14

Alien. Thats got a good strong female lead.

gallicgirl Wed 02-Oct-13 23:15:44

What about The Incredibles?
Been a while since I've watched it though so wouldn't like to confirm it's definitely suitable.

tombliboouun Wed 02-Oct-13 23:18:56

Flushed Away
Monsters vs Aliens
The Bee Movie

ecuse Wed 02-Oct-13 23:21:43

More votes for Brave, Kiki and Totoro here - I really like both and my 2yo DD loves them to distraction.

She loves Ponyo too, but I'm a bit horrified by the scene where the father is trying to 'squeeze' Ponyo back into fish form. It feels really violent and scary to me - looks like he's throttling her with intent to kill. DP thinks I'm overreacting but it gives me chills. So I don't put Ponyo on voluntarily and I skip through that bit if I'm around when it's on.

DanglingChillis Wed 02-Oct-13 23:22:24

The U rated Studio Ghibli are: Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro, ponyo, Howl's Moving Castle, Arriety

Other female led U rated animations: The Wild Thornberrys, Lilo and Stitch, Despicable Me has lots of female characters but a male lead, The Secret of N.I.H.M., Hoodwinked, The BFG, The Incredibles has several female charcters but a male lead, The Last Unicorn, A cat in Paris, The Rescuers, Kirikou and the Sorceress.

PG rated films: Coraline, Wreck It Ralph has a male lead but good strong females, Monsters v Aliens, Brave.

Live action films with female leads: Charlotte's Web, The Secret of Moonacre, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Annie, A Little Princess, The Railway Children, Nim's Island, Matilda, Spy Kids, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Princess Diaries, the Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Nanny McPhee, National Velvet, The Secret Garden, The Fox and the child, the Secret of Roan Inish, Return to Oz.

Depending on your taste, most Disney princesses from Beauty (and the Beast) onwards make a nod at feminism but some are more acceptable than others. I like the complex mother-daughter relationship in Tangled but generally try and avoid the princess films. Lilo and Stitch is a million times more acceptable.

A Mighty Girl has a good selection of films with female leads, it's worth looking at the Bechdel Test to see if there are lots of female characters, the good thing about Studio Ghibli is the depth of the presence of women in the films.

Zhx3 Wed 02-Oct-13 23:38:12

Studio Ghibli! My dd (and ds) has liked Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, Ponyo and Arietty since she was 5!

MomentForLife Wed 02-Oct-13 23:43:03

Pocahontas is a good one if your DD wants Disney. In the Disney version she decides to stay even though John Smith wants her to go to England with him.

My DD has a huge Princess obsession, but recently she's gravitated more to the classics like Jungle Book. She also loves Rango but a bit scary for 3 year old depending on child.

Faux Thu 03-Oct-13 10:51:11

Spirited Away and Coraline freak me out! Never mind a 3 year old! Avoid until 10yo!

GrrArgh Thu 03-Oct-13 11:09:46

I didn't realise she was 3 when I recommended Studio Ghibli.

I don't want to upset the apple cart but if I couldn't find something goof for a 3 year old, I wouldn't bother with a film at all. Such small children don't need to be watching films at all. I'd go for something almost gender-free, like Pingu.

MrsWolowitz Thu 03-Oct-13 11:16:15

And obviously give Disney a wide berth


Beauty and the Beast - Belle gives up her freedom, refuses to marry the good-looking vain man, wants adventures and education despite being told she shouldn't as she's a woman and ultimately saves the day.

Mulan - dresses up as man to join the army to save her dad. Doesn't want to be forced to wear dresses and make-up. Goes on to become the best soldier and save china.

Brave - refuses to marry, bucks traditions etc.

Tangled - breaks free of her prison home situation, saves the day.

Pocahontas - saves the day, saves the village, educates the bloke in it etc.

People love to slate disney but there are some great female characters.

Beehatch Thu 03-Oct-13 11:21:12

We love Totoro and Spirited Away, also for small ones 'Panda Go Panda' is worth looking up

Flicktheswitch Thu 03-Oct-13 11:23:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReviewsOffers Thu 03-Oct-13 11:35:34

well for me it's the boxing off element I don't like.
So that's why I encourage the non girly girl girl stuff. Stuff that speaks to a person first, not a girl first.
there is enough of the other, I don't need to encourage that, what needs the push is the feminist friendly stuff.

thanks for the recommendations, all smile

Igloofornow Thu 03-Oct-13 11:47:08

Why does your DS not have anything that you consider girly? Both my DS love tangled, beauty and the beast, Sofia the first...

GlitterKitty Thu 03-Oct-13 13:12:01

My DS likes a bit of Tinkerbell, Tangled etc. He is 7. This is normal.

noblegiraffe Thu 03-Oct-13 13:38:23

Why is avoiding girly stuff apparently going hand in hand with encouraging boy stuff (cars, dinos). Isn't that just giving a message that boy stuff is great and girl stuff is shit? Hardly a message of girl power...I have two nieces, one couldn't be forced into a princess dress, one is obsessed with them. Would you force the non-princessy one to play with dolls? That would be as boring for her as forcing the girly one to play with cars. They have their own interests and personalities, you can't simply give them one.

cornflakegirl Thu 03-Oct-13 13:42:37

Definitely Ponyo - strong female lead, and my boys both love it (and have done from your daughter's age)

Lost and Found - not girly, no female lead, but just lovely

MrsWolowitz Thu 03-Oct-13 13:44:59

what noble said.

I'm a feminist. I also like pink, things with cupcakes on and handbags. I see nothing wrong with this.

My little girls like pink, sparkly princessy things. They also like pirates, monsters and spiderman. They are individuals, not gender stereotypes.

I'd not encourage them to watch a film with a simpering, useless heroine anymore than I'd encourage them to watch a film with an aggressive, arrogant hero. Saying that, I like to think that most movies etc are just entertainment and that their moral compasses, self worth and ethics will be more influenced by me and the people around them and their general upbringing than some movies.

ubik Thu 03-Oct-13 13:54:14

Age 3 - Ponyo, My Neighbour Totoro, Laura's Star ... Also this might seem odd but Angelina Ballerina (old version) is pink and fluffy but Angie is a pretty strong character who makes mistakes and then resolves things, climbs trees, rescues friends, organises shows..we really like her.

I have 3 daughters and they chortle through Despicable Me and when you DD is a about 5/6 then Matilda is a great one, perhaps after you have read her the book.

Kiki is great but very long and I think perfect for a six year old.
Tangled was rather odd - the mother kind of puzzled DD3. And yes Brave is ok.

Miranda (the one with Danny DeVito is brilliant).

LurcioLovesFrankie Thu 03-Oct-13 13:58:18

Mrs Wolowitz, I love Brave and Tangled, but I draw the line at Beauty and the Beast, partly because it is so plausibly packaged - their Belle is bright, loves books, puts the overtly sexist bloke in his place - but underneath it all, there is no getting round the fact that however you try to package it up, the underlying message of B&tB is "ladies, if you love your kidnapper/abuser they will become the lovable man you want them to be." (NB, not Disney's fault specifically - I just think this particular fairy tale is beyond redemption).

MrsWolowitz Thu 03-Oct-13 14:01:31

ladies, if you love your kidnapper/abuser they will become the lovable man you want them to be

Well, yeah, I think you're right. Hadn't actually thought of that!

NicholasTeakozy Thu 03-Oct-13 14:05:19

My two daughters loved The BFG and probably watched it twice a day. They are now in their late teens and are proud feminists. I watched it a few times once and loved it too.

MonstersBalls Fri 04-Oct-13 11:29:39

How about Shrek?

Princess Fiona is looking for true love but she also kicks ass
Watch from 1.35 smile

jennycoast Fri 04-Oct-13 11:33:35

Ponyo made me actually sob in the cinema - and the woman in front. DCs unperturbed however. Kiki's delivery service or especially Arietty perfect.

DanglingChillis Fri 04-Oct-13 21:25:55

Most of the comments on here recommend Studio Ghibli (which I completely agree with). No other animation studio consistently produces films with the depth of female roles. There's an article here about why 'strong female characters' aren't enough. And in a world where only 1/4 of characters in the movies are female and most princess characters are the only female characters in their films I do think it's important to seek out films that have a variety of female characters, because at school and on TV and when they go to most films at the cinema they aren't going to see any.

We've been making an effort recently to watch films that have multiple female characters and we've ended up watching some really interesting films, and the kids love the Studio Ghibli films, Kiki's Delivery Service is fantastic. If only there were more options.

ByTheSea Fri 04-Oct-13 21:27:39

DD1 loved Spirited Away.

bsc Fri 04-Oct-13 21:34:34

Kiki is rather fabulous isn't it? The pg baker, the artist, the old lady, Kiki's mother- great female characters that aren;t in the least bit insipid.

I couldn't choose a favourite from Totoro, Kiki, and Ponyo- love them all.

I like the Cat Returns too, though it's a little beyond a 3yo... very odd story!

madeupstuff Fri 04-Oct-13 21:40:54

Panda go Panda (English version of course) predates Ghibli by a few years.

exexpat Fri 04-Oct-13 21:42:42

I agree with lots of people about Totoro, Ponyo, Lilo & Stitch, Brave. Maybe Hoodwinked? Also the Incredibles and Monsters Inc. DD loved all of those, as did DS (well, Ponyo & Brave weren't out when he was little).

FWIW, DD did also go through a sparkly-pink-fairy-princess-Barbie stage when she was roughly 3-5, so we do have some Barbie films and princessy Disney ones, but she snapped out of it at around 5, and it doesn't seem to have had a lasting impact on her - she certainly isn't one to simper around waiting for a prince to rescue her. At 10 she wears what she likes, which is very rarely pink and mostly trousers, and when all the boys on an activity course she did were saying things like 'girls are hopeless at shooting/archery/climbing/fencing/kayaking', she very happily told them they were talking rubbish, and proved them wrong.

ModeratelyObvious Fri 04-Oct-13 21:43:22

Another great article, linked from the one above.


SummerHoliDidi Fri 04-Oct-13 21:56:21

Dd2 is 3 and her current favourites are Matilda and Harriet the spy. She also likes Annie.

We loved Ponyo so much when we got it out of the library that dd1 made a ponyo doll for dd2 and it's now her favourite toy, she sings the annoying ponyo song every time she plays with it. She's getting another couple of Ghibli films for Christmas.

We've enjoyed Brave (although dd2 cried when the bear turned back into the queen hmm - she preferred the bear) and shrek, but dd2 has so far turned her nose up at anything too girly.

SummerHoliDidi Fri 04-Oct-13 22:01:36

Oh, yes to Panda go Panda. We got that out of the library and in one week dd2 watched it 12 times shock. She was ill that week and couldn't do very much but still 12 times of the same film and I was pig sick of it.

Lio Sat 05-Oct-13 14:27:51

In the Princess and the Frog the heroine's best friend wants to marry a prince, but the heroine is concentrating on working hard and saving so that she can set up her own restaurant. The prince is feckless. i.e. they both have lessons to learn from each other. Mama Oti (sp?) is a great character. Good mother-daughter relationship (also father but he dies early on). And in the end the heroine and prince decide that they don't mind about staying frogs, because it's more important to have luuuurve than be a prince and princess, although (spoiler!) that is what happens anyway. I'm sure there are reasons not to love it, but I can't think of them. Randy Newman's songs are great and the animation is beautiful.

KoalaFace Sat 05-Oct-13 14:41:29

The little girl in Wreck it Ralph is brilliant!!

My DS is 3 and he loves the Tinkerbell movie! I had to give my Dad a telling off for being all "that's a girls movie!"

DS also loves Brave, Tangled, Fern Gully, Toy Story, Shrek and the Chipmunk movies.

DanglingChillis Sat 05-Oct-13 15:25:06

The little girl in Wreck it Ralph is brilliant!!

Yes, DH and I thought it was great, although he did spoil it somewhat by deciding to explain all the computing science jokes in real time (he works in IT, I'm not a computing numskull).

ClairityVerity Sat 05-Oct-13 21:21:04

Wow, can't believe this conversation is still going on!

To answer a couple of questions from igloo, wolowitz and noble:

- DS doesn't have films that I consider 'girly' because he's not been interested. No point in pushing him where he doesn't want to go. And as I believe I said earlier, he loved Mulan.
- The whole point about me looking for more 'girly' films for DD is that she does want to watch them. And as I said in a previous post, I'd now probably watch the ones with wet, sappy female characters with DD, and then discuss what we thought of the characters.
- I disagree that children are not influenced by TV characters - TOTALLY disagree. My kids are CONSTANTLY role-playing directly from what they watch, often immediately after the programme has finished. I'm certain they are not the only kids in the world who do that!

For me the point of looking for a film that's mainly for DD is that so far I've always chosen films based on what I thought DS would enjoy, and now I want to choose a few with DD in mind, and I'm conscious of how heavily she will be influenced by them.

As someone above said, we also avoid programmes with OTT 'masculine' characters, aggression and violence - otherwise both DS and DD will be influenced into thinking that this behaviour is okay

ClairityVerity Sat 05-Oct-13 21:27:54

Lurcio and Dangling - great posts.

It irritates me that there are so few films with good female leads - usually the female character is second to the male. IMO this does not count as a film targeted at girls.

I'm surprised by the Tinkerbell statement - an engineer, huh? Interesting. But she's still got that coy, eyelash-batting, over-feminised, princessy look about her, which makes me want to pull my teeth out. And stick them in Barbie's over-preened scalp.

I don't think by any means that I can avoid DS and DD seeing those kinds of image, of course not. But I know that I have to do my homework to make sure they see a broader range of female characters than those, which is why I started this thread.

It's worked well already in that I did that for DS by seeking out non-aggressive programmes for his age group and interests. Now it's DD's turn.

ILovePonyo Sat 05-Oct-13 21:33:42

Ahem, I agree with Ponyo grin

Also agree with Wreck it Ralph, we recently got it for dd and she loves it. Would you believe we've watched it at least once a day for the past week and I still enjoy it shock and dd loves it.

My dd loves anything 'princessey' and recently told me she still liked something blue (pajamas) "even though they're for boys" which surprised me. I'm trying to balance out the princess stuff with things like Ponyo/totoro etc because I think if I banned princess stuff she'd want it even more.

gerhardrichter Sun 06-Oct-13 23:13:31

I wonder why there seems to me to be a unspoken consensus that it is ok for girls to veer towards the more masculine end of the scale of boys entertainment and toys, but not ok for them to embrace the princess type stuff. I get that you want girls to enter the world on an equal footing with men. but don't you think that by belittling 'traditionaly girly' toys you are belittling girls. and adding a subtext that boys stuff equals good, girls stuff equals bad.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 06-Oct-13 23:33:44

Because we all paddle in patriarchy's stormy seas, gerhard.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 06-Oct-13 23:35:01

Would you say Lego is traditionally girly, traditionally masculine, or traditionally for children?

Would you have answered the question the same way 30 years ago?

exexpat Sun 06-Oct-13 23:42:14

I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't think it is quite as simple as saying 'girly toys bad, boyish toys good'. I have an older boy and younger girl, but bought things like a toy kitchen, doll's house, pushchair etc for DS to play with when he was a toddler - all things that are traditionally 'girly', but I see as good playthings for both genders, as they allow a lot of scope for imaginative role-play. DD had full access to those, as well as DS's more traditionally boyish toys (Brio train sets, cars etc), plus things that I would say are gender-neutral, like lego, toy animals etc.

What I don't much like - didn't ban, but didn't encourage - was the newest kind of hyper-girly, 100% pink and sparkly, all-about-appearances kind of toy which wasn't around when I was little but the shops are full of now. I also don't much like, and did not encourage, the hyper-masculine battle-super-hero-with-guns kind of toy, which I think has also become much more common in the past couple of decades. Yes, there were Barbies and Action Men around in the 1970s, but if you compare the toys from then to the ones now, they have become much, much more extreme and gender-differentiated, as have children's TV programmes. And even things that always used to be gender-neutral, like building blocks and balls, now tend to come in boy and girl versions (pink v blue, or Hello Kitty v Thomas the Tank Engine etc). Not what I would call progress, but it is all part of a drive to sell more of everything.

gerhardrichter Sun 06-Oct-13 23:46:29

lego is for children.
I don't understand this comment 'Because we all paddle in patriarchy's stormy seas'
When my children were little they played with the toys they wanted to. Full range in the house from lego, toy trains to Barbie and Cinderella outfits. No comments ever made about whether the girl was hindering her development wearing a princess outfit. Or should have been more suitably engaged by playing with the building blocks.
When she got A* for A level Chemistry I bought her nail varnish because that is what she likes.
She's started Medical school this year and has always known that she should be reliant on herself and not wait for someone to support her.

gerhardrichter Sun 06-Oct-13 23:50:58

I just don't think that denying the fact that girls like pretty things is a particularly helpful ten#et for bringing girls up. much better to go with ok you want a lovely outfil and jewelry and a family then you'd better put yourself in a position where you can afford to buy it/support it yourself.

paperlantern Mon 07-Oct-13 00:03:01

dd has seen a fair number of the ghibli films. they're ok, but I wonder at them being light entertainment. they are quite challenging to watch

the old Disney stuff is far more amusing as long as you don't take it too serious.

The importance is to offer perspectives on everything you watch.

point out the good bits and the bad (sleeping beauty takes a real hammering here) that way your not teaching censorship but the ability to think critically.

let her watch the "traditional" princesses. add in
beauty and the beast (beautiful film),
lilo and stitch (esp. blended families),
alice in wonderland (the brilliant one noone remembers,
labyrinth (not animated awesome female lead)

personally none to keen on tiana in princess and the frog. your dreams mean nothing without love.shock

we have most of the Disney stuff (im a big fan! ) but most of the real princessey princesses doesn't get a look in anymore. dd choice

DanglingChillis Mon 07-Oct-13 00:43:21

Gerhardrichter, here's a shocking idea: Not all girls like pretty things. And frankly, what 3 year old is really interested in the romance in most Disney Princess films? I always think it's slightly daft that we force these adult storylines on young girls. Boys get Pixar buddy movies where male characters do things, girls get (at best) a princess rebelling against getting married. I just want my daughters to watch films with girls in them doing things. I want NO romance in the films I show my daughters because I'm turning into an old prude and don't see why a young child would be interested in that.

adalovelacelaptop Mon 07-Oct-13 14:20:40

[Name change to something more appropriate]. I know not all girls like prettly things, and good for them. But if a girl does like all this pink stuff I don't see that steering them away from it is particularly helpful. The sub text is that being female in the way they choose is turning them into a second class citizen. maybe it is a symbol of change in society that very young girls use the pink and glittery method of gender identification. Rather than thinking that I get less resources therefore I am a girl.
Any way my experience is that as they grow up girls identify all the pink and Disney crap with young children and naturally want to eschew it as they get older.
Same as some boys are all over stuff aimed at them as toddlers and then reject it as babyish when they get older.
But don't get me started on the sexism that was Mr Benin the 70's.

paperlantern Mon 07-Oct-13 20:17:14

I agree with adalovelace. variety is the way to go.

lilo and stitch is an awesome buddy film. The follow up films and cartoon series are awesome too.

DadWasHere Mon 07-Oct-13 23:26:15

Studio Ghibli, yes, amazing films, our family has seen all of them. If you want to visit Studio Ghibli in Japan you will need to buy tickets over six months in advance. But don’t assume their films = better path to strong womanhood. If that was simply the case then, frankly, women in Japan would have a better go of it than they do. My daughters saw Beauty and the Beast in turn as well. My job as parent was to filter anything I thought was dangerous to them, not to be the gatekeeper that 'boys stuff' is neater than 'girls stuff'. Pink is not the color of Satan or God, its just a color. The fads (of pink or any other colour/toy) passes through are more concerning in terms of risking raising kids with consumerism defining their self worth, which is an issue faced by both genders.

Beauty and the Beast, the message that women held as prisoners can redeem their captors and love them, is ham fisted. You don’t need to cast it THAT far down the line, its more subtle. Plenty of women get hung up on the 'diamond in the rough' they intend to 'change' as a mechanism to validate their self worth and unique personal insight, both to themselves and peers. Add to that mistaking arrogance as confidence, possessiveness as protection/love, aggression as decisiveness- there is a lot that can go wrong in how specific women see and value men.

DanglingChillis Tue 08-Oct-13 19:44:20

I don't think anyone is saying boys stuff is 'neater' than girls stuff. The OP asked for films that had female lead characters that weren't peddling sexism. Studio Ghibli films or any of the others recommended aren't 'boy's films' they are films where girls get to have adventures that don't end in marriage.

It's interesting how offended some people are by the idea that as parents some of us might want to expose our children to one type of culture in preference to another once gender comes into it. That is our right, in the same way that parents chose to take their children to the certain shows at the theatre, certain museums or art galleries, watch certain TV shows, read certain children's stories etc etc. This is just one aspect of it. We all choose to consume the culture that reflects our own values.

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