You know, it’s no wonder girls grow up to feel depression when they look in the mirror, depression when broken up with, presssure to have the big white wedding and pressure to stay under a certain weight and have a certain look we define as ‘beautiful’.Even a seemingly innocent film like Kangaroo Jack isn’t free from the inference of such pressures.
Recently while babysitting two angelic little kids, I happened to catch the last twenty minutes of Kangaroo Jack, as they watched it attentively before bed. In the time I watched it, a white attractive american man kissed a white blonde haired, blue eyed girl. Of course at the end of the film they were married and the man described his happiness at having a “beautiful” wife. The woman’s value lay in the fact that she was beautiful, not anything else.
It served only to illustrate why ‘500 days of Summer’ is one of my favourite movies of all time. You CAN make a film where the couple break up rather than get married and make it just as wonderful, as feel-good and as insightful as a romantic comedy with the typical come-back-together-and-get-married ending. As Carrie Bradshaw said: “Some love stories aren’t epic novels, some are short stories”. Not only do I think the rom-com film industry need to take notice, I think the kids film industry should follow suit. J.K Rowling once said when you are a children’s author you need to be a ruthless serial killer and I couldn’t agree more. We wrap our kids up in bubble wrap just so they can head out into the real world, sans bubble wrap and receive the pain we were trying to protect them from. Stop it- you’re hurting them in the long run.
Back to my original point; why must kids films teach our little kids that the person you kiss is the person you marry? It only sets them up for disaster when their first relationship breaks up and it’s the end of the world- I mean, weren’t they supposed to get married sometime in the near future? An ideology also reflected by today’s tween craze, The Twilight Saga. As we all learned from New Moon, if your boyfriend breaks up with you; sit on a chair for three months and be sure to scream like something horrifying is happening, while ignoring the fact that there are others in the house you are severely freaking out and depriving of sleep. Oh and also don’t forget to obsessively email his sister and treat the nice boy who’s actually being friendly like a pile of dust purely for the fact that he’s not your ex-boyfriend. So even as our little girls reach the tween and teen film market, the message doesn’t change much.
Let’s not forget the fact that even if our kids happen to somehow miss the numerous films promoting the fact that you must be conventionally beautiful and married by a certain age to be happy; there are dolls that will promote the exact same thing, such as Barbie and the dreaded Bratz. Barbie is the idyll of beautiful our girls are bombarded with: tall, thin, blonde hair and blue eyes; and to top off the packgage she comes complete with her attractive white american husband Ken. I thank my lucky stars that my first friend was a boy who introduced me to boy toys which I found to be much more fun than dolls. What did Barbie do? She stood there and looked pretty. What did my Action man do? He swung off my banister on a bungee cord.
That’s right people: do not buy my kids Barbies unless you want to see them in the charity shop within the week. I will not promote an unhealthy image of beauty and the ideal life in my house.
After all, if Barbie were real she would be 6′ 0″, weigh 100 lbs., and wear a size 4. Her measurements would be 39″/19″/33″. Also, She would not be able to menstruate, hold up her back and neck, would have to crawl on all fours due to her legs and feet, and would have many medical problems. How much more unrealistic can you get?
One day, a month after writing this article, I found a fully researched and it seems well written book which seems to say very similar things. I haven’t read it yet but I found this review on the Observer website, I’d advise giving it a read: