Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dear Pixar: You're Not Doing Fatherhood Any Favors

Not to go there, but OK, let's go there....

(Posted this on Facebook earlier and decided I wanted to house it on my blog as well to maybe hit a different demographic and further the discussion. Hi, welcome!)

Pre-req: watch the new Pixar Inside Out trailer. Oh look, embedded here for your convenience.... (I'm so giving!)

OK, my thoughts:

I'm reluctant to be one of those "find controversy in everything" people on the Internets, but I'm actually curious to hear some thoughts on this one to see if it's just me who thinks what I think.

I'm super not into gender stereotypes in TV shows, and not just from a feminist perspective -- I always cringe at the "bumbling, clueless dad" persona. You know the deal: the sassy, successful mom who has it all together and the oaf husband who's just trying to keep up. I'm sooOOOooo not into this, I don't think it reflects reality (but maybe does unfortunately influence reality and make us think this is how marriages/parenting should work -- yikes) and I dislike how commonly it's portrayed. Not doing any favors to the misconception that men lack emotional intelligence and can't have thoughtful, emotionally intimate relationships with their children and equal-parenting-skills status with their wives/partners.

Disappointed that Disney Pixar plays into this with its new trailer. I'm sure the movie will show more redeeming parts of the relationship as a whole, but the "ummm what were we talking about, let me try and not make a fool of myself" reaction from the dad, and the eye-rolling "I will now fantasize about that hot Brazilian pilot I could have married instead" from the mom, is frustrating for me to see perpetuated again on the screen, especially in a kids' film. I'm pretty sure this scenario would have been shot down immediately if the gender roles had been reversed, with the mom being portrayed as even slightly incompetent while the dad pictured an attractive, exotic ex-girlfriend in his head.

Those are my thoughts, but, family systems portrayal in the media is a pet topic for me. Just me? Has anyone else noticed how rampant this is in other shows?

(I considered making this longer than my original Facebook post since I could talk for dayyyzzz about this and give many good/bad examples of fatherhood in TV shows, etc., but I'll save us all the time and leave it at this for now!)


Ashley Frederickson said...

I watched this last night and felt it was so cute and I'm still excited to go see it because I want to know if it is deeper than the preview they are displaying. Yet something felt so wrong about it. I couldn't place my finger on it. Well said! You write so well and say things in a perfect way! I also believe this is portraying family communication as a competition instead of unity and closeness a family should have.

Kristen said...

Yes! I hate how the mom immediately thought of her ex boyfriend - what kind of message does that send to all the pre-teens who are going to watch this? It may go over little kids heads, but not pre-teens and teens.

The only (ONLY - I thought about it one day) TV show that shows normal men figures is Parenthood. Which is probably the best show ever - soooo much more like reality than any other show.

Hannah Smith said...


Kayla FrecklesinApril said...

You know, for a rabid feminist I am weirdly dense when it comes to this kind of stuff. But now that you've pointed it out I am deeply annoyed by it. I really hope the movie rises above that! Fathers are, as a whole, infinitely better than that.

Brandon Holyoak said...

Nice post, curious to what your take is on the portrayal of men in Brave, particularly as fathers and as members of society?

Budget Splurge Beauty said...


Camille Millecam Whiting said...

So agreed! I hate the double standard no matter what way it sways.