What I didn’t know the Wizard of Oz taught me

Movie messages are not only important for our children.  The content we surround ourselves with each day, even into adulthood, has an impact on our lives.  This TEDtalk by Colin Stokes “How to pick the right movies to share with kids” is relevant for everyone.

Why is there so much Force, capital F Force, and so little Yellow Brick Road?

As I stated earlier in I could show my prowess, I LOVE the Wizard of Oz.  I loved the music and the colors and the journey of each character to OZ.  What I did not know until watching this video was how different this movie was from others.  Colin Stokes comments that the Wizard of Oz has very little violence, most of the main characters are women and the theme of the movie is teamwork and helping others.  The other movie he speaks about at length is Star Wars, a movie I that has not once held my attention.  I have to admit I have only seen 2 of the 6(?) movies.  Though the movie has themes of courage and revolution, the movie is devoid of women and is quite violent.

The key point of his talk is this,

“They are doing a phenomenal job showing girls how they are supposed to defend against the patriarchy, but they are not necessarily showing boys how they are supposed to defend against the patriarchy.  There are no models for them.”

I am all for girl power.  Hollywood, parents, schools, books, they are all targeting girls in the best way they know how to help them become equals.  There  has been much talk on princess culture and other common female targeted movies and how well they live up to these empowerment qualities.  This is all very helpful.

We have got to show our sons a new definition of manhood… A real man is someone who trusts his sister and respects them and wants to be on their tema and stands up against the real bad guys who are the men who want to abuse the women.

But what about the boys?  We must start to focus on rewriting the male part.  In many of the girl power movies, boys become one-dimensional caricatures. We must flesh out these men and model a truly equal partner for these newly empowered women.  Teaching one sided equality leads to a new inequality.  It leads to educated, independent women who must learn how to navigate through a dangerous world.

My sister recently posted this article on Facebook.  I was disgusted that the line “This is my rape.”  meant anything to me.  I am disgusted that I have walked through the streets with my keys through my knuckles or with my phone ready to dial 911.  I am disgusted because we have allowed women to continue to walk through unsafe streets.  Though a simple movie character or even better parental role models will not alleviate all violence and pain, it would be a start.

When I hear the statistics, I think, ‘That’s a lot of sexual assailants. Who are these guys? What are they failing to learn?’

It is not only women who face this waking nightmare on a daily basis.  We are all responsible, men and women, gay and straight, black and white, to create a world where we all are safe.

Colin Stokes TEDex talk:


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