The Hidden Meanings in Kids’ Films
This is a post in response to Colin Stokes’ Tedx talk on How Movies Teach Manhood.
This is something I’ve been talking about for a while – the need to heal our stories.
According to Colin, kids films have a lot of stories based around boys and men. In the not too distant past, many of these stories were about princes saving princesses. Unfortunately, these stories have possibly influenced the statistic that 1 in every 5 women has experienced some sort of male abuse or assault. Colin suggests that it might have to do with the fact that our kids films (like those from Disney) portray men saving women who usually have no friends and/or can’t speak.
Storytelling is a powerful art. It is why our ancestors used it to pass on intricate information about land, climate, culture, rituals, herbal medicine, spirituality, cosmology, and so on. Places and things have no meaning, save the meaning you give to it, but how much richer is a place or thing with meaning? Much richer. And there is an underlying energy that runs with it, like stories.
We all tell stories, but very few today are told in the ways our ancestors used to tell them – with sacredness, care and conviction. Today’s stories are a product of our times, but the old stories were made with the intention to withstand time. If you believe in the power of your story, then much more care is taken in its craft. Every element is carefully considered and refined. When the story gets passed on, it will affect each person in a unique way – for better or for worse.
Redefining What It Means To Be A Man
Colin says, “A real man is someone who trusts his sisters, and respects them, and wants to be on their team. And stands up against the real bad guys, who are the men, who want to abuse women.”
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He’s speaking directly to fathers – stating that they need to help their sons redefine what it means to be a man. In today’s world, where the role of caretaker and bread-winner is being thrown up in the air between sexes, men are more confused than ever. It’s great that women are getting a lot more attention, rights, and empowerment, but many men are being left without any direction or guidance as well.
A lot of the heroines or female protagonists are being clad in armor and sent out to war, but the problem is that the setting is still war, which is male oriented.
If we wish to create a brighter future, we must be sure to recreate a story where men and women are truly equal in spirit – not just rights. Where boys can watch films and absorb the deeper meanings that encourage them to be respectful, who see no competition or opposition working with women. And vice versa.
All in all, the next time you watch a kids’ film, pay attention to its story. Discuss it with others. See what it “speaks” to different people. Everyone’s experience will be different, but it’s important how you interpret it, as it will shape the world of future generations. There’s more than meets the eye.