Let’s not get animated by nonsense
IF YOU’VE ever heard someone complain that the chef used too much truffle oil in their risotto, then you are familiar with First World problems.
Well, now there’s a new type of trivial whining: far- fetched problems in children’s movies ( FFPICM).
What is the latest film that’s so vile, so steeped in misogyny, so profoundly offensive that it has moral guardians in a flap? That would be Inside Out.
Yes, the one set inside the control centre of an 11- year- old’s mind, with her emotions in the leading roles.
According to The Mail on Sunday, the film “stands accused of causing psychological damage by depicting Sadness as a fat child”.
Parents, we’re told, “have raised concerns over Sadness, voiced by actor Phyllis Smith, being depicted as a frumpy fat girl while Joy ( Amy Poehler) is slim and fashionable”.
A string of child therapists are quoted as to the regressive messages in the film, with psychotherapist Dilys Daws saying: “It’s a pity the sad character is also labelled as being fat, as that means that being fat is sad.”
No, the pity is that an innocuous, well- intentioned film is being torn to shreds on the most flimsy of premises.
Misplaced outrage also erupted when Frozen proved a runaway hit with its target audience in 2013.
Not content with having strong female characters in the leading roles, US sociologist Philip Cohen got straight to the real issue. Small wrists.
Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, wrote of a scene in which wide- eyed heroine Anna holds hands with a suitor: “Giant eyes and tiny hands symbolise femininity in Disneyland.”
So why all the hysteria? If ever there was a case of looking for problems where none exist, this is it.
This is not to deny that children’s films play an important role in shaping a child’s understanding of the world and influence them in a positive way.
While it can be easy to scoff at the more earnest and high- minded of kids’ fare, a film or television show can help develop empathy or prick a young, previously self- obsessed, conscience.
For this would- be animal welfare activist, watching Charlotte’s Web as a child proved a defining moment.
My relationship with ham sandwiches was instantly changed and, to this day, has never recovered.
So by all means, let’s remain vigilant and be quick to condemn depictions of genuine sexism or racism when they occur.
But obsessing over the dimensions of an animated creation?
As a slender- wristed character famously once advised, let it go.
Chris McMahon is on leave