Let’s not get an­i­mated by non­sense

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - Sar­rah LeMar­quand @SarrahLeM

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.