I felt like I’d traveled back in time when I overhead the following conversation in one of my classes. A male student said he’d seen “The Avengers.” A girl in the class said, “Oh, I loved that movie!”
Did the boys say, “Cool! Me, too”? Nope. They laughed. Why? Because, as they said, “The Avengers is a movie for boys.”
When I was in grade school, Gloria Steinem was an active participant in history, not just a historical figure. I understand that no bras were really burned back then, but if they had been, I’d have seen it. So, when I heard, “” is for boys, my feminist brain exploded.
“For boys?” I said. “Really? It’s 2012! Just for boys? I can’t wait to see ‘The Avengers’!” This produced further hilarity. According to my male students, The Avengers isn’t a movie for girls, especially girls over 50.
I was relieved that the girls in class were as gob smacked as I over the boys’ unbelievable attitude. Still, it comes on the heels of Disney’s complete redo of “Rapunzel,” after the original version tested poorly with boys. They pumped up the action, dumped the girly fairy tale name and released it as the manlier “Tangled.” My daughter and I, both decidedly female, loved the movie. The sad fact is that it wasn’t made more exciting because girls like exciting movies, though. It was made more exciting to appeal to boys. Interesting to note that Disney’s top executives are all male.
The National Organization for Women was formed in 1966. At the time, girls didn’t play little league or go to med school. When they grew up, they made 58 cents for every dollar a man made, if they had a job at all. It’s been nearly fifty years since then. Little girls have a world of options open to them, but they still grow up and make less than men. At 77 cents per dollar men make, that’s only .004 cents more per year over nearly half a century.
I sometimes run to “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyonce. It’s a “girls rule” kind of anthem and I love it, but I see the lie behind it. True, there are more options than ever available to girls and women these days. But when I run and I hear Beyonce and her background singers chanting “Who run the world? Girls!” I know it’s just bravado.
Girls don’t run the world and telling them they do just seems cruel. Until little boys don’t laugh when little girls love action movies, and grown women make 100 percent of what grown men do, then girls need to know life still isn’t fair.