Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Be Yourself!

Last week, a friend and I went to see the new film "How to Train Your Dragon: from Dreamworks Animation. The film itself was very good a features a younng Viking boy who struggles to find his place in his warrior culture. The film got me thinking about a prominent feature of many animated films.

The message of many of these films is "Be yourself!" Many animated films feature characters who don't fit in in their society. Po in "Kung Fu Panda" struggles to find his place in his father's noodle shop and in the dojo of the Furious Five. Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" is ostracized by the people in her community because she is interested in reading and seeing the world instead of marrying Gaston. "The Little Mermaid," "Shrek," "Lilo & Stitch," "Mulan" and many other films feature this message.

This is obviously a lesson that we as a society have decided is important and is something that we should be teaching our children. As a transgender woman I can't help but note the disparity between the message of these films and the way trans people are treated. It seems that we want our children to learn to be themselves, but only to a certain point.

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