Our World Is Gendered

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Children are often times exposed to gender stereotypes at a very young age, whether the exposure is from parents, toys, or TV shows or movies. This gives boys and girls the idea that they must act and feel a certain way because of their genders. One way the world exposes this to them is by putting these stereotypes in movies that kids can connect to. The Lego Movie is an example of a popular children’s film that perpetuates the gender stereotypes common in America culture by using Lego characters to demonstrate stereotypical femininity and masculinity.

The main character in The Lego Movie is a construction worker named Emmett. He was an everyday guy who woke up, had his breakfast, and then went off to work like everyone else who was portrayed in the movie. His life changed when he stumbled upon a red plastic piece that assigned him to be the “chosen one.” He is eventually found by a council of different Lego worlds in a quest to take down the evil President Business. President Business was an evil character who wanted to keep the entire world oblivious to what was really going on in the world. Emmett was forced to fulfill a role that he knew nothing about, while chasing a girl who barely knew how he felt. In the end President Business is defeated and Emmett wins the heart of the girl he was chasing.

In society there are male stereotypes that involve males being the hero, antagonist, or the main character throughout a movie. In The Lego Movie the main characters name is Emmett and he was the protagonist. The story was told through his eyes, which is our culture’s standard go-to when telling a story. In Sean Nixon’s reading he states that, “ the male characters were positioned as the bearer of the look (the active eye) in the film story” (p.314). Everything seemed to be put through a male’s perspective. The main character was a construction worker who was trying to save the world, which falls under the gender stereotype that males are always the heroes. Another gender stereotype that involved a male character is the bad guy, President Business. Not just that he is a male character playing the antagonist, but the characteristics that this character holds. Some of the stereotypical characteristics are bossy, cruel, and strong and this character, President Business, depicted these throughout the movie. Nixon states that, “the coding of masculinity in these films privilege the attributions of toughness, hardness, and being in control” (p.315). President Business was just that by asserting his force onto the people who worked for him and towards the end of this film when he unleashed his master plan. Things were to be done his way and if they were not followed, it usually resulted in a bad ending for that character. Another character we could apply this with is Batman, who multiple times through the film claimed he did not need help and could fight off the bad guys by himself. These examples portray the gender stereotypes that are portrayed to kids at a young age. This covered a males gender stereotypes, but there are also many female gender stereotypes that are portrayed to young girls throughout the movie.

One could argue that the stereotypes of female characters in films are that the audience does not see through their perspective unless it is a female driven film. For example, the character Wyldstyle was only seen through the eyes of Emmett who was the main character. Mulvey states that, “ A woman performs within the narrative, the gaze of the spectator and that of the male characters in the film are neatly combined” (p.62). The story that is taking place in The Lego Movie is not based around the female character, and the only time she is relevant to the audience is when Emmett is fantasizing about how much he desires her. This proves another stereotype of how woman have to be to catch the eye of a male audience. Every time Emmett was fantasizing her figure was being shown off and the scene was in slow motion. Mulvey explains that the female character is portrayed for the eyes of the male character and the males in the audience.

Gender stereotypes have been portrayed to young boys and girls at a young age. In society one could argue that this is not a good thing to expose this to them at a young age because they should be able to choose what they want to do and how they want to feel without gender roles. Although The Lego Movie portrayed gender roles, it was also a message to society that this is what we are feeding to our younger generation.

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