Symbolic Castration

Tim Szklarzewski

Symbolic Castration : The Lego Movie

Men in society today are seen as powerful beings, That are leaders and have very strong influential roles, while women are often seen as weaker more side characters in media. This Cultural representation can often be seen In most types of cinema and media within our society. The Lego movie is no different. The male plays the dominant, powerful role in the movie, where he saves the day and takes on big challenges on the path to accomplishing this. There was however one main female character in the movie, that was supposed to be displayed as a big bad girl who could take care of herself, but although she was displayed differently than common media, the context and symbols in which she represented follows closely to the common castration on women.

With in the film, Emmet, the main character of the movie is thrust into a big powerful role when he finds the key piece of the legendary “cra glu” and is deemed the prophecy. Through out the movie, he tries to save the world, while falling in love with the female character in the film “Wild Style”. Wild Style is represented and tries to show a sense of strength and power as she changed her name to be tougher and acts like she doesn’t need anyone’s help. Her sense of strength and power is lost during the movie, as she shows that she cannot do everything her self and needs to be saved on a few accounts, once by her at the time boy friend Batman, and also by the Hero Emmet. Like most modern cinema, She shows her vulnerability due to the fact that she is a girl, and needs the powerful male figures to help and save her from trouble. This representation of vulnerability and weakness Does relate and do a good job describing Lana Rakow’s article. Within the article, it talks about how women are represented in media, and the consequences in which it has on society. part of the reading went over the fact that women during WW2 were portrayed as house wives with feminine mystique, and fulfilment of femininity through women’s roles as a housewife as being women’s highest value. This stereotype stuck with society, and gave the image to women that there place was in the kitchen, taking care of the needs of men. The weakness and vulnerability displayed in the movie through wild style is a classic stereotype and just furthers the cultural belief that women need men to help them, since men are stronger.

Image result for Wyldstyle

Along with the theme of vulnerability, The Lego movie also demonstrates a males interest in women through sexuality. As Laura Mulvey Discussed in “visual pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, Scopophilia is the sexual pleasure which is derived from looking at beautiful things. Often times these beautiful objects are women in media, in which the women is over sexualized, revealing little clothing or enhanced images of the women’s desirable body parts. This type of representation of women in media often times leads to women becoming symbolically castrated since their main purpose is portrayed as a pleasure for the man. The Lego movie does a good job of portraying scopophilia when Emmet first sees Wild style in the construction area. The camera zooms in on her body and face, as she whips her hair around in a sexual manner, clearing it from her face , revealing her beauty which captures Emmet’s attention. Emmet is staring at her with his jaw dropped until she ends up disappearing. This clip can be viewed on the link below.

Emmet meets Wild Style for the first time

Stereo typical femininity is something that plague media in our society today. It gives and incorrect portrayal of what women are supposed to be like and act, and can influence those in our society. This portray is clearly even shown in even children’s movies as we see it still In the Lego movie. Children can be influenced at a young age, and this display of gender inequality and gender roles can be dangerous in the development of young girls social ideals. As a society, something should be done to change the way media portrays women so that it doesn’t symbolically castrate them, if even by accident.





Colman, F. (2009). Film, theory and philosophy: The key thinkers. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.



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