The Peanuts Movie – a potent character builder….but a reinforcer of a key anti-male stereotype
But I had two current reactions to it, one positive, one negative:
1. I believe kids will develop character from watching the Peanuts movie more than from all the parental and school lectures about George Washington’s cherry tree, etc. The movie made the viewer feel the benefits of being ethical.
For example, Charlie Brown, while always trying hard, always failed. Then, finally, the seemingly miraculous happened: He got the first perfect score on a standardized test in the school’s history. And the school held an assembly in his honor. On stage, he was shown his paper whereupon he saw that was the paper of the school smart kid, Peppermint Patty. On stage, in front of the whole school, Charlie had the courage and integrity to say he couldn’t accept the award, to the grateful amazement of Patty and the students’ applause.
2. The movie reinforced the unfair expectation that to get a pretty girl to like a boy, he must move heaven and earth while she only need look pretty.
For example, Lucy explained that to get a pretty girl to like him, he needs to make a lot of money and have “a diversified portfolio.”
Another example: Charlie was given a book report to co-write with the pretty girl. To impress her, he chose to read–in the first grade– War and Peace, which he did, cover to cover in one weekend and stayed up all Sunday night to write a 1,000-word paper, all by himself–She wrote nothing.
For Snoopy to gain her attention, he had to risk his life—engage in a battle with Baron Von Richthoven the legendary German fighter pilot.
Decades into the feminist era, should we not expect equal rights and obligations for both sexes? Should we not expect major media such as films, viewed by millions of kids at a time in their life when their values are being formed, to be as careful in ensuring fairness to both sexes as they are in ensuring that, for example, women and minorities are disproportionately portrayed positively?
The Peanuts movie is most entertaining, worthy certainly of seeing with a child, but watch it with eyes open.