Film Theory Finale: Don’t Trust Your Heroes

The Film Theorists
8 Mar 202418:37

Summary

TLDRThe video script discusses the lack of positive male role models in children's media, contrasting them with the more affirming female characters. It highlights the influence of media on shaping children's beliefs and behaviors, and the need for better representation of male figures. The script also delves into the historical and economic reasons behind this disparity, such as the toyetic media model, which prioritizes merchandise over character development. It calls for a change in the portrayal of male characters to encourage boys to grow up with values like kindness, fairness, and respect.

Takeaways

  • 🎬 Film theory is often overlooked despite covering important topics like media influence and societal issues.
  • πŸ“Ί Children's media lacks positive father figures, with few wholesome dads portrayed.
  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ The scarcity of good male role models in media is a reflection of broader societal issues and gender stereotypes.
  • πŸ’° The economics of media production, particularly toy sales, heavily influence the creation of male characters.
  • πŸ§’ Gender identity in children doesn't solidify until around age three, suggesting early media exposure can shape perceptions.
  • 🚫 Male characters in media are often violent, criminal, or lack positive qualities, unlike their female counterparts.
  • πŸŽ₯ The influence of Peter Pan and other early 20th-century media has perpetuated certain male archetypes.
  • 🧩 Toyetic media, designed to sell merchandise, has led to the creation of characters that may not be ideal role models.
  • πŸ‘¦ Boys tend to play in the third person, directing characters, while girls often roleplay as the characters themselves.
  • 🌟 Media has the power to influence real-world actions and can promote positive change in societal norms.
  • πŸš€ It's time for media to 'let boys grow up' by providing better role models and moving away from outdated stereotypes.

Q & A

  • Why does film theory often get overlooked in the field of theorist lineup?

    -Film theory is considered the middle child in the theorist lineup, which leads to it being frequently overlooked or forgotten, even becoming a meme within the academic and entertainment communities.

  • What are some of the important topics covered by film theory?

    -Film theory covers a wide range of significant topics, including the impact of deepfakes, propaganda, net neutrality, copyright, and the fragmentation of pop culture on collective identity and mental health.

  • How does media influence the shaping of our beliefs and behaviors?

    -Media acts as a powerful tool that can enact change and influence public thinking at a global scale. The entertainment we consume shapes our beliefs, values, and behaviors, and if misused, it can transform into a weapon.

  • What is the main concern expressed by the speaker about children's media?

    -The speaker is concerned about the lack of good male role models in children's media. They find it challenging to identify wholesome father figures or positive male characters that they would want their son to emulate.

  • What are some examples of good father figures from children's media mentioned in the script?

    -The examples given include Bandit from Bluey, Arthur Weasley from Harry Potter, Uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mufasa from The Lion King, and Goofy from A Goofy Movie.

  • How does the speaker describe the typical portrayal of fathers in sitcoms?

    -The speaker describes sitcom fathers as usually being portrayed as bumbling buffoons, deadbeat dads, or individuals who need anger management, which is a stark contrast to the positive role models they are seeking.

  • What is the significance of the Peter Pan character in the history of pop culture?

    -Peter Pan is significant because it helped shape the western pop culture archetype of the trickster boy character. The story's influence can be seen in various forms of media, and it explores rigid gender classifications and the idea of boys being emotionally stunted and immature.

  • What is 'toyetic media' and how does it influence children's media?

    -Toyetic media refers to any form of media, such as movies, cartoons, TV shows, or comics, created with the primary purpose of advertising merchandise, particularly toys. This concept has a significant impact on children's media, as it often leads to the creation of characters and stories that are designed to sell toys rather than to provide positive role models.

  • How do boys and girls differ in their play styles according to the Lego study?

    -The Lego study found that boys tend to play in the third person, directing their toys and figurines as if they were characters in a story, while girls tend to play in the first person, role-playing as the characters themselves. This difference in play styles influences the types of media and characters created for each gender.

  • What is the speaker's final argument regarding male characters in children's media?

    -The speaker argues that for boys to grow up knowing they should be kind, fair, smart, and respectful, there needs to be a shift in the portrayal of male characters in children's media. These characters should be positive role models that embody these traits without resorting to violence, stupidity, or cruelty.

Outlines

00:00

πŸŽ₯ The Importance of Film Theory and Media Influence

The script begins by discussing the often overlooked significance of film theory, which covers crucial topics like deepfakes, propaganda, and the impact of media on public thinking. It emphasizes that media shapes our beliefs and can be a powerful tool for change. The speaker reflects on the lack of positive father figures in children's media and the challenges in finding good role models for boys, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of the issue.

05:02

πŸ“Ί Gender Representation in Children's Media

This paragraph delves into the gender disparity in children's television, highlighting that despite a seemingly balanced number of male and female characters, the quality of male characters is concerning. It contrasts the positive, affirming female characters with the often violent or problematic male characters. The speaker expresses a desire for more wholesome male role models for his son and questions why there are so few good examples in media.

10:02

🧩 The Legacy of Peter Pan and Gender Stereotypes

The speaker examines the historical influence of Peter Pan on the portrayal of boys in media, noting the character's immaturity and the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. It discusses how old Disney films and other media often depicted girls as the civilizing force for boys, reinforcing outdated notions. The paragraph questions why boys in media have not evolved beyond these stereotypes, unlike girls who have been shown as independent and capable individuals.

15:02

🎲 Toyetic Media and the Impact on Character Creation

This section explores the concept of toyetic media, where the creation of media content is driven by the potential for merchandise sales. It uses the example of Lego's market research to illustrate how boys and girls interact differently with toys, leading to different character designs in media. The speaker argues that this has resulted in male characters being designed for excitement rather than being positive role models, which has a profound impact on the values and behaviors that boys learn from media.

🌟 The Need for Positive Male Role Models

The script concludes with a call to action for better representation of male characters in media. It emphasizes the importance of providing boys with characters who embody kindness, fairness, intelligence, and respect, rather than perpetuating negative traits. The speaker suggests that just as media has evolved for girls, it's time for boys to have characters they can truly look up to, allowing them to grow up with a more balanced and positive set of role models.

Mindmap

Keywords

πŸ’‘Film Theory

Film Theory refers to the academic study and interpretation of films. In the context of the video, it is the name of a YouTube channel that discusses various aspects of movies and media, often focusing on the deeper meanings and societal impacts. The video script suggests that film theory is often overlooked but covers important topics, indicating its significance in understanding media's influence on society.

πŸ’‘Media Influence

Media Influence refers to the effect that various forms of media, such as television, movies, and the internet, have on people's perceptions, behaviors, and societal norms. The video emphasizes the power of media to shape beliefs and public thinking, highlighting the responsibility that comes with creating and consuming media content.

πŸ’‘Role Models

Role Models are individuals who serve as examples for others to follow, often embodying positive traits and behaviors. The video discusses the scarcity of good father figures and male role models in children's media, which is a concern because role models can significantly impact a child's development and values.

πŸ’‘Gender Representation

Gender Representation refers to how different genders are portrayed in media and the implications of these portrayals. The video script points out the imbalance in the quality of male versus female characters in children's media, suggesting that while female characters have become more diverse and empowering, male characters often remain stuck in outdated stereotypes.

πŸ’‘Toyetic Media

Toyetic Media is a term used to describe media content created with the primary purpose of promoting and selling merchandise, such as toys. The video explains that many popular franchises are designed with this in mind, which can lead to the creation of characters and stories that prioritize marketability over positive role models.

πŸ’‘Peter Pan Syndrome

Peter Pan Syndrome refers to a psychological phenomenon where individuals refuse to grow up or take responsibility, often characterized by a desire to remain in a perpetual state of childhood. The video uses Peter Pan as a cultural reference to illustrate the outdated archetype of the immature male character in media.

πŸ’‘Character Development

Character Development refers to the process by which a character in a story evolves, grows, or changes over time. The video argues for the need for more well-rounded male characters in media who exhibit positive traits and growth, rather than remaining static or embodying negative stereotypes.

πŸ’‘Cultural Impact

Cultural Impact refers to the effects that cultural products, such as media, have on society's values, behaviors, and norms. The video discusses how media can influence public thinking on a global scale and the importance of using this power responsibly to promote positive change.

πŸ’‘Gender Identity

Gender Identity is a person's internal sense of their own gender, which may or may not align with their biological sex. The video touches on the importance of not rushing children's identification with a gender and allowing them to explore this at their own pace, emphasizing the role of media in this exploration.

πŸ’‘Media Critique

Media Critique involves analyzing and evaluating media content to understand its messages, biases, and effects on society. The video script serves as a critique of children's media, highlighting the need for more diverse and positive male characters to counteract the prevalence of negative stereotypes.

Highlights

Film theory is often overlooked despite covering important topics.

Film Theory addresses serious issues like deepfakes, propaganda, and net neutrality.

Media can influence public thinking and shape our beliefs.

The speaker struggles to name good father figures from children's media.

Fathers in sitcoms are often portrayed as buffoons or deadbeats.

There's a lack of good male role models in children's media.

Gender identity in children doesn't become a factor until around age three.

Male characters in children's TV outnumber female characters by a large margin.

Despite the quantity, there's a lack of quality male characters.

Female characters in children's media are often positive and affirming.

Male characters are more likely to be violent and depicted as criminals.

The Peter Pan archetype has influenced the portrayal of boys in media.

Old media often portrayed girls as prizes for boys who grow up.

The toyetic media concept drives the creation of children's shows for merchandise sales.

Boys and girls relate to toys differently, influencing the characters in media.

Girls tend to roleplay as characters, while boys direct them.

Male characters are designed to be cool and exciting, often at the expense of being good role models.

Media has the power to influence real-world action and can drive positive change.

The speaker advocates for better male role models in media for boys to look up to.

Transcripts

00:00

You know, film theory tends to get itself a bad rap.

00:02

As the middle child of the theorist lineup, it tends to get overlooked or forgotten.

00:06

So much so that it's become its own meme at this point.

00:08

And yet, of all the channels, film theory covers, by my estimation, the most important topics.

00:14

Don't get me wrong, you have plenty of silly episodes mixed in here, like How to Kill Deadpool,

00:17

Willy Wonka's OSHA violations, me trying to become host to Jeopardy,

00:21

your lost guys, by the way.

00:22

But you also have episodes warning about deepfakes, propaganda, net neutrality, copyright,

00:27

how fragmented pop culture is eroding our collective sense of identity,

00:30

resulting in heightened levels of depression and isolation.

00:33

Those are important and heavy topics to cover, because, as we said in one of our recent theories,

00:38

media is a tool that can enact change and influence public thinking at a global scale.

00:42

The entertainment we consume, it shapes us and our beliefs.

00:45

And like any tool, it can transform into a weapon if misused.

00:49

Which is why today's episode, my final film theory, feels so important.

01:13

Hello, Internet! Welcome to Film Theory, the show that's now entering its zaddy era.

01:19

Today, I wanted to start off with a question.

01:21

I want you to think about all the media that you consumed during your childhood.

01:25

All the TV shows and movies that you loved as a kid.

01:27

And now, with the perspective that you've gained as you've gotten older,

01:30

can you name for me five good father figures from children's media?

01:34

I'm talking about wholesome dads who want the best for their kids,

01:36

who try really hard to teach them and nurture them and show them love

01:39

and all the good things that dad should be doing.

01:41

Legitimately, go down to the comments, type out who comes to mind.

01:44

Because I consume a lot of media, and I had a hard time making this list.

01:49

Back when we brought Leon as creative director here on Film Theory,

01:51

this was actually one of the first conversations he and I had about the state of media.

01:55

Even more recently, we've asked this question around the office,

01:58

and people really struggle with it.

02:00

I mean, it's not impossible to come up with a list.

02:02

You'll eventually get there.

02:03

But it's shockingly hard.

02:05

Our list ended up being Bandit from Bluey, Arthur Weasley from Harry Potter,

02:09

Uncle Iroh from Avatar The Last Airbender,

02:11

Mufasa from Lion King,

02:12

and Goofy from a Goofy movie.

02:14

But the fact that it took us a significant amount of time to do is pretty darn telling.

02:18

Fathers in sitcoms are usually bumbling buffoons, deadbeat dads, or need anger management.

02:22

And it's not just a lack of good dads here either.

02:24

Honestly, most of the male characters that you see across media,

02:27

both young and old, they're not great.

02:29

Classic cartoon kids are almost universally bratty, cruel, greedy, or inconsiderate.

02:40

Why do you do this?

02:42

You're so stupid!

02:43

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

02:45

Even the oldest of old-school animated characters

02:47

that have been sanitized to be as brand safe and neutral today as possible,

02:50

they started off as horrible jerks.

02:55

Abruptly, he becomes an uncontrollable monster.

02:59

They're angry, they're violent, they're not good people.

03:02

So, why do I bring it up in my final episode?

03:05

Well, as a dad, I've started to pay a lot more attention to these sorts of things in the media that I watch,

03:09

because I want to know if it's something that I can actually share with Ollie.

03:12

And surprisingly, there isn't a lot that I'm super happy with sharing.

03:16

And it all comes down to a lack of shows with characters that I actually want Ollie to grow up to be like.

03:21

Now, I can't stress enough that we live in the most open time ever for children's entertainment.

03:25

Newer shows like The Owl House, Amphibia, and Kippo and the Age of the Wonder Beasts

03:29

are given voices to historically underrepresented groups as both creators and characters.

03:33

There is something in there for everyone, and that's awesome.

03:36

But the pickings for boy characters that I want my son to try to be like,

03:39

of male characters that I want him to look up to,

03:41

they are mighty slim, my friends.

03:43

That's kind of a problem.

03:45

So today, I wanted to look at why.

03:47

Why are there so few of these truly great role models for boys?

03:50

Why, in this era where we have more choice in what we can watch than ever before,

03:54

are there so few choices that have good male role models for my son to look up to?

03:58

Well, after diving into the history and economics of this sort of media,

04:02

it all comes down, as it so often does, to money.

04:05

Surprise, surprise.

04:06

Don't touch that dial, my friends.

04:08

It's time to crack this case wide open.

04:10

So to start things out, it should be noted that gender identity for young children

04:13

doesn't really become a factor for several years into their life.

04:16

According to research, most kids don't start to identify with one gender or another until the age of three.

04:21

And it's important that they're encouraged to explore that at their own pace.

04:24

The last thing we want to do is to sort kids who are still discovering themselves into boxes.

04:28

And likewise, children can, of course, have role models who are not the same sex or gender that they are.

04:33

It is awesome for boys to have role models who are women,

04:35

vice versa, and everyone beyond and in between the binary.

04:38

I'm just talking about it today because I want to make sure that there are good examples

04:41

set across the board for everyone.

04:42

And right now, the male category, pretty severely lacking.

04:45

And me saying that might come as a bit of a surprise, right?

04:48

Like, there are a ton of male characters out there in media.

04:51

They have been the bedrock, the focus of entertainment forever.

04:55

So how am I possibly standing here saying,

04:57

we need more male role models?

04:59

Well, this is one of those episodes where just looking at the numbers

05:01

isn't going to be telling you the whole story.

05:03

A 2008 study from Televizion conducted across 24 countries

05:06

found that there were twice as many male characters than female characters in children's TV.

05:11

A decade later, a similar study from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

05:15

found that roughly half of all episodes of children's entertainment had female leads.

05:19

That is good news.

05:20

Everything's balanced, as all things should be.

05:22

So what's the problem?

05:24

Well, again, let me be clear.

05:25

This isn't a case of, where are the male characters?

05:27

There are plenty of them out there.

05:29

We are tripping over them.

05:30

Instead, this is a conversation about the quality of those characters.

05:34

What's going on with the types of male characters that we keep seeing?

05:37

Have you ever stopped and considered how many of them

05:40

actually embody the traits that you would want a kid to emulate?

05:42

At a quick glance, the modern era,

05:44

it's seen a wide spectrum of overwhelmingly positive,

05:47

affirming female and female-coded characters.

05:49

You have everything from Doc McStuffins to the Miraculous Ladybug,

05:52

Hello Kitty, Bluey, Luz from The Owl House,

05:55

most of the gems from Steven Universe,

05:56

Carmen Sandiego, who's apparently a hero now,

06:00

Barbie just had herself an empowering live-action adaptation,

06:03

and she's also sort of a YouTube vlogger

06:05

dishing out shockingly solid mental health advice.

06:08

Maybe I'm just being really unfair on myself.

06:11

You know?

06:12

I don't always have to be upbeat and positive.

06:14

Even parodies of the over-competent, self-reliant neo-heroine

06:17

like Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time

06:19

ultimately get to be effective political leaders,

06:21

excel at STEM fields,

06:23

kick butt on the battlefield,

06:24

and get the girl in the end.

06:25

The fact that these characters exist?

06:26

That is awesome.

06:27

I don't want to take anything away from that.

06:29

And if this is how we're over-correcting for decades

06:31

of women being trapped as damsels in distress or trophies,

06:33

I am all about that.

06:35

But then you look over at the boys,

06:36

and things get a bit more complicated.

06:38

Sure, there are some truly great and kind characters

06:41

that I do want my son to look up to.

06:42

For as much fun as I've had here on the channel

06:44

saying that he's actually a ruthless businessman,

06:46

Rider from the Paw Patrol,

06:47

fantastic role model.

06:49

He's smart, he's resourceful,

06:50

he's caring, he's a leader,

06:51

and it was awesome that Ollie dug that series.

06:53

Probably in part because he saw Ryder

06:55

and wanted to connect with him.

06:56

Same thing with Dipper from Gravity Falls.

06:58

Also a win for being smart, curious, brave,

07:00

and a loving brother.

07:01

Also there's a handful of solid early educational programming

07:04

with male protagonists like Arthur,

07:06

Thomas the Tank Engine, Daniel Tiger.

07:08

Though it's worth calling out how few of them

07:10

are actually human.

07:11

But let's talk for a minute about the characters

07:12

that you'd typically see come up in a conversation like this, right?

07:15

Well, the problem here is that they tend to have

07:16

a huge asterisk attached to their names.

07:19

Captain America, Superman, Batman,

07:20

Spider-Man, the Ninja Turtles.

07:22

They're all great,

07:23

but the stories also involve a lot of war,

07:25

crime, death, fighting in general.

07:27

They tend to solve most of their problems

07:29

through punching and physical violence.

07:30

Aang, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter.

07:32

They're selfless heroes who do what they think's right

07:34

no matter what the cost.

07:35

But they're also sitting smack dab in franchises

07:38

built on needing to be violent.

07:39

Fighting, often killing soldiers,

07:41

stormtroopers, dark wizards.

07:43

Not generally a drawback that you're facing

07:45

from traditionally feminine skewing characters

07:47

like Sofia the First or Elena of Avalor.

07:49

And if they're not violent or surrounded by violence,

07:52

well, very often they're just not good.

07:54

Johnny Bravo's a big ol' womanizer.

07:56

Timmy Turner's a whiny, spoiled narcissist.

07:58

Jimmy Neutron's arrogant, destructive, mean to girls,

08:00

and regularly uses his intelligence

08:02

as an excuse for being a jerk to his friends.

08:04

Even Phineas and Ferb,

08:05

who are smart and resourceful and funny,

08:07

are outright disobeying their parents

08:09

each and every day of summer.

08:10

Actually, the reason Ollie wanted to stop watching the show,

08:13

he was afraid of them getting in trouble

08:14

for constantly breaking the rules episode after episode.

08:17

I think you get the idea.

08:18

Look at media through this sort of lens

08:20

and suddenly you see examples everywhere you go.

08:22

Just to get some hard numbers in here,

08:24

that same Geena Davis study that I mentioned earlier

08:26

noted that male characters,

08:27

they're more likely to be violent

08:29

compared to female characters,

08:30

and also almost twice as likely

08:32

to be depicted as a criminal.

08:34

Remember, we're not talking about fun characters to watch

08:36

or characters that you like.

08:38

I think most of the examples I listed above

08:40

fall into at least one of those two categories.

08:42

No, we're talking about characters

08:43

that are admirable role models for young boys.

08:46

Characters whose activity we want them to imitate

08:48

or look up to as they develop during childhood.

08:50

I also want to reaffirm,

08:51

I personally like all of these shows and movies.

08:54

There is no judgment here

08:55

if you're a fan of any of these sorts of things.

08:57

But they're just not shows that I can show Ollie

08:59

until he's much, much older

09:00

because of the implicit lessons that they contain.

09:02

Boys are violent.

09:03

You solve your problems with punching.

09:05

If you break rules and treat people badly,

09:07

don't worry, there are no real consequences.

09:09

You're the main character of your own show

09:11

and everything just works out well for you.

09:13

So with all of that established,

09:14

I think we can start to discuss why

09:16

things have ended up this way.

09:18

Because this has deep roots in the history of pop culture.

09:20

The long and short of it,

09:21

when you start to unpack the old media that inspired our modern media,

09:24

you find a lot of old-fashioned assumptions

09:26

that end up persisting in ways that you wouldn't expect.

09:29

Though there have always been trickster boy characters

09:31

dating back centuries and cultures all across the world,

09:34

the western pop culture version of this archetype

09:36

really took shape in the early 1900s

09:39

with the creation of Peter Pan by novelist J.M. Barrie.

09:42

Though you probably know him best from the 1953 Disney cartoon.

09:45

I cannot overstate how influential this one story was.

09:48

Everyone and everything from Steven Spielberg

09:51

to the Legend of Zelda was influenced by Peter Pan.

09:54

That matters.

09:54

By this point, I'm sure you know the story.

09:56

Peter Pan's a boy who doesn't want to grow up.

09:58

He has magical powers and finds other children

10:00

who also don't want to grow up,

10:01

whisking them away to Neverland

10:02

so they can be kids together forever.

10:04

In some darker interpretations,

10:06

he just straight up abducts the kids.

10:07

And even in the Disney version,

10:08

from the first time we see his face,

10:10

it's clear that this is not a 100% trustworthy good guy.

10:13

The whole point of Peter Pan's character though

10:15

is that he's fun,

10:16

but he's also immature.

10:17

He's emotionally stunted.

10:18

He's kind of a jerk.

10:19

If you aren't also a perpetual child,

10:21

you eventually get tired of him.

10:23

Especially if you're a girl.

10:24

The Lost Boys are called the Lost Boys

10:26

because there weren't any lost girls originally.

10:29

Peter's explanation is that

10:30

girls are just far too clever to become lost like the rest of them.

10:33

And when he brings Windy Darling to Neverland,

10:35

it throws things into complete disarray

10:37

because her relative maturity

10:38

makes the other lost boys want to grow up.

10:40

The point is,

10:41

what Peter Pan explored

10:42

was the very rigid classifications of gender

10:44

in a child's upbringing during the era.

10:46

The idea that on the whole,

10:47

girls emotionally mature faster than boys.

10:50

Something that has a fair amount of scientific truth to it. Literally,

10:53

most girls optimize connections in their brains

10:55

at an earlier age than boys,

10:56

leading them to cognitively mature more quickly.

10:59

The consensus for a long time

11:00

has been that boys are born wild and unruly

11:03

while girls just grow up faster.

11:05

And it's therefore their job to civilize the boys,

11:07

to get them to want to settle down

11:08

and act like actual human beings.

11:10

And that mentality is all over old Disney films.

11:13

The seven dwarves live like a bunch of frat boys

11:15

until Snow White shows up

11:16

to show him how to use a broom and a dustpan.

11:18

Beauty and the Beast is all about a big jerk

11:20

who literally doesn't know how to act human

11:22

until a woman shows up and tells him.

11:24

And yeah, that's basically what happens in Peter Pan too.

11:26

The lost boys are presented with the options

11:27

of staying in Neverland,

11:28

where they can run around like madmen

11:30

and play pirates and break stuff and make a mess.

11:32

Or,

11:33

you can go home,

11:34

get a job,

11:34

and find a Wendy Darling of your own.

11:36

In these older stories,

11:37

the girl was the reward for the men who grew up.

11:40

That sort of thinking,

11:41

boys will be boys and the girl's the trophy

11:43

that you earn for settling down,

11:44

it's not great.

11:44

It's how we got a lot of the problematic media

11:46

from years gone by.

11:48

And more importantly,

11:48

the justified pushback against that sort of thinking

11:51

is what's led to a lot of the great girl-targeted media

11:53

over the past decade.

11:54

Movies and series written specifically to show

11:56

that girls aren't just there to be prizes for the boys,

11:59

or there for the sole purpose

12:00

of getting their male counterparts to mature.

12:02

They're their own fully realized people,

12:04

with beliefs,

12:05

virtues,

12:05

flaws,

12:06

strengths and weaknesses,

12:07

thoughts and feelings.

12:08

But now I have to ask,

12:09

why hasn't something similar happened with boys in the media?

12:13

Why are so many of these male characters

12:14

just stuck in the older ways of thinking,

12:16

and writing male characters

12:18

while girls have gotten to grow up?

12:19

They're still stuck as Peter Pans,

12:21

emotionally stunted and immature. Why?

12:24

Well, if there's something that all these years

12:25

a hosting the channels have taught me,

12:27

is that the real reason so many decisions are made in Hollywood

12:29

comes down to one thing,

12:30

and one thing only,

12:32

the money.

12:32

And in children's media,

12:33

there's no bigger moneymaker than toys.

12:36

See, in Hollywood,

12:37

there's a concept known as toyetic media.

12:39

This is any movie,

12:40

cartoon, TV show,

12:41

comic book,

12:42

or whatever,

12:42

created for the purpose of advertising merchandise.

12:45

It doesn't have to be the only purpose of the media,

12:47

but a lot of decisions made in Hollywood are done

12:49

so that the properties become more toyetic.

12:51

A good example of this?

12:52

During the pre-production of the 1990s film,

12:54

Batman and Robin,

12:55

toy manufacturers sat in on creative meetings,

12:58

and many parts of the movie were changed

13:00

to be easier to make toys out of.

13:02

And despite the film itself being a financial disappointment,

13:04

the merchandise made enough money

13:05

that Warner Brothers continued the Batman franchise with a reboot.

13:09

However, the first huge property

13:10

that really took advantage of this idea of toyetic media

13:13

was Star Wars.

13:14

Practically everything within the Star Wars franchise

13:16

was designed in a way to let them very easily transfer to toys.

13:20

And George Lucas was a savvy enough businessman

13:22

to negotiate that he would keep the merchandising rights

13:25

in lieu of a higher upfront paycheck.

13:27

This is how Lucas made his billions,

13:29

not through the movies,

13:30

through the toys.

13:31

The movies were just a nice bonus on top.

13:33

They were great films that happened to act as commercials

13:35

for the action figures and plastic lightsabers.

13:38

And other companies definitely took note of this.

13:40

This led to a slew of toyetic IP being created

13:43

for the sole purpose of selling merchandise.

13:45

And a lot of the most popular franchises

13:47

from the 80s and 90s fall into this exact category.

13:50

I'm talking Transformers,

13:51

G.I. Joe,

13:52

Thundercats,

13:52

He-Man, She-Ra,

13:53

Pokemon,

13:54

Digimon,

13:55

even certified classics like Cowboy Bebop.

13:57

All of them are made specifically to sell toys,

14:00

games,

14:00

trading cards,

14:01

you name it.

14:02

And not because they were the best stories to tell our kids.

14:05

But then why are we still selling crummy characters to little boys

14:08

and not to girls?

14:09

Well, if you look at the way boys and girls relate to their toys,

14:11

you start to see one of the big reasons

14:13

why boy characters are held to such low standards.

14:15

Let me show you an example

14:16

from one of the world's biggest toy brands, Lego.

14:19

In 2011,

14:20

the Lego company completed an exhaustive study

14:22

into children's play psychology

14:24

that spanned multiple years and continents.

14:26

They wanted to look at child development

14:28

and feedback from parents

14:29

to figure out the difference between boy toys and girl toys.

14:32

If there was any difference at all.

14:33

What did boys and girls like to play with and why?

14:36

And the results were fascinating.

14:38

Obviously, this comes with big asterisks

14:40

that every child's gonna be different,

14:41

but broadly speaking,

14:42

Lego found that boys tended to play with their toys and figurines