By knowing how to talk to girls about movies, you can help your daughter see movies in a new way. After you watch a movie together, try these conversation-starters to think more deeply about the effects of everyday media. You may find that many movies mirror the same disappointing female stereotypes uncovered by the See Jane report (see “Where the girls aren’t!”). Sadly, these are still standard fare in the non-G-rated movies that millions of girls also see. But by talking about problems and strengths—and imagining different scenarios—you’ll both be able to better advocate for change. And who knows, maybe your girl will be inspired to pursue her own movie-making career!
1. Count the number of characters—how many are female? How many are male?
2. Of the female characters, what behaviors are most common?
3. Are any female characters leading the action in the story? Or are they supporting the
4. What kind of work do the female characters do?
5. What do the female characters look like? Do they look like most of the girls and
women you know? What do you think of how they’re dressed?
6. Is there a female character that you would want to be? If so, what are her strengths? If
not, why not? Would you rather do what one of the male characters does?
7. Did the camera treat male and female characters differently? For example, does one
group more often have close-ups, or more close-ups of particular body parts?
8. How do the kids in the story relate to their parents? What do you like or dislike about
how they relate to their moms? How about to their dads?
9. Who created this story? Was the writer female? How about the director? If you don’t
know, what would you guess?
10. What would you do differently if you were behind the camera?
Erin Trahan writes and works with nonprofit organizations such as the Girls’ Coalition
of Greater Boston in MA. She is also past president of Women in Film & Video/New