The portrayal of women in media is a huge topic of conversation lately. Whether it’s a Hardee’s commercial or the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, scandalous pictures of quarter-dressed women are sure to cause controversy.
But something I never hear about is the portrayal of women in children’s movies – specifically, children’s movies made to entertain 8-12 year old boys.
I had this thought when I was reading my favorite supermodel’s twitter feed. Alessandra Ambrosio, an established lingerie and swimsuit model best known for her work as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, was featured in an Elle magazine article about her upcoming role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Immediately I thought it was weird. Ambrosio is a sex symbol for sure, and she has never been in a movie. Why didn’t they chose an actress for the role?
I thought more about it. This isn’t the first time a supermodel has starred in a children’s film. There was Megan Fox in Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Rosie Huntington-Whitley in Transformers. Why are the sexiest supermodels chosen for these roles, and whose idea is it to cast them?
My problem with this isn’t the fact that pretty women are chosen to star in children’s films. My problem is that women who are known as lingerie and swimsuit models are chosen for the leading roles, and these movies are aimed towards young boys. What kind of perception is this supposed to give my 8-year-old cousin who watches Transformers movies on repeat?
Don’t get me wrong. I actually love all three of the women I’ve mentioned. I follow them all on Instagram and look forward to seeing Ambrosio walk the VS runway every year. But I’m a 20-year-old who seeks these models out as style and fitness icons. Parents of young boys don’t have much of a choice when it comes to exposing their sons to sexy supermodels early in life. They could obviously forbid their kids from watching the film, but there is always a way to watch it, even if it’s at a friend’s house.
For anyone who isn’t convinced this is a problem, I’d like to leave a closing thought: What if Barbie movies starred half-dressed grown men?