Disney is opening its new Cars Land at California Adventure next weekend, celebrating Pixar's "Cars" film franchise.
Hopefully, it doesn't take up too much space. Because what Disney really ought to find room for is a Weapon-Toting Girl Empowerment Land.
Given the global phenomenon that is "The Hunger Games," in which the main character is a butt-kicking teenage girl who can shoot a fly off a stump at 200 yards with a bow and arrow, as well as the new "Snow White and the Huntsman" movie and upcoming "Brave," (which opens June 22), it seems Hollywood is finally abandoning the idea that a princess needs a large, handsome man to bail her out of a bad situation.
It's great. Because as a large, handsome man, I'm getting tired of climbing all those towers and slicing up all those dragons and bad guys with my broadsword.
But more important, as a man with four daughters, I can't get my kids to these movies fast enough. If I had my way, my girls would be able to take their broadswords and bows and arrows to school to dispatch (OK -- threaten) smart-mouthed boys who think they're clever.
I know those boys, by the way. I used to be one on them. Having four girls is obviously karma, so I realize it's my job to train them not to take any guff from guys.
Though the new Snow White film isn't a Disney production, the classic cartoon version was. As is the new Disney/Pixar movie "Brave," about a Scottish princess who initially is supposed to wed the man who wins an archery tournament, except she doesn't want to wait around for some guy to win her hand, especially since she can outshoot them all. Stereotype-breaking adventure ensues.
This is great for a couple of reasons. First, I'm hoping these films will fire up my kids to stand up for themselves. They're already off to a good start.
One of them has been shooting with a bow for a couple of summers, following in her mother's footsteps. My wife used to bow hunt with her dad (we have the deer head hanging on a wall to prove it) until she decided foam targets didn't feel as much pain as animals. Believe me, I have no qualms letting my wife deal with strange sounds in the night. She's far better equipped to defend the family, should Armageddon come anytime soon. I'll be the guy handing her arrows and mopping her brow.
The other benefit is that the films might get those who complain about Disney making movies out of traditional fairy tales to quiet down. Most were made in the middle of the last century and were adaptations of stories written many years before, when women weren't considered the kind of creatures who'd cleave a man in two for whistling at them. And, as I like to point out, many of the villains were powerful women themselves -- I don't get how that part gets glossed over.
It's about time
Women out-badassing men in films is a healthy development for young girls who still face messages from all around society that they can't do things boys can.
As someone raised in a household of mostly women and who has somehow recreated that dynamic in my adult life, I know the truth.
It's good to see Hollywood catching up.