Male Point Of View And Mr. Peabody

For those who are interested in the subject of cultural conditioning and how sex/gender roles are subtly conveyed to children, the movie "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" is a good current example. The movie was brilliantly done, a wonderful combination of artistry and science resulting in a very entertaining piece of animated cinematography, imho, I enjoyed it very much. Based on the cartoons from the 1950s and 60s that ran with Rocky and Bullwinkle (Ted Key, Jay Ward), Mr. Peabody is a Beagle who happens to be the smartest being ever, he's highly accomplished in any field he's interested in. He adopts a human child named Sherman, and invents a time travel machine called the "Wabac Machine", and teaches Sherman History lessons by actually going to various places and events in History. Sherman's friend Peggy is part of the cast of characters. The cartoon and the movie mix teaching and mentoring with fun, humor, and interesting entertainment. 

Mr. Peabody and Sherman is such an excellent show that the male-bias-point of view can be difficult to notice if one is not paying attention, because it's aligned with stereotyping, behavior, and language that most people are USED TO. They use normalized gender stereotypes and normalized male-bias behavior and language, so it's not so noticeable to most people. It's not some kind of blatant "war on women", no one is waving a torch or attacking females, it's much more innocuous and subtle, and therefore much more effective.
In other words, people might notice if Mr. Peabody and Sherman attacked Peggy or called her terrible names, but they won't notice when she gets ignored, condescended to, or excluded.
This is how it's done.

The first thing a person might notice is their own defensiveness when reading this post.
"Give me a break! Seriously? Mr. Peabody and Sherman is sexist? That's just ridiculous! FemNazi!"
That kind of defensive reaction is a signal that something quite real is going on, and the person's SUBCONSCIOUS KNOWS IT, even if their conscious mind is trying to pretend it isn't.

Making it about Feminism, Politics, and Radicalism is another signal that the subconscious DOES have awareness about the male bias.

It's just science.

Emotional attachment will cause a person to either become defensive or protective about any subject.
If one is objective, they won't be either one.
If they "feel" something, it will just be curiosity or boredom.
It won't be about taking sides or being defensive, and it certainly won't include hostility.

Humans insert BIAS into things all the time, it's nothing new.
Getting worked up and defensive means that a person is emotionally attached to a certain Bias, and does not want anyone to talk about it, point it out, or expose it.

In the movie Mr. Peabody and Sherman, there are many examples of "male-only" or "male-biased point of view" in the otherwise wonderful film, such as the low number of female characters altogether.

Why does it matter whether it's male biased or not? Because no one is SAYING that it's a male-bias-point of view, and it's being presented as a "general audience" kid's movie. That's misrepresentation, but that's ALSO so normalized in Western culture that most people don't even notice it when it's happening right in front of them, even to their own kids, or to themselves.

The female characters that are portrayed are either weak (Peggy's mother), self-centered and bullying (Peggy and the control freak DCF worker, Mrs. Grunyon), or dimwitted and self-centered (Marie Antoinette). Peabody and Sherman visited only male "geniuses" from History. There were no positive, smart, strong female characters, but plenty of male ones. Even Mona Lisa, Da Vinci's portrait subject, was depicted as "disagreeable" and argumentative. There were also plenty of subtle (or not so subtle) jokes making references to anti-female innuendos.

But there were also some subtle, or not-so-subtle, ancestral innuendos that also aligned with normalized stereotypes that targeted male characters, however that still did NOT depict those targeted males as "weak" or "completely incapable". The only person who was targeted as completely negative was the female DCF worker, everyone else was given a couple of positive little nods in their direction, including Peggy.

~~~Giving a negatively portrayed character a little positive "nod" is actually part of the process, it's like a gossip saying about a coworker "She's such a slut, look at those shoes, and I heard that she treats her husband like crap, he's whipped - well I don't really know, that's just what I heard... I'm not saying she's a BAD PERSON, I mean, I don't really know her." 
~~ "I'm not saying she's a BAD PERSON"... after they just called her a slut and said she treats her husband badly... that's about them trying to cover up being a  Gossip and a backstabber.

All in all, the film had the appearance of not being PURPOSELY male-biased, at first glance, or even second. Most people won't even think twice about the fact that Peggy was not included in the "work" on Leonardo Da Vinci's machine, or realize that anti-female-stereotype "jokes" are not appropriate in a children's film, nor are ancestral innuendos. They might not even notice the stereotype reference to "A Dog's Best Friend" being a BOY, and not a CHILD, who could be either male or female.
The give-away that the male-bias POV was, indeed, on purpose, was one particular scene where Peggy and Sherman crashed Leonard Da Vinci's "Flying Machine". It was Peggy who flew the machine. It was completely her idea to do it in the first place, Sherman was very resistant, afraid he'd get in trouble. Peggy jumped in and hit the lever that launched it, took the controls and flew the machine with Sherman hanging on for dear life. After flying around for some time, thoroughly enjoying flying the machine, she forced Sherman into taking over the controls in an attempt to make him realize his self-confidence. Then, Mr. Peabody TOLD Sherman that he doesn't know how to fly, so Sherman suddenly crashed the Flying Machine. Da Vinci is very excited to see that the machine WORKED, and runs over to greet them.

Da Vinci exclaims that Sherman is the "first man to fly"!
Here's where it gets interesting.
(People who are defensive will say "oh stop making a big deal, it's nothing..." but it actually IS "something", this is important).

Da Vinci does not say "person", or even "boy", he says "MAN". Remember, adults wrote the script. Da Vinci isn't a real person, they wrote that line, the actor performed that line, and a huge number of adults edited and processed the movie. Scripts for films is a BIG DEAL, if they didn't want it there, it wouldn't be there.

Sherman does NOT say "Actually, Peggy is the one who flew the plane!" OR, "Peggy actually flew it first!" OR "It was Peggy's idea!"
He doesn't say any of these things.
Again, the script was written that way.

Now, if Sherman had a twin brother with him instead of Peggy, a girl, and his brother flew the plane first, what would the script sound like then?

NOR DID Peggy say a single word about it. (Would Sherman's twin brother have kept silent when Sherman was praised for "being the first Man to fly"? Is that how the script would have gone? Probably not...)

That one scene gave confirmation that the male-bias-point-of-view was indeed on purpose.
It is very possible, of course, that the filmmakers were keeping with the original spirit of the cartoon from the 50s and 60s, but what if the original bias on the cartoon was between whites and blacks? Would it be okay then? 
Probably not...
Humans generally accept any bias that they grew up with as "normal", as "the way things are", but if they didn't grow up with it, they'll notice it and say it's wrong.
They also don't tend to think it's so "okay" and "normal" if the bias is obviously against themselves.
Funny how that works.

Bias is modeled to children on a regular basis in our various human cultures.
Whatever group feels the most entitled to control and power is usually the group making the most insulting "jokes" about other groups, and trying the hardest to imply that THEIR group is actually the most deserving of "power" and control because they are the "best and the brightest", and the "most innocent" as well.

It's otherwise a really great movie.