Oscar winner Geena Davis has called on the entertainment industry to halt gender distortion in children's movies and TV and bring in positive role models for girls and boys.
The Thelma + Louise star was last night (01May07) honoured with the USA Today Hollywood Hero Award in Beverly Hills, California for her Sea Jane project, which seeks to increase the number of female role models in contemporary film and television.
Writing in this morning's (02May07) USA Today newspaper, Davis says, "We didn't realise at the time how odd it was that there were few female role models, or how marginalised or simply invisible female characters were, especially in children's entertainment.
"Today, gender distortion remains entrenched in movies and TV aimed at young children like mine...
"Character portrayals also matter. In films and TV for children, male characters are half as likely as females to be parents or married, and more likely to be violent and dumb; those disparities are even greater for male character of colour...
"Kids learn their value by seeing themselves reflected in culture... But what message are we sending children with so few female characters? Or when male relationships and female accomplishments are devalued?
"We're teaching them that girls and women are less valuable, while options for boys and girls are determined primarily by gender. This message damages girls and boys."