NEWSFLASH: The newest Disney princess (Anna from Frozen) has eyes bigger than her wrists.
Yep — thanks to work by sociologist Philip N. Cohen — we can now chew on that fact for a while.
While cartoons certainly aren’t the number one source for realistic portrayals of the human form, Cohen’s work finds surprising patterns in the way Disney films portray male and female characters‘ bodies. Male characters boast hands that dwarf female counterparts, and female leads have eyes sometimes twice the size of their male partner — trends that romanticize wide-eyed innocence for girls and strength and dominance for boys.
Mr. Cohen isn’t the only person disrupting our ideas on popular kids’ movies. Last year, TEDxBeaconStreet’s own Colin Stokes gave this fascinating talk on how movies teach manhood, which totally challenged how we look at gender in kids’ movies. 
Over at the TED Blog, Colin unpacks the messages he sees in more movies that are favorites for kids — and recommends some great picks for enlightened watching. Here’s a sampling:

Movie formula: The QuestTypical Version: A boy’s world is threatened by an evil male force. He must train and mobilize other boys to defeat the enemy in a violent conflict. There is essentially one female, who is granted to the hero as a prize.Examples: Star Wars, The Hobbit, The Lion King—-Enlightened version: A boy or girl (or team) seeks to heal an injustice in the world. They must make friends who share their goal to change the culture of an older generation, by modeling a better way.Examples: The Wizard of Oz, The Muppet Movie, The Dark Crystal, Castle in the Sky (Japan), Spy Kids 1 & 2, Tangled

Read his whole guide here» 
(Photo: Flickr user Dollyclaire)

NEWSFLASH: The newest Disney princess (Anna from Frozen) has eyes bigger than her wrists.

Yep — thanks to work by sociologist Philip N. Cohen — we can now chew on that fact for a while.

While cartoons certainly aren’t the number one source for realistic portrayals of the human form, Cohen’s work finds surprising patterns in the way Disney films portray male and female characters‘ bodies. Male characters boast hands that dwarf female counterparts, and female leads have eyes sometimes twice the size of their male partner — trends that romanticize wide-eyed innocence for girls and strength and dominance for boys.

Mr. Cohen isn’t the only person disrupting our ideas on popular kids’ movies. Last year, TEDxBeaconStreet’s own Colin Stokes gave this fascinating talk on how movies teach manhood, which totally challenged how we look at gender in kids’ movies.

Over at the TED Blog, Colin unpacks the messages he sees in more movies that are favorites for kids — and recommends some great picks for enlightened watching. Here’s a sampling:

Movie formula: The Quest
Typical Version:
A boy’s world is threatened by an evil male force. He must train and mobilize other boys to defeat the enemy in a violent conflict. There is essentially one female, who is granted to the hero as a prize.
ExamplesStar Wars, The Hobbit, The Lion King
—-
Enlightened version: A boy or girl (or team) seeks to heal an injustice in the world. They must make friends who share their goal to change the culture of an older generation, by modeling a better way.
Examples:
The Wizard of Oz, The Muppet Movie, The Dark Crystal, Castle in the Sky (Japan), Spy Kids 1 & 2, Tangled

Read his whole guide here»

(Photo: Flickr user Dollyclaire)

Beyoncé, a.k.a. goddess among mortals slash queen of everything, dropped a surprise album this morning  and guess what? She sampled a TEDx Talk! One of our favorites, actually. It’s a killer talk by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about gender and femaleness and why we should all be feminists. You can hear the excerpt above in the second verse of ”***Flawless,” bookended by Beyoncé reminding you that she can own it. TEDxEuston, FTW.

Read more »

Watch Adichie’s talk here »

A TED/TEDx Playlist: 27 songs to celebrate women innovators

TEDWomen is today, so we’re rocking out to this Spotify playlist, put together by a resident team of music dorks (one of them writing to you right now) with songs about women who’ve innovated, made a difference, taken a stand, and changed history in the process.

Our mixtape of tunes includes: a Swedish dance-pop tribute to Marie Curie’s research on radioactivity, Jane Birkin’s ode to the work and ideals of Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, an emotional love song for Georgia O’Keefe, and a tongue-in-cheek punk rock commentary on Margaret Thatcher.

Check it out below or on Spotify:

(Above — clockwise — Benazir Bhutto, Ada Lovelace, Georgia O’Keefe, Virginia Woolf, Sojourner Truth, Nelly Bly)

GoldieBlox, the super cool engineering toy set for girls (and the brainchild of TEDxPSU speaker Debbie Sterling), just released this amazing ad, which combines the Beastie Boys, a Rube Goldberg machine, and some dancing to show why there needs to be more diversity in the toys presented to girls. Not everything needs to be pink and princess-y!
We love this ad almost as much as we love Debbie’s talk,  “Inspiring the next generation of female engineers,” which you should totally watch right now and learn why she decided to start GoldieBlox (Hint: It’s to help girls learn that they can be engineers, despite what anyone tells them.) Well — right after you watch these girls engineer one amazing backyard machine.

GoldieBlox, the super cool engineering toy set for girls (and the brainchild of TEDxPSU speaker Debbie Sterling), just released this amazing ad, which combines the Beastie Boys, a Rube Goldberg machine, and some dancing to show why there needs to be more diversity in the toys presented to girls. Not everything needs to be pink and princess-y!

We love this ad almost as much as we love Debbie’s talk, “Inspiring the next generation of female engineers,” which you should totally watch right now and learn why she decided to start GoldieBlox (Hint: It’s to help girls learn that they can be engineers, despite what anyone tells them.) Well — right after you watch these girls engineer one amazing backyard machine.