Shrek

shrek

Shrek
Rating: PG
Run Time: 90 minutes
Released: 2001
Director: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

The film does an excellent job of challenging traditional notions of body image, body ideals, and beauty ideals, but does very little to engage with gender roles, racial diversity, disability, and sexual orientation.

Summary

To reclaim the swamp, Shrek and Donkey embark on a journey to save Princess Fiona.


Ratings

Language: poo

  • Adult-themed innuendos
  • Threatening and demeaning language- “idiot,” “ass,” “pathetic,” “useless,” “stupid,” “ugly”

Violence: poo

  • Fighting- throwing, kicking, punching
  • Weapons- swords, bow and arrow

Sex: poo

  • Minimal sexual content- kissing

Drugs and Alcohol: poo

  • Shrek drinks a pint of beer.
  • Lord Farquaad drinks a martini.

Cultural Analysis

 

Pros:

Gender

  • Fiona, a female character, challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity. Fiona is depicted as very active (she is a skilled fighter), and she is intelligent.
  • Fiona also challenges traditional beauty ideals. For example, she chooses to be an ogre instead of a human, and, once an ogre, Shrek tells her she is beautiful.
  • The Big Bad Wolf, a masculine character, dresses in feminine clothing. This is progressive because portrayals of cross-dressing in the media are usually depicted as comedic.

Race– N/A

Sexual Orientation– N/A

Disability– N/A

Body

  • Shrek is grotesque (fat-bodied, farts, burps, bathes in mud), but he is depicted as a “good” character. At one point, Shrek talks about how others judge him by how he looks and how one’s looks do not determine their value. This is important because many male leads conform to traditional gender and body ideals. Further, the depiction of Shrek as a kind hearted, sensitive grotesque challenges the notions that outside appearance is indicative of moral character.

Cons:

Gender

  • Princess Fiona is placed in the tower of a castle to be saved by her “true love.” This reinforces the damsel in distress trope in which a helpless woman needs to be saved by her traditionally masculine true love.
  • The male gaze is present in the film.

Race

  • There are no major or minor characters of color.

Sexual Orientation

Disability

Body

  • Even though Shrek comes to accept his body at the end of the film, the word “ogre” is still used as an insult. Additionally, the grotesqueness of Shrek is used for comical purposes.
  • Lord Farquaad is very short and is depicted as evil and greedy. This is problematic because most films mark the villain in some way (whether it is with scars, visible disabilities, or aberrant body types).

Suggested talking points

  • A common theme in films is romantic love between a man and a woman. This can be problematic on two levels, as romantic love is depicted as necessary for happiness and also as heterosexuality is a prerequisite for romantic love.
  • Many children’s films also perpetuate princess culture. Most of the women in these films maintain no real life occupation and are only complete when they fall in love.
  • The film suggests that inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. We shouldn’t judge or treat people differently because of how they look.

Image: Amazon.com

Keywords: shrek, movie, review, gender, body, animated, family, kids, gender roles, dreamworks

Share your thoughts

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s