Is the movie “Red Tails” for boys, girls or both?
That seems to be the question in one Texas school district. Almost 6,000 fifth grade boys were treated to a showing of the new film. “Red Tails” is the story about the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots to serve in the U.S. military. The school district thought the World War II story would be enjoyed by boys over girls who were shown a different movie. “Akeelah and the Bee” is a story about an 11-year-old girl who competes in a national spelling bee.
The Tuskegee Airmen escorted bombers during the war. They weren’t allowed to fight alongside their white counterparts. They stood out by painting the tails of their planes red. In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded the Airmen the Congressional Gold Medal.
What are your thoughts about this? It doesn’t seem to be an intentional slight toward girls, but it is evidence that stereotyping continues in our thinking. Why would someone assume girls would be more interested in one type of movie over another? If you recall “Top Gun” didn’t girls enjoy this movie as well as boys? Maybe for a different reason (Tom Cruise) but you get the point.
It’s a coincidence that at this moment in our country’s history, we are considering expanding the role of women in the military. They have traditionally been kept from certain positions including the front lines and combat duty. However, for the past ten years women have served in these positions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 100 women have lost their lives in defense of the U.S. since 2003 when we invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction and terrorists. Although we are out of Iraq, women continue to serve in Afghanistan and other hot-spots around the world.
The Texas school district explains that it has held gender-specific events in the past. Maybe more thought will go into the next event so as to avoid slighting one group without legitimate reason.