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Apr 16, 2017
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Not trying to derail threads ...

I never thought DHS or MK were geared towards any gender. IMO DHS is geared towards any/all of Disney's various non-Disney branded movies. Movies you wouldn't think were Disney because they were aquired or released through some other branch/division/company that Disney owns. So I figure, the gender is neutral because nothing to me inherently is designed for boys (maybe I'm too new age) but girls can enjoy Star Wars too, my best friend is a girl and shes obsessed with it, and walking by the Star Wars stuff there now, there are plenty of girls as well as guys who spaz out due to excitement because they love it. It might be because my view point is that of "It's 2019, anyone can be or like anything in this day and age".

MK I think balances it out more. But if anything leans more towards boyish. As far as themed areas go, the majority of the park is not very girly at all. Sure you might have the occasional princess meetup/photo op, but thats not the same as making the park itself target girls. Honestly IDEK Jasmine was in Adventureland, I thought she was only in Morocoo at EPCOT.
 

Applesauce

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Its not that things aren't gender neutral, I think it's more how it's presented based on procieved stereotypes.

Think about the things that are gender neutral in parks like Disney or Universal. Often they are male lead properties from IPs or themes that generally stick towards a very (stereotypical and outdated) gender binary. Star Wars is for everyone yes, but it's target audience? It's boys. Indiana Jones is for everyone, but it's target audience? Boys. Frozen is for everyone, but it's target audience is girls. Pirates? Boys. Rocket ships? Boys. Princesses? Girls. Fairies? girls. It's who they're marketing at.

When you walk into a store and see the kids clothes section or the toys section (or think back to when you were a kid in these sections) remember how there's no star Wars in the girl section? And no princesses in the boys section? Sure now star Wars has a female lead and has marketing for girls but it took them nearly 40 years to get to that point. But you still don't see princesses in the boys section. They've gotten better at putting the male characters over there, but is Kristoff, Sven and Olaf really as interesting as Elsa?

Parks should be gender neutral. Yes, it's inescapable that parks prolly won't do this, not until society as a whole stops gendering things like princesses. (Boys can like princesses and frilly clothes. Kindness and gentleness, is a good thing to teach young boys.) However, the main issue is "gender neutral" just means "default male". If it has a female lead it's often seen as for girls. If it has a female lead and is for guys it's prolly like a transformers movie and is pretty slimy to watch and witness, with a giant dash of "I'm not like OTHER girls". Meanwhile you can have Monsters Inc with two male leads and it's for everyone. You can have Wreck-it Ralph and it's for everyone. But Brave is a girl's movie.

I hope that kinda made sense.
 
Apr 16, 2017
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I get the perception. I look back to the toy shop in Ireland as an example, as it was predominately for girls, then they added a for boys section, but due to complaints they changed the boys section to a more neutral section.

The thing is, me personally unless it is blatant or obvious like say princesses vs pirates, I don't really see the gender issue. Like going to Star Wars, I see that it was based towards Guys, but it has since gravitated towards Neutral but this is only because of the people who liked it. More girls like Star Wars now then when it started, I'm not sure if a female lead has anything to do with that, like I said, my BF liked Star Wars before the female lead. But I don't generally assign a gender to things like that because it's objective and based on the general opinion at that time. However, some things are timeless, like bright colors, dresses, glitter, etc. are definitely seen as more girly.

But in the end, I don't think everything was designed with a gender in mind. Somethings yeah, but not everything.
 
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Zachary

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I don't have any problem at all with attractions targeted squarely at little girls who want pink and sparkly flowers or little boys who want loud engine noises and rocket ships or whatever.

That said, in my mind, it's all about balance. My ideal park would have some attractions on either end of the spectrum and a bunch towards the middle. I think Magic Kingdom is shockingly, amazingly close to hitting that balance perfectly. You know who isn't good at it at all? Universal.
 

Applesauce

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The toy shop is a good example. It was something that the park didn't need to specifically say was for girls. It's a store. Just have it mixed in with the rest of the kids toys. (Though the name was awful. It still is awful)

But has Star Wars actually gravitated and become neutral? When I was a kid I loved star Wars. It didn't bother me that Leia wasn't the main character. (Though arguably I would watch a whole movie about her.) But while I was growing up Star Wars was a boy thing. And I am very much not a boy. Despite having a female lead now, most people STILL see Star Wars as a boy thing. (And yes a female lead does usually dictate if it's for boys or for girls. Lets not forget the uproar of gross fans who don't like the new movies because first it was Rey being the lead, and now it's some other stupid nitpicky reason that usually has to do with a female character.)

Things can always be gender neutral in your mind, but it will always have a bias towards one thing or another, again it's target marketing. They're trying to sell you this thing. And they are gonna make this thing as broad and stereotypical as they can. Whether it's Star Wars, Frozen, theme parks or pain medication. Everything has a target audience. Some are just more broad than others.
 
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Nicole

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I think part of the problem is what society considers “gender neutral.”

It seems to me that while it is acceptable for girls to like masculine things, the reverse is less true. So, things that are essentially targeted at boys will appeal to both. Essentially that means that for all practical purposes things are either targeted at girls or gender neutral.

I am not expressing a judgement about this; I am merely observing an interesting phenomenon.

I would posit that this dichotomy is the result of centuries-old power imbalances between the sexes. For women to succeed outside of traditional female roles, they had to embrace male interests. It is “cool” for girls to reject girly things and prefer boy things. There are very few examples of successful feminine power. (A reason to adore Reece Witherspoon is her unapologetic girlyness, coupled with tremendous success and power on her own terms.)

It is analogous to the grammatical concept that the masculine is the general case. When the subject is unknown, classic rules say that one should use “he.” Similarly, it is the source of the 80s atrocity: the power suit.

So, in my opinion, saying that an attraction is “neutral” may only mean that it is masculine, but girls are permitted to enjoy it. The upshot is that while park’s may actually be skewed towards boys’ rides, only those targeted at girls stand out.
 

Ice

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The only viable option is to provide things equally for both sides of the spectrum.

No matter how much society changes, we cannot change the nature of the different sexes to act the way they do; men and women are inherently different and act differently. It is natural, and we cannot change it. I personally see trying to accomplish total gender neutrality as futile. What even is gender neutrality honestly? It is defined by someone either de-masculinizing (I don't care if I made up a word I'm tired) their interests or someone de-feminizing their interests, there is nobody out there inherently neutral, it's simple biology. We can never really reach a definition of neutrality that can be agreed upon, that's why I have always felt it to be borderline a waist of time to try to achieve a center of the spectrum when we can simply make both sides of the spectrum equally accessible and encourage both sides to feel how they wish, decide what you like, don't just like something because it is "girly" or because it is "boyish". Of course not everyone will have all masculine interests or all feminine interests, we should encourage interests to be shared and swapped. It will kinda create a mutual appreciation in a way. Maybe. Don't quote me on that.

I see equal availability as far more reachable and realistic, similar to what @Zachary said, for those of you who do not wish do bore yourselves with the middle chunk.
 
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Zachary

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No matter how much society changes, we cannot change the nature of the different sexes to act the way they do; men and women are inherently different and act differently. It is natural, and we cannot change it. I personally see trying to accomplish total gender neutrality as futile. What even is gender neutrality honestly? It is defined by someone either de-masculinizing (I don't care if I made up a word I'm tired) their interests or someone de-feminizing their interests, there is nobody out there inherently neutral, it's simple biology.

I believe there are very real and very valid debates to be had about some of the points you laid out as fact here. It's basically the nature vs nurture debate. That said, I think that side of the conversation is way outside the purview of this thread.

As for "gender neutral" attractions, when I look at a park like Magic Kingdom, I see many, many, many attractions that I would consider to be largely gender-bias-neutral. Perhaps extreme cases could be made to say that tea parties are stereotypically feminine and hence, Mad Tea Party—a moderately themed tea cups ride—is somehow designed to appeal to girls over boys. I understand the argument, and to some small degree, I think it's probably true. That said, I also think that near-center cases aren't worth much thought in this discussion. There will always be a large gray area in the middle of this spectrum and I think it's probably best to surrender the entirety of this gray area to the "gender neutral" attractions classification. I think talking about the edge cases is far more interesting and perhaps, far more informative.

Here are a few attractions at Magic Kingdom that I would identify as very-notably-gender-biased edge cases:
  • Under the Sea. A ride about a princess, a villiness, and an abusive father. Very clearly a feminine-leaning attraction in its characters and theme.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean. A ride that is so masculine-biased that some of its misogyny needed to be edited out.
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle: A walk-through-type attraction-show-thing where I'm pretty sure I witnessed a few young boys contemplating suicide for the first time in their lives.
  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin: A SiFi-esque shooting darkride themed to a male-aimed TV show based on the most masculine character in a series of movies that already had a notable male-slant.
Now, I'm not saying it's a problem that these attractions exist. Far from it in fact. I think it's good that the ends of the spectrum are covered. That said, I'm also very glad that making that list was so difficult at Magic Kingdom. The more attractions that sit towards the central "gender neutral" section of the spectrum, the better. If every park distributed the target audiences for their attractions across the gender spectrum half as well as Magic Kingdom, I don't think there would be much of an issue. Unfortunately... Glares disapprovingly at Universal...
 
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Ice

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I think it's good that the ends of the spectrum are covered. That said, I'm also very glad that making that list was so difficult at Magic Kingdom. The more attractions that sit towards the central "gender neutral" section of the spectrum, the better.

It seems as though we agree nearly entirely on how parks should approach this; as long as there isn't an imbalance, it is okay. Rides directed more towards the center are preferred, however.

Even if this center doesn't have a distinct definition, since the distinct definition is where things start to get semi-political.

Unless I am drastically misunderstanding your posts.
 

Zachary

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Nope, you got it.

How our culture ended up with these stereotypes and whether they should or should not exist or are or are not justified is all a big, complicated aside.

I think we are in agreement when it comes to how parks should address the cultural environment they find themselves in.
 
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