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The Hidden Meanings in Kids’ Movies by Colin Stokes (Transcript)

Full text of The hidden meanings in kids’ movies by Colin Stokes at TEDxBeaconStreet conference. 

“The director of communications for the non-profit Citizen Schools, Colin Stokes thinks deeply about the media he shares with his two young children”. –

Listen to the MP3 audio: The hidden meanings in kids’ movies _ Colin Stokes _ TEDxBeaconStreet


You know, my favorite part of being a dad is the movies I get to watch.

I love sharing my favorite movies with my kids and when my daughter was four, we got to watch The Wizard of Oz together. Totally dominated her imagination for months. Her favorite character was Glinda, of course. Gave a great excuse to wear a sparkly dress and carry a wand. But you know, you watch a movie enough times and you start to realize how unusual it is.

Now, we live today and are raising our children in a kind of children’s fantasy spectacular industrial complex. But The Wizard of Oz stood alone; it did not start that trend.

Forty years later was when the trend really caught on with, interestingly, another movie that featured a metal guy and a furry guy rescuing a girl by dressing up as the enemy’s guards. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Now, there’s a big difference between these two movies, a couple of really big differences between The Wizard of Oz and all the movies we watch today.

One is there’s very little violence in The Wizard of Oz. The monkeys are rather aggressive as are the apple trees. But I think if “The Wizard of Oz” were made today, the wizard would say, “Dorothy, you are the savior of Oz that the prophecy foretold. Use your magic slippers to defeat the computer-generated armies of the Wicked Witch.” But that’s not how it happens.

Another thing that is really unique about “The Wizard of Oz” to me is that all of the most heroic and wise and even villainous characters are female.

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