Peter Pan is an iconic movie associated with youth and imagination. This past week, I was on spring break and decided to feel like a little kid, so I watched Peter Pan. There are many versions of this movie, so I feel the need to clarify. I watched the 2003 film directed by P.J. Hogan starring Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan. Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan—the story of a little boy never wanting to grow up who meets three children (Wendy, John and Michael) and takes them to Never Never Land to aid in his quest to defeat the evil Captain Hook.
There are two prominent female characters—Wendy and Tinkerbell. Wendy Darling is kind, graceful and well mannered. She is a good English schoolgirl. But, her most important quality is her motherly nature. She acts as a mother to the lost boys in Never Never Land. Peter and the boys even call her mother. She is nurturing and reads them books before bed. Tinkerbell is “one of the guys.” She is almost instantly jealous of Wendy because of Peter Pan’s interest in Wendy. Tinkerbell is tough. She is very independent compared to Wendy’s delicacy.
Both Wendy Darling and Tinkerbell are shallow portrayals of women. They are nearly opposite of each other creating an either, or mentality. Because Wendy and Tinkerbell are the main female characters, the viewer subconsciously classifies herself as either a Wendy—the nurturing mother—or Tinkerbell—the tough, independent girl. That is not the truth at all. Women are complex.
Peter Pan does not get my stamp of approval as a NeW woman due to the shallow, one-dimensional representation of women.