I enjoyed this TED Talk by Colin Stokes about the way movies are affecting his young children. He makes some great points about the role of female characters, but his key point is what movies are teaching boys.

As the dad of two young daughters, I want my girls regularly to see strong and smart female characters in movies. (And they love movies.) But I want boys to see that, too. I want the boys and men who will be in my daughters’s lives to see women as just as strong and smart as my girls do.

Certainly, my kids are informed about their possibilities more from their family and the people around them in their actual life, but there’s no doubt the stories they consume affect them.

But it goes beyond just having more female lead characters. The stories need to be smart regardless of the gender of the characters. Some of the Barbie shows I’ve seen my kids watch are filled with girl characters, but they don’t model a level of thoughtfulness and intelligence that make the viewer better for the experience.

The quality of the stories we consume can shape the stories we tell with our lives. I want my girls to get lost in books and movies and comics that inspire wonder and delight and challenge them to live a great story themselves.