Over at The Hathor Legacy, C. L. Hanson lays out a case for the unexamined misogyny of the Pixar film “Ice Age,” in which the adventures of the protagonist mammals is launched by the death of a mother for the sake of her child. Does this mean that the filmmakers consider female characters disposable, or that they failed to realize that they treat female characters in this disposable fashion? I happen to think that the mother died of natural causes, and rather than being abandoning her to an unaided demise, Manny the Morose Mammoth was watching her last act before exhaustion and injury closed inevitably upon her.
Not the most imaginative plotting; the lazy device of the mother’s death in this film does not set female characters back a few millennia; but it does reflect a gender imbalance, a lack of concern for that imbalance, and is an amplification — albeit a quiet one — of the role of mother mere vessel, fulfilling her noble duty: bear the baby, birth the baby, save the baby, expire.
Whether you agree with the author or not, the question is a fair one, and a smart one, the sort of discerning interrogation of culture that is bound to expose even the most firmly rooted gender preferences.