I re-watched the 1960 Disney film Swiss Family Robinson over the weekend, and I was reminded of all its not-so-subtle messages about gender. As a little girl, this movie taught me that men and boys are capable of anything. That they are strong, fearless, adventurous, and resourceful, and that women are useful here and there but need lots of gentle treatment and extra help.
First, the men of the family build and then reveal their elaborate tree house to their wife/mother, all the while driving home the point that she is afraid of wild animals, climbing things and being up high. She, of course, is especially excited about her new kitchen:
Then, Fritz and Ernst sail around the island and end up rescuing a "cabin boy" from a bunch of pirates. They treat him roughly and remark to each other how soft and "sissy" he seems, and when they discover that he is actually a girl in disguise, they turn on the chivalry and begin competing for her attention.
Naturally, this girl (Roberta) is completely incapable of getting along without the boys' constant help and attention, and when Fritz is attacked by a giant snake in the swamp, she can only clutch a tree and scream instead of help out.
I get that it was made in pre-Second Wave 1960, but I grew up watching it over and over in the 80s, and there's no way it didn't have some sort of effect on my ideas about gender roles. I suppose if I had really wanted to, I could have tried to identify with one of the adventurous boys in the film, but instead (like most little girls watching movies with no strong female characters), I used to try to figure out which one I had the bigger crush on (definitely Ernst, by the way).