I haven't see Horton Hears a Who yet, though I intend to, but here's an interesting article on Gender Inequity in "Whoville" by Peter Sagal.
We got into the car outside the cinpeplex and I was quite in lather, let me tell you. How come one of the GIRLs didn't get to save Whoville? I cried.
"Yeah!" said my daughters.
"And while we're at it, how come a girl doesn't get to blow up the Death Star! Or send ET home? Or defeat Captain Hook! Or Destroy the Ring of Power!"
"That's rotten!" cried my daughters.
"How come Trinity can't be the One who defeats the Matrix!" I yelled.
"What are you talking about?" they said.
"You'll find out later," I said. "But here's one: how come a girl doesn't get to defeat Lord Voldemort!"
"Well, wait a minute, Papa," they said. "None of us would want to mess with him."
I took their point. But I still wanted to grab that fictional, silly mayor of Whoville by his weirdly ruffled neck, and say, you see those 96 people over there? Those girls, those women, those daughters? You know what they're saying to you, every minute of every day that you waste thinking about anything else?
They are shouting at you. They are shouting:
"We are here! We are here! We are here!"
Thank goddess for Buffy and Xena and River Tam and Alanna (see Tamora Pierce)...all, of course, relatively recent characters after many years of passive princesses waiting to be rescued. (Though I am grateful that Princess Leia wasn't that sort! But then her mother ended up a tragic, passive character after such a promising start.)
I realize that not all noble characters who save the world can be women or girls, but let's shoot for 50 per cent at least!