A Review of Finding Kind
The premise of Finding Kind is pretty straightforward and frankly upsetting. It is simply that women and girls are particularly nasty and mean to each other, and that in this widely accepted “girl culture” dishing out, receiving or standing by as bullying occurs is the norm.
The filmmakers have made it their mission to document this culture of meanness, as well its deep, lasting and negative effects. Beyond this, they have pledged to combat it through programs they are inspiring in schools, community centers and neighborhoods around the United States. A worthy goal indeed.
So should you see the movie with your kids? It depends.
First, it’s probably not for kids younger than 12. There is a scene where a teen mother of two explains that her father has expressed his desire to sexually abuse her. Definitely not PG material for many families and the film just isn’t very compelling for younger girls. While I found myself repeatedly tearful at the wrenching stories being told, my 12 year old was contentedly eating a bowl of tomato soup and adding in her croutons as we watched. The problem is that the filmmakers have made a film ABOUT young girls rather than FOR them.
I was also disappointed at the overwhelmingly negative portrayal of female friendships. I can easily imagine some girls watching this film and feeling that it might just be better, or at least easier, to be a boy. Which is a real shame. As a graduate of a women’s college and the beneficiary of many deep and lasting female friendships myself, the last thing I want my girls believing is that it sucks to be a girl or that female friends are less trustworthy or loyal than male ones.
The film works to raise adult awareness, but I think it would work better if there was a companion film just for the kids. It should be both shorter and designed specifically for a 9-15 year old audience and it should include specific and actionable advice about how to cope with kids who are mean. (Heads up to PBS Kids, Nickelodeon or Disney: Give these gals a call and support them with money and expertise in this second effort.).
Still, if your girls are 12 years old or up, I’d say go see it, and by all means bring along as many of their girlfriends as you can. Be sure to schedule at least an extra hour after the film to hang out and talk about it. Because if nothing else, it makes an excellent starting point for a discussion all parents should be having with their girls.
For more information on the film and how to locate a screening near you, log on to their website Finding Kind