Movie dimorphism update: How to Train Your Dragon 2 edition

In the kids’ movie sexual dimorphism saga, we have a new entrant: How to Train Your Dragon 2.

The posts so far include Frozen and Brave (which includes data on real hand size differences), Tangled, and Gnomeo and Juliet. The objections to complaints, and some counter examples, are in this post.

In Dragon, the young hero, Hiccup, and his friend Astrid are about the same size:

dragon-kidsSo file that under not extreme dimorphism. But there isn’t a lot of romance between them. I wouldn’t have made an entry for the film if not for a few tender moments between Stoick the Vast and his wife, Valka (Hiccup’s parents).

stoick-valkaTrue to form, it is during the tender moments that the greatest sexual dimorphism is displayed. Here are their hands from the scene where their love is (spoiler alert) rekindled (sorry for the image quality – it was dark):


I actually don’t see how her tiny fingers can reach all the way across his hand like that. Ouch! Anyway, the point is the size difference. Please don’t say, “Of course his hands are huge, his name is Stoick the Vast”! It’s fiction. They could have done whatever they wanted. That’s why some of the Vikings have Scottish accents, and there are flying dragons (still not enough magic to get any people of color into the frozen North, though — except the foreign arch villain, Drago Bludvist).

Anyway, here are the previous pictures in the series:

Gnomeo and Juliet


3 thoughts on “Movie dimorphism update: How to Train Your Dragon 2 edition

  1. It’s interesting to note, though, that in this example the unrealistic body image is stronger on the male side. Although she is definitely on the thin side of the female spectrum, Valka seems pretty average in size when compared to her son or Astrid. (On the second picture, you can see that she is taller than Hiccup.) On the other hand, Stoick is extremely tall and beefy, in a way that is really rare an/or difficult to achieve.

    Off course, this is not necessarily a good thing for women, as their are mostly denied the right to have bodies that are comically exaggerated (and not in a sexy way) and still be a love interest for the main dude. I have no example of this coming to my mind right now. Clearly, the option for female body designs are de facto limited.

    But the HTTYD franchise definitely focuses on male body expectations in a way that is interesting enough to be noted. Hiccup’s size and his disgust for violence are the main conflict in the first movie, because he falls short of his father’s expectations. The second movie, focusing on Hiccup’s fear or responsibilities, is arguably less interesting (and less… good), but at least some of the creators where concerned by body image issues. I thing this is to be considered when it comes to this particular franchise.


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