Kids’ TV Is Sexist, Says British MP. It’s Also Highly Annoying
How annoying are kids’ TV shows? There’s Max & Ruby, which makes me want to slit my wrists (where the [email protected]#k are the parents?!). There’s Caillou, probably one of the most irritating characters in the history of the world (honestly, if he were real, I’d forbid my kids from playing with him). And don’t even get me started on The Wiggles (they all suck, but next time you watch, check out Jeff’s overly dramatic facial expressions â€“ gag).
All this annoyance is nothing compared to the bigger issue at hand: the industry’s obsession with pink and princesses. This according to British Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who says this blatant sexism is harming young girls’ self-confidence. The 31-year-old politician, who previously campaigned to restrict airbrushing in advertisements, cites Dora the Explorer as a rare example of a “normal” girl who just tries to be “fun and cool,” according to the Daily Mail. But even Dora is being portrayed as a princess, as evidenced in Swinson’s recent visit to a children’s toy shop.
Swinson is reluctant to criticize any one particular show, citing the problem as all-encompassing. She tells the Daily Mail:
“It’s not a problem having a story about a girl who becomes a princess or a boy who becomes an action hero, but not to the exclusion of all else. There are not many women characters who are doctors or scientists or explorers. So often girls are the sidekicks or in a supporting role and it becomes problematic. It is ingraining these gender stereotypes at a very young age. For parents who want to inspire their daughters to turn their hand to anything, there’s a dearth of female role models there.”
She makes a solid point and it’s always refreshing to hear politicians addressing such issues. We hope that broadcasters take note and consider showing female characters as more than simply pretty girls, princesses or pink-clad sidekicks. And, as a mother of two young boys, it would be nice to see some strong male characters who aren’t Transformers, trains, action heroes or some dude trying to fix things.