Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something we can all agree on: not sexualizing little girls

USC researchers have released a report on the role of women and girls on children's TV. The research finds that females are underrepresented, portrayed as primarily interested in appearance and romance, and that characters are sexualized. I was shocked to see how two children's TV characters were made over as sexualized. Both characters were originally little girls. Now they look older, thinner, show more skin, and Rainbow Brite especially looks like jail bait.

The right and left wings of the sex education debate don't agree on much, but they do agree that reducing women and girls to sexual and romantic roles is distasteful and inappropriate. I hope that all can find some constructive action to counter these disturbing trends.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Wow. Those are really disturbing, especially since they're characters I remember growing up with.

On a second take though, I'm starting to see two sides to it. So to play devil's advocate for a moment . . .

Rainbow Brite, the old version, is a little girl wearing moon boots and, actually, a ridiculously short skirt. The new version doesn't look like a little girl at all, more of a teenage animé character. I don't like it, but . . . are animé always sexual, or are they just a totally different aesthetic? This is more of a Wonderwoman type, who probably knows karate and has a flying motorcycle that shoots lasers. I almost feel like it's more okay, since she's in such a different category than before.

And Strawberry Shortcake . . . yeah, the amount of body is a bit disturbing, but don't you think she looks actually more like a real little girl now, and the old version looks more like a frumpy grandmother? (And, well, a pastry?)

I'm curious how these will look to us in 20 more years, when the next makeover comes! Because now I'm not sure of my judgement--not sure how well I can distinguish "sexy" from "different, and fitting with today's styles."