Cbeebies gender stereotyping yet again...Tree Fu Tom, Octonauts, Andy's Wild Adventures

(31 Posts)
EthelredTheUnready Sat 07-Apr-12 10:36:46

So here we go again - All the new programming on CBeebies seems to be just increasing the stereotyping..

Tree Fu Tom is great - magical and exciting - has my kids completely riveted - But when their friends come over to play the boys get to choose that they want to be Tom, Twigs, ZigZoo, or Squirmtum..and the girls get to be Ariana - really no other option... (only Mummys get to be Treetog, she just aint exciting enough)

Or Octonauts - Barnacles, Peso, Quasi, Shellington (the boys) are always the ones heading out to the action - the few female characters play minor service roles back at base...

Where are the dynamic female characters, the leaders, the adventurers? Where are the women who go out and do things.. who take the lead? Who have the ideas? Who are not scared or passive?

Why does it have to be MIKE the knight, ANDY's Wild adventures?

Girls on CBeebies tend to be pink and well girly - Rosie, Angelina.. or playing service or gender based roles - Katie lovely as she is, of course is doing cooking... Nina and the Neurones is a single example of non stereotyping I can think of - I find Dirtgirlworld unwatchable so can't comment.

My daughter is quite upset about it and has been much happier when we found out that Tree Fu Tom is actually a girl (well voiced by a woman!)..

At 3-6 kids are really exploring gender roles. It's as important for boys as well as girls - my friends four year old is totally in love with Ariana, a fabulous dynamic female character.. but she is the only one - Why wasn't Twigs a female? Why isn't it Katie's Wild Adventures? Why isn't Captain Barnacle a fantastic female leader?

There is good stuff out there - We have Jane and the Dragon dvds, which both kids love - but its few and far between and not at CBeebies -

Really, what are we telling our daughters (and our sons) in this day and age..

Am now going to switch the telly off and write to Kay Benbow, the controller of CBeebies..

fuzzpig Sat 07-Apr-12 10:46:49

I don't really know the programmes you're referring to - we don't really watch tv as we are DVD hoarders instead - but I agree.

I'm quite surprised if there are stereotyped new programmes, I thought things would be different now.

olihyatt Tue 10-Apr-12 10:53:49

If you are after a strong yet feminine adventuring female character, check out Olive the Ostrich on Nick Junior!

The animations aren't brash, aren't harsh, aren't cutesy. The backgrounds are created by children aged 6-9 years of age, who were selected from schools across the UK and took part in workshops to inspire creativity and story-telling skills. The pupils learnt about the film-making process and created artwork which was brought to life by the show's animators.

MoonHare Fri 13-Apr-12 18:17:06

Ethelred this drives me mad too! I also hate that the programmes where the main character is female e.g. Peppa Pig, Olivia (admittedly Milkshake but am struggling to think of any Cbeebies ones) often characterise her as bossy, controlling and a know it all. I too have been really disappointed with the new offerings from Cbeebies.

I remember about a year ago that a Lib Dem MP (Jo Swinson I think) was campaigning about this but I looked at her website and couldn't find anywhere that referenced it.

Have never heard of Jane and the Dragon but will seek it out.

I might join you in writing to Kay Benbow.

MandarinOrange Fri 11-May-12 09:44:43

I have noticed this too. My daughter identified with Dashi, the photographer, in Octonauts, but she hardly ever gets to go on missions, and there aren't any Dashi figurines available to buy either.

We have really enjoyed this series of books:
Three Little Pirates
Three Little Witches
Three Little Princesses
Because both the heroines and the villains are female! There are a few male characters but they are just sidekicks, shop owners etc.

BerryLellow Fri 11-May-12 10:20:13

Dora the Explorer (if you can bear the voice and singing) is ok, but still a bit pink.

whatinthewhatnow Wed 13-Jun-12 00:32:05

I think dora rocks - she goes on awesome adventures, is the leader of her gang and is bilingual, wntl? i like the look of those books mandarin, I'm always on the lookout for cool books for girls.

deepfriedcupcake Thu 14-Jun-12 13:30:28

We've dug out the Fireman Sam DVDs for DS2 and Penny is quite a professional charater (even if she misses out as the lead). Other than her though, and maybe Wendy in Bob the Builder, I can only think of Everything's Rosie, and she's still very girly. I agree CBeebies is letting the side down.

Astrid in How to Train Your Dragon is very tough - DS1 and I like her.

jccdl Thu 20-Sep-12 05:19:13

Joining this a bit late. Re the dragon training...the author explained at a talk I went to that she was made to put in the female character by Hollywood. She had not thought to have a single girl or woman in the entire village of her original book! Where did all the characters spring from?!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 22-Sep-12 23:20:32

WOW JCCDL that is a bit sad

tiggy114 Wed 03-Oct-12 18:10:52

Was just gonna read and go but i'm overjoyed that someone else noticed that peppa pig is spoiled and a bossy brat! My 20 mo girl is all for george anyway. Peppa doesn't get a look in. Also i love Dora and Diego. Fun, educational and both boy and girl have their own shows full of adventure.

StellaNova Wed 03-Oct-12 18:23:43

I agree, I generally love CBeebies but this is really bad. I had noticed before in passing but you have brought my attention to how bad it really is. I have two boys and I don't want them thinking that girls can't be leaders, initiators, etc.

I have to be Ariella when we play. They insist on me doing the accent and wearing a pair of battered fairy wings.

I really can't think of a CBeebies show where the central character is female and not all pinky-rainbowy, apart from as you say Nina. Where is the She-Ra of yesteryear? grin

babylann Sun 04-Nov-12 13:54:32

Vast majority of shows I can think of have male leads, even where a gender role makes no difference. Baby Jake, Charlie Bear, Igglepiggle, raa raa, Driver Dan, grandpa in my pocket is told from the eyes of the boy.

Over all I think it's a million times better than Disney or Nickelodeon. I noticed Minnie mouse and daffy duck wear dresses and high heels for example, and dance or walk with grace and difficulty where the male characters dress for purpose and dance like aerobic lunatics.

babylann Sun 04-Nov-12 13:55:19

I mean the female duck actually, not daffy.

CaseyShraeger Sun 04-Nov-12 14:04:55

I have big rants about gender balance in Tree Fu Tom. The older shows were much better - for example Balamory which had. En and women doing a variety of jobs, Me Too (much as I found it intensely irritating) where there was a female doctor and a female taxi driver, or Come Outside which is decades old but still had Auntie Mabel as the central character.

Two out of three of the Abadas are female. Whee.

DillyTante Sun 04-Nov-12 18:14:40

Completely agree, not enough girls or women.

noblegiraffe Tue 06-Nov-12 07:57:30

Tilly and Friends is lovely. It's my DS's (3) favourite programme and he used be all about the Octonauts. It has 3 female characters (Tilly the girl, a chicken and a crocodile) and 3 male characters (a pig, an elephant and a rabbit).

MeanAndMeaslyMiddleAges Wed 02-Jan-13 01:18:22

Coming late to the discussion, which I totally agree with and makes me rant but as for an explanation as to why certain characters are automatically made boys when the gender is irrelevant is down to the simple fact that boys tend not to like programmes where the leads are female, whereas girls aten't quite so bothered. Therefore they choose a male character and appeal to both audiences. Now of course I don't know how much of this is true - my experience with younger children does actually make me inclined to believe that there probably is truth in it, but that's only anecdotal evidence. That's why the Disney film Tangled was promoted so heavily with the Flynn Ryder character in the trailers. I thought it was the story of Rapinzel told from a male perspective until I watched it. Disney were afraid of losing the young boy demographic if they didn't promote it in this way.

Now of course, the big question is why boys are less willing to watch female characters when it doesn't seem to bother girls quite so much, but it's late and I'm tired.

And Rosie is totally an enabler. Her friends take total advantage of her. They'll bleed her dry then abandon her when she has nothing left to give. She'll die alone.

Machadaynu Wed 06-Feb-13 14:47:42

I've come here after my DD chose a "Tilly and Friends" magazine the other day.

What the chuff is the Pru character about? A chicken who thinks everyone should wear lipstick and blusher? Really? Notwithstanding the fact she has no lips, what sort of message is that? I was quite pleased the pig is both male and pink though. And amused that DD refuses to call the elephant Tumpty and insists he ought to be called Trumpative instead.

On Octonauts (which she loves above all others) I agree about the female characters never going on missions, and the kid has noticed too. At least they have important jobs - as the kid tells it 'Peso mends creatures and Tweak mends machines' And they do make Tweak character toys now, but they are like hen's teeth. Or hen's lips.

There are both dashi and tweak figures. They're both just bloody hard to come by. I found tweak in sainsbos, but can't get dashi anywhere. I don't think the female characters in octonauts are that bad really. Tweak, in particular, can fix anything and designs very cool gadgets. It's not quite the usual female service role (the vegimals are to be found in the kitchen whipping up fish biscuits instead).

Mike the knight does really annoy me though. For several reasons.

If you watch Show me Show me it is pleasing to see very little in the way of gener stereotyping. Thumbs up to them.

Let's Play seem to do a good job of it too...Rebecca has been a firefighter, a footballer and a racing driver. But then at the end you cut to kids talking about dressing as fairies and princesses and knights and superheroes and that is more gendered.

Machadaynu Wed 06-Feb-13 15:07:36

I know Dashi and Tweak are hard to find - we got both in Boots (on 3 for 2 as well) if you're still after one. Seemed to be a bit hit and miss as to what they had in. Don't get me started on Barnacles coming with the GUP-X, GUP-D and the Octopod. We've got three of him now. Grrr - as he might say.

The kid likes Tweak for being the engineer, but you only see her doing any engineering in the Christmas one where she makes GUP-X - and then she seems to be just randomly hammering it. She never seems to know what to do with her when she plays with her Octonauts toys.

Fortunately we've never seen Mike the Knight apart from in the CBeebies magazines.

Bob the Builder is odd too. Wendy does most of the actual building (now she isn't doing filing and answering the phone - the job she used to do, and was so important that no-one does it now) but you try and find a child-sized hard hat in blue like hers ...

Ah, boots. I'll have a look. The accuracy of tweak's engineering work doesn't bother me; it's not like peso's medical skills stretch beyond applying bandages to every single creature.

Poledra Wed 06-Feb-13 15:12:48

You may find this interesting. It's been ongoing since 2007

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Sun 10-Feb-13 11:54:36

Abney and Teal is good, Teal isn't pink or glittery at all. The only problem is that you can't get it on DVD!

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