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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..

louisianablue2000 Fri 19-Jul-13 16:56:18

Our favourite is Nina, thankfully I'm a scientist so my DDs have no problem accepting a woman can be a scientist (although DD1's friends at school told her I couldn't be a scientist!). Sarah and Duck is quite good, and we love Abney and Teal.

Poledra's link is depressing, that cbeebies are consciously having lots of male presenters and characters to hold their male share of the audience. I suppose most people don't care about the gender stereotyping, or believe it's hardwired (lost count of the conversations I've had where people tell me how their girl just automatically loves pink).

DVDs help a bit but I started a thread a month or so ago asking for ideas for female strong films for kids and they are pretty difficult to find as well, most films fail the Bechdel test for goodness sake!

Karkadan Mon 03-Jun-13 11:06:17

Having a son, this bothers me too. At the moment, he (almost 4) is happy to play any role - his favourite is Dashi, and of the Tweenies (which he loves, but the gender stereotyping is so bad!), it's Fizz 'because she is pink, my favourite colour, and she does ballet like me, and I like her hair'. But for how long? Let's Play is the only one that makes an effort to give the traditional male roles to Rebecca, but I seem to be fighting a battle I thought was over when I refer to 'police officers' and 'fire fighters' and on TV they are usually '-men'.

girliefriend Sun 26-May-13 21:37:15

I think gender sterotyping is getting worse in a lot of aspects at the moment, it makes me sad that my dd hasn't gone any positive strong female role models to look up to on any of the kids tv programmes.

<Wracks brain - there must be one surely>

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sun 26-May-13 21:31:12

I hate the lazy and sexist defaulting to male as universal, female as other ... Even when it's disguised as 'same but pink'.

The reason why girls can 'read themselves into' male characters is because society tells them they have to / it's ok, whereas boys cannot do the same for girls as its 'not ok'. This is not just a harmless quirk, it becomes hard wired into our brains, literally set in our neural pathways (was a sociolinguist originally). The awful thing is, we are going backwards in terms of media images.

I heartily dislike that my son already cannot see himself as any girl character, with the exception of Dora, and I suspect he doesn't think Dora is a girl... This is in spite if me trying hard.

HaventGotAStitchToWear Sat 04-May-13 03:53:31

Oh I just hate Ceebeebies!

Haven't had it on in a loooong time as we prefer collecting good DVDs. Here are some with no silly gender stereotyping and great female leads-

Kiki the sorceress
My Neighbour Totoro
First Fun With French
The Secret of Kells

I hate Peppa Pig- especially Mummy Pig- puke!
Hello Kitty is horrible. 'She loves flowers in the sun??'
Detest Show Me Show me!

My little girl loves Dora :-)

Kiki the sorceress

Yamyoid Sat 06-Apr-13 09:49:14

Have just stumbled across this old thread...
My ds loves Wonder Pets and I discovered [unfortunately to his dismay] that two of the three characters are female and there's nothing to identify them as such, ie pink outfits, bows etc.
Are Americans actually ahead of the British in terms of good female lead characters? Or is it all going backwards?
As a child I loved She-Ra, Dungeons and Dragons with the Amazonian type female character; one called Fire Star who was with Spider Man in the cartoon. Where have all the female super heroes gone?
It's really really poor.

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!

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

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

ArbitraryUsername Wed 06-Feb-13 15:12:37

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.

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 ...

Strikeuptheband Wed 06-Feb-13 15:03:32

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.

ArbitraryUsername Wed 06-Feb-13 14:53:24

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.

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.

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.

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).

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

Completely agree, not enough girls or women.

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.

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

I mean the female duck actually, not daffy.

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.

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

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.

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

WOW JCCDL that is a bit sad

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?!

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.

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.

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