So in today's episode, we have the boy character charging around on his roller blades trying to break a speed record and generally in every episode behaving badly, whilst poor weak little Holly droops around looking for someone to "cure" and wanting to be a nurse- not a doctor, a nurse.
If EVER the BBC had a role in redressing gender imbalances, toddler telly to my mind is where they could and should start!! Why the constantly boisterous and frankly rude boy character? Why the weak little girl character who wants to be a nurse rather than a doctor? There is nothing wrong with being a nurse obviously, if that is your vocation, but they had a golden opportunity not to resort to 1950s stereotypes and they utterly bloody failed.
And don't get me started on the Zingzillas, who frankly are all one sandwich short of the full picnic, but when in the line-up the boy characters are always presented first. The boy characters are presented as the more senior in age, and Drum is basically barely more than a toddler.
At an age when children are like little moral sponges, our children (all of them, boys and girls) are being imprinted with this tripe. It makes me livid that in 2011 they can produce such sexist crap for little children without so much as an editorial eyebrow lift. I am seriously going to start writing letters, and in meantime, stop telly for DD3.
There is a book I must find and read because I suspect I will agree with most of what it says about gender imprinting in the early years. I do actually feel as though I have to keep my daughters up a mountain for the first few years of their lives to avoid it though- it's just everywhere- clothing, toys, attitudes of the other mothers at playgroup (DD3 is handed dolls wherever she goes to distract her from the "boys' toys" she wants to play with, drives me effing nuts to the extent that we've stopped going). My older daughters weren't allowed television this young and I stand by that decision now. Just need to implement it with DD3.
I thought rosie is usually OK, but have to admit I was a bit annoyed at the drippy one wanting to be a nurse today
What's the take on Charlie & Lola? I did like the one the other day where she needed new shoes and they had to be red, shiney enough to see her face in, good for dancing, grippy for running around...not pink, with a heel and making her look pretty. Charlie tends to be in charge but IMO that's in an older brother way.
I agree with you Stealth- I think the Charlie and Lola dynamic works because there is manifestly a big age gap, because Charlie is very nurturing and gentle and because Lola's imagination is running free and she is being herself.
The Zingzillas just don't work despite the age gap because 1) both female characters are younger than both male characters (coincidence? I think not) and 2) the younger male characters are complete fools but feel they have some kind of ascendency. The older male cast in Zingzillas also includes two cast in a paternal role (more if you count the stone heads) with definite moral ascendency whilst the remaining female characters (the Beach Birds) all speak with one voice and have no authority whatsoever. If you were going to sit down and write a show that subtly undermined women's rights, this would be hard to beat.
DD's 4th birthday coming up, so maybe a 'proper' Charlie and Lola book will be in order, thanks for that.
Back to Zingzillas though, it's so flawed, with so many generalisations and stereotypes i hardly know where to start! DH gets annoyed at it as they have the drummer as unable to communicate apart from banging about (he's a drummer too, and can actually hold a conversation).
The male lead singer always calls the shots and yes, the 'older' characters are male and moaning
Put this together with the gender stereotyping, and the terrible music, it really is an appaling programme all round
Can I suggest trying iPlayer instead (if you have it?) then you can totally ignore what's on live, and play the eps you want. Turn off Zingillas and put on DipDap, Mr Bloom's Nursery (where the "Tiddlers" are all treated equally even if the singing veggies are bizarre) or Octonauts!
The general 'foregrounding' of men and boys drives me mad! Even if the 'stars' are mixed gender then the girls are often tending to the boys. But, worse, there are far more male-led programmes. Tommy Zoom, Postman Pat, Octonauts, Rastamouse! It all adds up to a privileging of the male experience and viewpoint.
Yes but in Octonauts, all the active adventuring characters are male, and poor old Dashi and Tweak always have to stay behind the Octopod. I have gone right off it since I realised this.
I have decided that the only gender neutral programme on Cbeebies is Me Too. OK, it has the annoying pink taxi driver, but also an omnipotent female authority figure, hands on dads, a single mum, deals well with issues around childcare, portrays a range of jobs from minimum wage to being a doctor. I think I will have to change my posting name to Granny Murray.
I tell you what though, look up youtube for the pilot episode of Bob the Builder (It's called "scoop saves the day") and Wendy is in a skirt in the office.
The rest of the episodes she's got dungarees and a hard hat on, and just wears little sensible earrings. She's still slightly second in line to Bob, but I'm ok with that. The focus group obviously said "don't make her the secretary" and they listened.