Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Youth Television Messages

As I sit and reflect upon the day, I wonder about the television my kids watch. Ty's favorite show is "Mickey Mouse." My hubby and I like this show, sing the songs, and dance the hot dog dance with Ty. I know he learns more than the standard information from it and I wonder, what does "Mickey Mouse" teach him?

I like "Mickey Mouse." It isn't annoying like other kiddie television shows and it has important lessons. It works with letters and numbers. It also has nice music which is great for vocabulary development. My husband and I talk to Ty about what he sees.

The characters aren't bad either. Donald is the young grump, Goofy is the original funny guy, Pluto is the loyal companion, and of course Mickey is Mr. Popular and the leader of it all. Minnie and Daisy wear high heels and bows. Yep. They giggle too. Yep. I can't think of any distinguishing characteristics those female characters have. Can anyone think of the type of characters these two ladies are, creative or specific? I can't. This led to me wondering...

What do Disney writers think? That it is fine to form well-developed male characters but not to distribute to females any defining, specific, or wonderful characteristics? I wonder why their male counterparts are so interesting. I wonder why the writers did this. Was it intentional? (If it was unintentional, I wonder about Disney, which doesn't sound realistic to me. That business seems to know what is going on). Donald walks around, offensive and grumpy. Goofy has smelly feet and a poor diet. Minnie and Daisy? They are pretty unoffensive. They don't even need to offend--they just need personalities.

I wonder what my little boy thinks of this. Does he think that it is fine for girls not to have defining personality traits? Does he think that all females should be cute cookie-cutters with pretty outfits, bows, and high heels? If he doesn't, will he?

And worse (maybe just as bad, I don't know which is worse), I wonder if my little girl thinks she is supposed to be very standard, very run of the mill, very middle of the road, with nothing to distinguish herself from other females, aside from the color of bow she wears? I wonder if she will think that her darling personality is too bold, too boisterous, or too silly.

Just wondering.