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There’s Very Little Gender Equality in Children’s Television

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If you, like me, are the proud owner of a toddler, then chances are you’ve had a bit too much time to think far too hard about the television shows on Nickelodeon, PBS Kids, etc.

And y’all…on the shows not specifically geared toward girls, where are all of the unique females? Where are the LGBTQ kids? Where are the kids who don’t fit in a bucket?

They’re not there. Far and away, these shows are still dominated by cis-gendered boys, even on the shows that claim to be gender-neutral. Sure, there are token girls (and minorities) in the supporting casts, but as the leads?

It’s just not happening.

There are shows “for girls,” like Doc McStuffins and Dora the Explorer, but on the shows like Paw Patrol, Blaze, P.J. Masks, Mickey, and others that claim to be “for everyone,” girls are always shuffled to the background.

It feels like we’re telling girls that in our world, the best they can hope for is to find a nice strong white guy to follow around.

There are token episodes offered, where Skye saves Adventure Bay for once or Starla takes the lead on Blaze, and shows like Bubble Guppies and Team Umizoomi do offer co-leads, one male and one female, but the message is pretty clear.

If this bothers you as it does me, make sure to play with your kids often, and to make sure that females get leading roles as often as males – and that any gendered child can play with any gendered character (my son loves his Minnie and Daisy undies!).

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Also, you can always model positive gender roles at home, with both partners sharing cooking, cleaning, lawn care, trash, and other duties that are sometimes assigned based on gender.

Something to think about, because it seems as if we’re going to need to be more intentional when we model and talk about gender with our kids – because Hollywood definitely isn’t interested in changing anytime soon.