Now I have more appreciation for why my Mom didn't let me watch Saturday morning cartoons and why our set was tuned to PBS all the time, rabbit ears and all. The study released yesterday by Dads and Daughters See Jane program reports that children's television still has far to go in bringing positive female characters or characters of color to the set.
The new report is based on data gathered from 1,034 showsacross 11 network, cable, and public broadcasting outlets for children's television programming. The report states that live action children's television shows have made strides in bringing equity in both gender and race, but that the rest of children's television (animated tv, G rated movies, etc) are still imbalanced, having a profound affect on young children, who can be heavy viewers of television.
Some of the research findings include:
Who's doing the talking:
Three quarters of all the single speaking characters were White
Gender stereotyping is alive and well:
Male characters are twice as likely to be portrayed as dumb and more likely to be portrayed as strong, funny or bad.
Female characters are more likely to be shown in the role of caregivers.
The report includes tips to help parents, caregivers, and educators help young children analyze what they are seeing on the screen. Check out the report and the suggestions here: http://www.seejane.org/pdfs/TV.disparity.pdf
I'm all for increased media literacy, but I'm wondering when (and who???) will actually change the content of what kids see on tv. Every child grows out of the live action programming (Barney, Sesame Street, etc) and moves onto the delicious lush world of animation. Who will make sure that the animated world promotes gender and racial equity?