Tough Cartoon Conversations

My sweet little angel came back from grandma and grandpa’s house proclaiming her love for Powerpuff girls. In the last 6 years I’ve watched my share of mind-numbing cartoons, most with female characters that make me want to shove a pencil in my eye and swirl it around in my brain.  Powerpuff girls has 3 female superheros, so I thought, what could be so bad?

In case you aren’t familiar, here is a classic depiction of the three little world-saving wonders:

Credit:  Cartoon Network

Credit: Cartoon Network

Notice anything? …   I’ll give you a moment.

I try to run all of the media Maria is exposed to through the same scrutiny:  Does it include a diversity of characters, including diversity of race and family structure? How are the female characters depicted?  I’d like to say I’m looking for shows with a good message, but to be honest, I’m content with something that isn’t psychologically damaging at this point.

Hopefully you were as uncomfortable by the lack of diversity in the trio of pro-feminist ass-kickers as I was.  And if you don’t think that matters, consider this conversation I had with my daughter recently.

Me:  Maria, is it important to have all kinds of superheros?

M:  yes.

Me:  Boy superheros and girl superheros?

M:  Of course, mommy.

Me:  What about superheros with dark skin and superheros with light skin?

M:  No.  Superheros should only have light skin.

This stopped me in my tracks.  But I can’t fix it unless I’m willing to own my part in it.  I’ve worked very hard to make sure Maria is exposed to a variety of races, religions, sexual orientations, and family structures.  But the world the media has built for her is one in which superheros are white.  It’s my responsibility to disrupt this.   I’ve got much more work to do.

8 Comments

  1. Captain Planet. X-men/Marvel/DC Comics I know there are others that portray a wider variety of characters, but I’m spacing

    Did you ask her why light skin? And PPG at least includes one of each hair color 😉

    On Saturday, July 23, 2016, Number Loving Beagle wrote:

    > Megan Schmidt posted: “My sweet little angel came back from grandma and > grandpa’s house proclaiming her love for Powerpuff girls. In the last 6 > years I’ve watched my share of mind-numbing cartoons, most with female > characters that make me want to shove a pencil in my eye and sw” >

  2. I think you are missing the point of the post.

    The point I take is that this is a vivid demonstration of how unconscious bias is passed down.

    Bias exists, even in a family with progressive values making deliberate efforts to recognize and reject racial stereotypes.

    The post bravely tells a story. Our job is to dig deep to try to understand ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s