05 March 2012

Sex/Gender socialization

This morning, Pop had an educational evaluation, an ongoing thing with him. Several things stood out to me: the examiner didn't give him enough time to look at everything before answering, for; in some cases, there were several correct answers, but only one was acceptable. But what really struck me is that he was expected to look at three pictures and identify in which one there was a girl on the stairs. The difference between the boys and the girls was interesting. The girls always had long hair, always wore pink, usually wore dresses, and often had a bow in their hair. No bloody wonder he thinks Snap is a boy. Short hair, dark clothes.

This is a test given to a three-year-old. They seriously expect preschoolers to have learned gender stereotypes by now. And no wonder given how they're fed to the kids. Toys are so gender specific it's ridiculous. I momentarily felt bad taking my boys out of the Barbie aisle. Until I remembered that I used to take Snap out of it too, and didn't let her have any of those blasted things until she got one at a birthday party.

And TV... oh my. Bubble Guppies is on my screen right now, and the girl guppie (who is a mermaid with a bikini top on) has pink hair. Long of course. The mermen have short hair (blue or orange) and don't wear tops. And in most of the shows aimed to preschoolers, the main character is a boy.

This is Treehouse's lineup from 8-5.. I've bolded the shows that don't have a male main character and italicized the ones that are geared to girls, or have a single female main character (i.e. bold, but not italics are gender neutral) Asterisks denote shows with no female characters, or only one peripheral - like a Mom :

08:00 AM Caillou
08:25 AM  This is Emily Yeung
08:30 AM  Rolie Polie Olie
09:00 AM  Guess With Jess
09:15 AM  Bob the Builder
09:30 AM  Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs *
09:45 AM  Thomas & Friends *
10:00 AM  Cat in the Hat
10:30 AM  Toopy & Binoo *
11:00 AM  Max & Ruby
11:30 AM  Rolie Polie Olie
12:00 PM  3rd & Bird
12:10 PM  WotWots, The
12:20 PM  Noddy in Toyland
12:30 PM  Toopy & Binoo *
01:00 PM  Caillou
01:30 PM  Cat in the Hat
02:00 PM  Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps
02:15 PM  Olivia
02:30 PM  Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs *
02:45 PM  Thomas & Friends * (exception, episodes about Emily who is bossy and likes to tell everyone what to do)
03:00 PM  Play With Me Sesame
03:30 PM  Yo Gabba Gabba
04:00 PM  Wiggles, The
04:30 PM  Chuggington
04:45 PM  Fireman Sam *
05:00 PM  Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs * (maybe one of the dinos is a girl. Not sure.)

I almost starred Caillou and Rolie Polie Olie because they have a Mom and little sister only. On Max and Ruby, Max always outsmarts Ruby.

Of the 4 shows with female characters, one is a ballerina, one is a 5 minute show (which is a rip-off of This is Daniel Cook), I don't know what Guess with Jess is offhand (PBS has SuperWhy! on at that time, and he loves Super Why!  - another male main character, two females, and one of them is a princess). Olivia is a pretty cool show about a family of pigs. Olivia is a decent female character.

And then, to top it all off, of the truly gender neutral shows, Yo Gabba Gabba and The Wiggles and The Wot Wots are so unbearable to most parents it's utterly painful to have them on. Most parents also hate Caillou, though I don't mind him. He's whiny, oh yes, he's whiny, and his parents are so perfect it's truly annoying. But hell, I figure if he's that whiny with those parents? It's no wonder mine are like they are. :)

I'll do PBS's and CBC's morning lineup another day.

(First person to tell me to shut off the damn tv gets one or more autistic kids dumped into their living room for a few days. Glutened. While you have a headache.)