Unlike old T.V. shows, which teach children morals and to have tolerance, shows of today depict women as “things” and diminish their talents and capabilities, especially in reality shows. It seems as though every year, T.V. shows get even less intriguing. I’m sure many teenagers remember their favorite childhood shows, including Blue’s Clues, The Wild Thornberry’s, CatDog, The Rugrats and Arthur. These shows might not have taught us historical information, but the majority taught morals. Many of these shows also were not materialistic and taught children to accept different types of people (or animals!).
Take Blue’s Clues. Contrary to popular belief, the main character, Blue, is a girl, not a boy, which in itself teaches children to not make judgements about people (or animals) based on what they like or wear. Girls do not always wear pink, and boys do not always wear blue. The Wild Thornberry’s was about a family who travelled the world looking for animals to film, helping kids understand how to treat the environment. However, it seems the present generation is not being exposed to T.V. shows like these. Although PBS still plays many of these shows, young kids are not being introduced to them as older generations were, and as they grow up, T.V. shows will just get worse and worse.
The Learning Channel (TLC) is a popular station now trying to appeal to girls and women with shows like Toddlers & Tiaras, Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings and What Not to Wear. These shows are entertaining, but when we come down to the facts of it, many are absolutely not demonstrating appropriate behaviors. Toddlers & Tiaras teaches girls that it is best if they wear makeup and dresses that are too tight for them. It is one thing for parents to raise their daughters in excessive makeup and booty shorts, but to expose this to people across the world only makes it seem O.K for young girls to lose their innocence to a materialistic society. As shows like Toddlers & Tiaras air, women self-objectify, meaning they begin to consider themselves only as sexual objects. It seems like television executives go out of their way to create shows to demean women. It is difficult to find good T.V. shows now, for kids, teens and adults, but is it impossible? No. PBS shows Masterpiece production like Downton Abbey, which was first released in England and is now showing hour-long segments in the U.S. every Sunday. Downton Abbey takes place during WWI, and even though there is drama in the house, the majority of the second season surrounded the war. This allows viewers to enjoy watching fun parts of the show but at the same time learn about important incidents from that time period. Downton Abbey also exposes the women’s rights movement, and depicts it as a necessary movement for the countries around the world. However, in Toddlers & Tiaras, the only thing being exposed is a three-year-old’s stomach. The mainstream media should not tear women down. Instead, television shows should help promote women advancing in society, until men and women are total equals.