If I might slightly bend the topic towards my specific interest… I have recently been trying to find kids tv shows for my 5 year old daughter to watch. As such, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to the representation and roles provided for girls/women in kids tv.
I’ve been doing two things, looking for current tv shows with heroic female characters, and thinking back over all the classic kids tv that I used to watch when I was young.
(Now, I’m a guy, so clearly my childhood tv shows were mainly for boys, and my tastes were much more for heroic battles, and it’s fair enough for a lot of girls shows to not be focused on that. I may also be missing some classic girls tv shows due to not having paid attention to them as a kid. )
So, basically, I’ve noticed a couple of things.
1 - There were and are relatively few shows centered around female characters compared to shows centered around male ones.
2 - The shows “for girls” tend to be very girl focused. Pink. Princesses. That kind of stuff. It is ok, of course, to have shows for girls that aren’t about heros and fighting…
3 - In 95% of shows where the main character could be of either sex, they are male. (That said, there are some situations where the main character is anthropomorphic and speaks in squeaks. I always assumed such characters were male… I wonder if girls assumed they were female?). But generally the cars, planes, trains, creatures seem to end up as male by default.
4 - There are a fair number of shows where there is one sidekick girl, or one girl in a team of 4/5 - but they are rarely presented as the main character / leader.
I find it interesting because, as a boy, growing up I was totally oblivious to how underrepresented girls were. I wonder how girls felt about it and what effect it had on them. I feel that video games are in a very similar situation, but with the additional effect that many females are sexualized more than they would be in kids tv shows.
From my memory: Dangermouse, Count Duckula, Duck Tales, Warner Bros Animations, Morph, Mask, Fraggle Rock, Inspector Gadget (?), Postman Pat, Superhero cartoons in general, etc…
Sidekicks: TMNT, Thundercats, Mike the Knight, Lunar Jim, Bob the builder,
With (main) girl heroes: She-Ra, My little pony (kinda), Powerpuff girls - that’s about it, really. Any ideas?