December 29, 2011

Why I Love Sesame Street


I freaking LOVE Sesame Street. I loved it when I was a kid and now I DVR it for my own kid. We watch it together and while she’s learning to count with me and Elmo, my feminist heart is doing fist bumps with my feminist brain. And even when her attention span only gets her through the first five minutes, I can’t stop watching it. In the most recent episode I saw, actor Paul Rudd was playing a “storybook prince” who appeared every time Rosita, Abby and a penguin were confronted with a challenge during their game of Princess. In a last ditch effort to prove himself useful, he pulls out his trump card and, when that fails, a pity party ensues. If you have a few minutes, watch this clip.

Awesome, right? As a feminist, I love it when something on TV actually aligns with my value system and supports my parenting efforts. I also love when Sesame Street takes a dig at Disney. I don’t have to write about why feminists don’t enjoy Disney – the blogosphere has already taken care of that for me. I just can’t support its woman’s-worth-based-on-that-of-the-male-character stories. This isn't to say that kids who worship Disney princesses turn out to be rotten eggs or spoiled brats - just ask one my dear friends who's daughter has a trunk-full of princess costumes. Its all in the parenting. I like that Sesame Street has female characters who use logic, creativity and teamwork to get the job done, just as the male characters do. The messages of independence and girl-power are ones I can support and reinforce with real-life lessons at home. I love when Rosita asks, “How is kissing her feet going to get her out of the mailbox?” Duh Prince, your silly little kisses don’t save lives or get people out of sticky situations. Even puppets know that.
As an educator and a parent, I have a deep respect and appreciation for Sesame Street. I love that Sesame Street isn’t afraid to create episodes that incorporate ethics, emotions, respect, problem-solving, diversity, character, relationships, and tough social issues. Their crafty team of researchers, writers and puppeteers knock it out of the park every episode. Sesame Street has been on the air for over 40 years and has won more than 100 Emmy Awards.

6 comments:

E of the Darwin Girls said...

Is it all Disney movies or just princesses? Is it all princesses or just Disney princesses? What about a princess like Mulan?

I am going to respectfully disagree. Little E and I love to twirl and sing songs from Tangled. I feel like there are worse things she could be doing - like watching Spongebob SquarePants. That show can make you less intelligent in 24 minutes flat.

Now things like young adults shopping at Victoria's Secret and wearing makeup - that is going to get me fired up!

Thanks for sharing T.

E of the Darwin Girls said...

P.S. I love Sesame Street too. :)

T of The Darwin Girls said...

I totally agree with you on Spongebob. We once ruled out a day care provider solely on the fact that she occasionally let the kids watch that show.

I also agree with you that of all the terrible things a kid could be doing, watching princesses on tv is mild. It is mostly the classic Disney princesses that bother me - Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. I will say that Disney has been getting a little better with their female leads.

But for now, my kid watches just a little tv, and its gonna be Sesame Street for a while. She sure was having fun yesterday when C's daughter had her dressed in fairy wings and a tiara yesterday!

A of the Darwin Girls said...

I love Sesame Street. I love Disney and I love Disney because of this clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re-W2EdI_jg&feature=related

J of the Darwin Girls said...

T- thanks! I have started reading lots of blogs on this and related subjects... I want to raise my baby girl thinking she can be strong and do anything, and NOT to be insecure about her body, thinking stupid is cute, etc. How to do that when girls' clothing looks like teenagers' clothing and teens' clothing looks like sex workers' clothing, when the media is photoshopping every image, when Disney is creating female characters who are only valued for their beauty ... it just seems hard!

A of the Darwin Girls said...

Belle did rescue the Beast!

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