[For those of you unfamiliar with Millicent, her introductory post is here.]
For good or ill, the Critter is a big fan of “Dora the Explorer.” While I’m not entirely on board with the show’s propensity to encourage viewers to shout out at the television, and then shout louder, it’s age-appropriate and fun and gestures in the direction of being educational. It’s not my favorite Nick Jr show (that would be the charming “Little Bill”), but I’m happy enough to let him watch it in reasonable amounts.
Anyhow, between shows the network will play promos for programs that air on regular, big-kid Nickelodeon. And one caught my disapproving eye the other day.
Over to you, Millicent.
“I am not a fool. I know that society does not share many or most of my views. While I lament that common sense and courtesy seem to hold less sway with every passing day, I choose to keep my lamentations to myself. It is pointless to do otherwise.
However, really… some things are just too appalling for silence. The other day, in the company of a small person, I happened to see one such thing. It was an advertisement for an animated cartoon program. While the audience for this cartoon is obviously meant to be children older than my viewing companion, it is also obviously meant for children all the same. Particularly female children.
The program in question is called ‘Winx Club,’ with some strange additional ‘Believix’ designation. I do not pretend to understand anything about it. It seems to involve fairies.
What caught my horrified eyes was the way in which the titular pixies were depicted and attired. The impertinent young man in whose brain I reside would describe them as ‘stacked,’ with voluminous bosoms and implausibly tiny waists. All were wearing cropped tops and some wee garment to cover their lower halves of a mini-skirt or ‘hot pant’ variety. Many wore stockings or footwear that extended to the mid-thigh.
They did not look like respectable young women. They looked like streetwalkers. Or rather, what streetwalkers would look like if they had gossamer wings.
It is true that I speak in ignorance, having never seen the program. It may be that one of these fairies does her magic work while simultaneously completing her master’s in mathematics at Bryn Mawr. Perhaps one flits between assignments in elf-land and delivering a well-received presentation at Davos. Who am I to say?
What I do feel compelled to say is that the message these images convey is shameful. While today’s woman is free to dress however she may please, I hope it is not ridiculously prudish to let little girls know that the overwhelming majority of today’s women do not make a habit of dressing in a sexually provocative manner at all times. That dressing in minute, tight micro-garments is generally reserved for attracting a certain kind of attention, and that cultivating a knack for attracting that kind of attention is best done when one has aged out of a desire to watch animated cartoon programs about fairies. That in reality women usually opt to dress such that they can sit down without (in the words of a savvy fashion expert) making the world their gynecologist.
One hopes the small person of my acquaintance will not take a liking to this show. The very thought of spending half an hour silently imploring the winged young ladies on the screen to put some bloody clothes on has me reaching for the port.”
So that’s this week’s two-part Question — 1) Is Millicent right? Are her pursed lips and knitted brows properly directed at these cartoons, with their scantily “clad” protagonists? Or should be all just accept that dressing like one of those “Slutty [Noun]” Halloween costumes is meet and proper for children’s programming these days? 2) What else makes you lament the eroding mores and morals of our great nation? What do you find inappropriate for children that is actually marketed to them, for Lord’s sake? What makes you feel tired, tired, tired just thinking about it?