In revolutionary new ad, Target shows girls and boys playing “Star Wars” together

Just weeks after getting rid of gender-segregated toy aisles, Target put out an inspiring new ad showing girl and boy “Star Wars” fans playing together. Check it out.

YAY Target! THANK YOU. I did all of my back to school shopping at your store and will continue to shop the hell out of your chain whenever I need supplies for my children. I’ve got to admit, part of me can’t believe this blog post has to be written at all, that I feel the need to congratulate Target and express my gratitude, that my headline isn’t satire that belongs on The Onion. But sadly, as the mom of 3 daughters, I speak from endless personal experience of the rampant sexism in kidworld where gender equality is hardly allowed to exist even in our imaginations. Here’s a video where my youngest child, like many kids in America, was teased at preschool for wearing “boy shoes” in her case, “Star Wars” sneakers.

It’s kids like her who Target is helping now, because in spite of my daughter’s promise to keep wearing those shoes, and in spite of having a feminist mom, she was “choosing” “gender appropriate” footwear by kindergarten.

In May, I went on Fox News to support Amazon’s similar decision to drop gender categories from its toys. After I was intro-ed by an annoying gender police siren, I was told, as I’m so often told, that children just “pick “the toys they want. I’ve been repeatedly “informed” that girls are just born obsessed with how they look while boys who are denied toy weapons will bite their toast into the shapes of guns. That’s just how we are. As I told Fox News, in nicer words, we don’t have a fucking clue how we are.  Our brains are wired up based on actions we engage in, and these connections are never made more rapidly or elaborately than when we’re little kids. Why wouldn’t we want to expose our children to more stories, more experiences, more colors than pink?

When we live in a world dominated by sexist mass marketing, driven by male dominated narratives from the Bible to most of Hollywood’s movies to “great” literature and art mostly by men, where men and boys create and star the shows while females, if they exist at all, are usually sexualized and on the sidelines, there isn’t much free choice, especially not for kids. Women are half of the human population but make up just 15% of protagonists in Hollywood movies, 29% of all major characters, and 30% of all speaking characters. Outlets that sell toys like Target or Amazon still have a major stumbling block: Girls and women gone missing from most of the epics being marketed. We’ve got a long road ahead to create gender equality in the fantasy world and in the real one. I commend Target and Amazon on the important steps taken so far. I look forward to witnessing many more and hopefully the great day when Reel Girl becomes obsolete.

Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2014

See Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2013

Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2012

Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2011

The kick-ass women of ‘Sense8′ make it best new show on TV

Last night, after my husband and I finished watching the last episode of ‘Sense 8,’ I rushed to the computer, Googling the show to see when to expect season 2. Maybe never! Wait, what? According to Think Progress and other sources, the diverse show featuring eight characters from different countries around the world may not be appealing enough to white males. Main characters also include a trans woman and a gay man.

“Sense 8″ is visually stunning. Scenes represent places all over the world including Nairobi, Seoul, Mumbai, Reykjavik, and San Francisco. I live in San Francisco and the location scout nailed it. I’ve seen favorite places around town including Dolores Park, Twin Peaks, and Atlas Cafe. The opening sequence featuring cityscapes and landscapes is so gorgeous, my husband and I never get bored of watching, never fast forward the montage the way we usually do when we watch a series. The series is created by the Wachowski siblings of Matrix fame if that helps to explain the film quality.

The actors glow as vibrantly as the scenery. Whoever did the casting must’ve been looking for luminous. But what I love most about the show is watching the women in action. First there is Nomi who is transgender and like no other trans character I’ve seen on TV in that she happens to be trans. Unlike Sophia, played by Laverne Cox, on “Orange is the New Black,” Nomi isn’t passionate about hair or make-up. Her character doesn’t show concern with her appearance or her body, she just is. Nomi is a computer hacker and political blogger, totally in love with her girlfriend, Amanita.


I got into the show early on because of the relationship between Amanita and Nomi. Crazy shit was happening to Nomi. She was seeing things, talking to invisible people, and thinking she was crazy but at the same time, knowing she wasn’t. Surprising me, Amanita doesn’t flinch. She believes and supports Nomi 100%, bravely risking everything to support her lover’s truth and safety.

My favorite character in Sun. She is from Seoul, the daughter of a powerful man, practically invisible because she is female. Her loser brother gets all the coddling and adoration.


If you read Reel Girl, you know I’m not much interested in seeing sexist fantasy worlds. Been there, done that, live it every day. I’m much more interested in witnessing artists use their imaginations to create new ways of being. “Sense8″ delivers this scenario with all of its characters, but especially with Sun. In action scene after scene, she kicks-ass.Her facial expression often shows the submission expected by her culture and her fiery refusal to accept it.


Riley is a DJ from Iceland. I enjoy traveling all over the world while I watch the show, but Iceland is my favorite place to see. It’s different than anywhere I’ve ever been, and now I’m dying to go.


Kala is a pharmacist who can mix all kinds of chemical concoctions. She prays to Ganesha, is a Bollywood fan, and also struggles between being the woman her family expects her to be and taking the risks of being who she wants to become.

The male characters are also compelling. Capheus is from Nairobi, totally dedicated to his brave mom who is sick with HIV. His talent is driving, he can hotwire any car and make it go like a madman. Wolfgang is from Berlin, he’s a scrappy fighter with a big heart. He’s got a crush on Kala. Lito lives in Mexico City, he’s a sexy leading man who is also gay, in a loving relationship that’s tested by his fear of coming out. Will is a police officer from Chicago, haunted by an unsolved mystery from his past.

So what’s the show about? From the New Yorker:

The premise of “Sense8” is that Nomi, Lito, Wolfgang, and Will—along with four other “sensates” in Nairobi, Seoul, Mumbai, and Reykjavik—are telepathically linked. They are able to feel each other’s emotions, appear in each other’s minds, and even control each other’s bodies…

In sci-fi speak, “Sense8” is about transhumanism—the idea that in the future, as a species, we might become more than we are right now. Julian Huxley, the brother of Aldous, coined the term in a 1927 book called “Religion Without Revelation,” in which he wrote that transhumanism was “man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.”…

Really, though, the point of “Sense8” is to revel in the broadening of empathy—to fantasize about how in-tune with each other we could be. In its own, low-key way, therefore, “Sense8” is a critique of sci-fi. It asks whether, in tying our dreams about human transformation to fantasies of technological development, we might be making an error. The show suggests another path to transcendence: each other.

“Sense8″ has gotten some bad reviews for being cheesey and meandering. Maybe part of my love for the show is that I happen to be watching it at the perfect time in my life. I have a strong sense of how we are all connected, that humans are not objects/ subjects but verbs, constantly changing and transforming, affecting each other, magical. “Sense8″ depicts the highs, lows, and intensity of this feeling perfectly.  It’s funny because when I was a kid, I didn’t even read much fantasy. I was into Laura Ingalls because that was “real.” The older I get, the more I lose my cynicism and skepticism and believe in magic. “Sense8″ inspires me. I hope you watch it, and love it as much as I do.

Reel Girl rates “Sense8″ ***HHH***


Tucker Carlson, Jerry Garcia, and me

After I was on Fox News Saturday morning to discuss Amazon dropping its girl/ boy filters for toys and games many of you asked me about Tucker Carlson’s intro of me as his high school classmate. (I can’t figure out how to embed the video here, so if you’re more tech saavy than me, please post the link.)


Yes, it’s true! Tucker and I went the same boarding school, though I was expelled sophomore year. Tucker went on to marry the headmaster’s daughter in the school chapel. That pretty much epitomizes our differing experiences in prepland, his successful, mine not so much.


Here’s a blurry pic from the 80’s of us at a Grateful Dead concert. I’m in the front and Tucker is to the left wearing glasses. Jerry Garcia, looking rather skinny and two dimensional, is a cardboard cut out. Looking back on high school, I don’t know if Tucker was better behaved than me –I was suspended for smoking a cigarette in the dorm and then kicked out the following year for drinking or if he– like a lot of the kids who made it through boarding school– was just more skilled at giving the appearance of following all those seemingly endless rules.

If you watch the video, you can see I vehemently disagree with Tucker on Amazon’s decision– and most issues along with probably all of the other hosts on Fox News. Still, at least the network had me on to speak. I got a national platform to address about an issue I care about which is more than CNN or MSNBC has offered me recently.

I’ll leave one with one more nugget of prep school trivia. Julie Bowen, then known as Julie Luetkemeyer, the actress from “Modern Family” (and from kidworld “Planes: Fire and Rescue”) was in our class as well. As brilliant and beautiful then as now, she was probably the smartest kid in our class.


Finally, I didn’t get a chance to mention it in the 3.5 minutes I was on TV, but Amazon didn’t fully drop its filters. Read the details in my update here.




Aaron Paul of ‘Breaking Bad’ calls out toy store hypocrisy

While I’ve always loved Aaron Paul, I got giddy when I read his angry Tweet after Toys R Us got rid of its “Breaking Bad” action figures.

Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences' Performers Peer Group Cocktail Reception To Celebrate The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards

Paul Tweets:

Wait, so @ToysRUs pulled all of the Breaking Bad figures from their shelves and still sells Barbie? Hmmmm…I wonder what is more damaging


Do I think meth dealers should be sold in a toy store? No. But there are so many things I think shouldn’t be in toy stores like Monster High dolls and gender segregated LEGO sets where girls are sold dumbed down structures. I find it kind of amusing when people who never cared about the horribly sexist and racist stuff we market to little kids every single day, suddenly freak out, calling one item in the store dangerous. Their indignation reminds me of when Eminem got popular and middle aged men were so offended by his misogynistic lyrics. Had these newfound feminists ever listened to the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin?

Shopping in Walgreens the other day, I saw the action figure Michonne from “Walking Dead” in the toy aisle. I’m always on the lookout for female action figures and my husband is a huge fan of the show, so I bought Michonne for him and blogged about my purchase:

You probably know how rare it is to find a female action figure, not to mention a non-white female action figure, without her breasts popping out of her shirt, wearing pants even, just sitting there on a shelf in a store and not hiding out on some obscure internet site. Let’s just say she’s far rarer than the unicorn in fantasy figure world…Though, in theory, I’d rather my kids play with Michonne than Barbie, I wasn’t sure if I planned on letting them near her, when she comes with exotic weapons and also a couple severed heads. But when my daughter heard my husband’s joyful cry after he saw the package, I thought all was lost. My concern turned out to be unfounded. Not only did he tell her he’s not sharing, but he’s not even taking her out of the package. He’s worse than the evil dad in “The Lego Movie,” pre-epiphany.



Back again in Walgreens last week, I spotted the action figure of Daenerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones” in the toy aisle, another show my husband watches.


Though I liked GoT in many ways, it has so much rape, I couldn’t stick with it. When I saw Daenerys at Walgreens, I thought: Who are they marketing to? Surely kids don’t watch GoT? Do other women buy for these their husbands besides me? For themselves? (please, let me know) I have a feeling this “Game of Thrones” heroine will be in my house soon. I’ll buy her for my husband. If he releases her from the package, and the kids come across her, I will let them play with her, in spite of the rape fest of a show. I love the dragon on perched on her arm, and I think my children would use Daenerys to make up some incredible stories. Fingers crossed my husband buys me Jesse (I watched every episode of “Breaking Bad” cringing and biting my nails.) That is, if he can find a store that will sell the toy.


“The Honourable Woman” best new show on TV

I cannot procrastinate any longer blogging today except to tell you that you must watch “The Honourable Woman.” Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Nessa Stein, an Israeli businesswoman working towards peace with the Palestinians. Not only is Gyllenhaal amazing in the role, she is not a Minority Feisty.


Other great, complex, and well acted female characters in this series include Janet McTeer as Dame Julia Walsh, the head of MI6, the British intelligence agency.


Genevieve O’Reilly as Francis Persig, adviser to Nessa Stein:


Eve Best as Monica Chatwin, a British Foreign Office tactician working in Washington, D.C



Lubna Azabal as Atika Halibi, the Palestinian nanny to Nessa’s nieces.


Atika Halabi in The Honourable Woman

The filming is beautiful. Each shot is framed like a painting, so stylized it reminds me of Wes Anderson’s work.

One of my favorite lines by Dame Julia Walsh, the head of MI6, the British intelligence agency: “In a room full of pussies, I’m the only one with a vagina.”

The only downside is after watching this show, you realize nothing else on TV is nearly as good.

Reel Girl rates “The Honourable Woman” ***HHH***

Producer jokes about female protagonist, my 5 yr old responds to ‘Zelda’ sexism

Yesterday, the Mary Sue reported that “We Might be Getting a Lady-Led Zelda Game” due to the ambiguous comment by creator Eiji Aonuma about the protagonist: “No one explicitly said that that was Link.”

Guess what? Aonuma was just joking! HA HA HA. Isn’t he hilarious? Today, he corrects the dubious misinformation:

“Actually that comment I made jokingly,” he said. “It’s not that I said that it wasn’t Link. It’s that I never said that it was Link. It’s not really the same thing, but I can understand how it could be taken that way.

“It seems like it has kind of taken off where people are saying ‘oh it’s a female character’ and it just kind of grew. But my intent in saying that was humour. You know, you have to show Link when you create a trailer for a Zelda announcement.”


Because who would ever think that a game titled “Zelda” and a show titled “Zelda” would actually feature a female protagonist making the moves, taking the risks, and calling the shots at the center of the action? I, myself, made this same mistake when I let my 5 year old daughter watch “Zelda”  because I thought it was a female based spin off of the Mario Brothers. Silly me! Here’s her pissed off reaction:

Here’s the diamond she’s talking about:


I’m holding out from seeing the show or playing the game, or letting my kids do either again, until Zelda is actually in charge.

Women shown mentoring women on ‘Nashville’ revolutionary for TV

I love “Nashville.” It’s my favorite show on TV, and I watch it weekly with my husband (who is a musician) and my 10 year old daughter who is an aspiring musician.


I’ve blogged before about the reasons why this show is so great: female protagonist, female supporting roles, complex/ realistic relationships between women, women who are defined, first and foremost, by their professions not love interests, a 40 something woman in her career prime is lusted after by multiple hot men, and the music is great. But I have to do one more blog about this show, because after we watched it last night, I said to my husband, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a female mentor another female on TV.” I’m so used to seeing women  stereotyped and pitted against each other. It’s one of the reasons the whole Minority Feisty thing upsets me so much, females are continually isolated from each other– an old, effective tool for domination. I’m not saying women should stand in a circle and sing kumbaya. Not only is that boring, it’s not realistic. But in “Nashville,” you see women work through conflict and then come out on on other side in ways unpredicted and unexpected. It’s really inspiring to watch. If you didn’t know, Callie Khouri of “Thelma and Louise” fame writes the show. It’s great and I encourage you to watch it with your kids (I recommend for age 9 and up, if they know about sex. There are no graphic or long sex scenes but there are brief ones and sex is alluded to.)

Reel Girl rates “Nashville” ***HHH*** (up one H this season to highest heroine rating)

Damsel in distress in ‘Legend of Zelda’ irritates my 5 yr old daughter

My three kids see the Mario Brothers everywhere, but I dislike this pair of brothers for  obvious reasons (but pointed out so well by Anita Sarkeseesian in this video about the perpetual damsel in distress trope played by Princess Peach.) Last night, I decided to let my kids try the also highly advertised  “Legend of Zelda.” Both shows/ games are created by the same guy, Shigeru Miyamoto, and often appear together in marketing. Today, while I was making dinner, my 5 year old daughter went on rant about how disappointing “Zelda” was for her. One reason I created Reel Girl, to rate kids’ media for girl empowerment, is because titles can be so misleading to parents. I’m posting this video so that you can be more informed than I was. I’m listening to my daughter and staying away from “Legend of Zelda.” I hope you do too.

Just looked it up, here’s the diamond she’s talking about:


Reel Girl rates Legend of Zelda ***SS***

Sexed up Powerpuff Girls point to Cartoon Network’s girl problem

My three daughters, ages 4, 7, and 10, are huge fans of “The Powerpuff Girls.” They dress up and act out stories where they play Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup.


“Powerpuff Girls” is one of the few shows for little kids where multiple female protagonists work together to save the world, and they don’t wear revealing clothing.That may seem like a ridiculous description of a show, but the sexism in children’s media forced me to come up with my own version of the Bechdel test. The Magowan Test for Gender Bias in Children’s Media goes like this: At least two females who are friends go on an adventure and don’t wear revealing clothing. It’s scary how few shows made for kids manage to pass that simple test.

When it was announced last year that the Powerpuff Girls would be returning for a CGI special, we were thrilled. So, you can imagine my dismay when on The Mary Sue I saw this cover created by Cartoon Network and IDW for Powerpuff Girls #6.


I feel like crying when I look at this. I think I would cry if my kids saw it. How could CN sex up the “Powerpuff Girls?” It really pisses me off that after I went out of my way to introduce my children to these characters, CN exploits and distorts them.

The Mary Sue reports:

The brouhaha about the cover started when comics retailer Dennis Barger Jr., owner of Detroit’s Wonderworld Comics, called IDW out on Facebook for “taking grade school girls and sexualizing them as way older… they are wearing latex bondage wear mini dresses, which on an adult would be fine but on the effigies of children is very wrong… especially on an ALL AGES kids book marketed for children.”


Thank you Dennis Barger for not accepting this. If more comic book retailers and parents and teachers and doctors would say no, loudly and publicly, to sexualizing kids, instead of buying into this stuff, it might stop. But sadly, too many people do the opposite and act as if sexualized images of girls are just normal, which, tragically, they’ve become. Kids need to see images of girls that are not sexualized. It’s sad I had to create a blog to communicate this idea, that it’s radical and alternative while sexualizing kids is mainstream. Sexualized “make-overs” of female characters from children’s media include Merida, Dora, Strawberry Shortcake, and Queen Frostline. Yeah, this is how Candyland has changed since we were kids:


The Mary Sue reports that Dirk Woods, IDW’s VP of marketing responded to Barger with this statement:

That was actually a Cartoon Network mandated cover, by an artist of their choosing. I think they were thinking of it more along the lines of “female empowerment” than the kind of thing you guys are talking about, but certainly, we’re sensitive to the issues here. We love making comics for kids, and always want them to be appropriate. For what it’s worth, CN has been a great partner in that regard… I know an 8 year old and 10 year old really well, and always look at these kinds of things through their eyes… Half of the employees have kids here, and we pride ourselves in making comics they’ll enjoy and not give them a warped view of the world (except, you know, in a good way). Anyway, I certainly see your points, and we’ll be sensitive to these things, as I think we mostly have been.


First of all, I find it really annoying that Woods writes Cartoon Network was thinking about female empowerment as opposed to “the kind of thing you guys are talking about.” Like we’re the ones with the dirty minds here. Mr. Woods, the problem is not Barger and those who agree with them, but people who look at this sexed up image of the Powerpuff Girls and see nothing wrong with it.

Mr. Woods, you say you have two kids and that those you work with are sensitive to these issues, so let me explain the problem with seeing “female empowerment” in this version of the Powerpuff Girls you created. There’s a difference between sexualization and sexuality. Do you understand that? In her excellent book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, author Peggy Orenstein quotes Stephen Hinshaw:

Girls pushed to be sexy too soon can’t really understand what they’re doing…they may never learn to connect their performance to erotic feelings or intimacy. They learn how to act desirable, but not to desire, undermining, rather than promoting, healthy sexuality.

Does that make sense to you? Sexualization is about performance; it’s all about being desirable to others. That’s the image your Powerpuff Girls #6 cover projects. Sexuality, on the other hand, is about understanding and connecting to your own desire. Got it? Here’s a specific example that might make sense to you. Breasts are secondary sex characteristics, and, besides feeding babies, they exist to give women sexual pleasure. Implants, while they make breasts look a certain way, are often devoid of feeling for the woman. Do you see the difference?

But why do I even need to talk about sexuality versus sexualization in relation to the Powerpuff Girls, for goodness sake? That, in itself, is the problem.

After the protest, Cartoon Network decided to pull the cover and made this statement:

In conjunction with our licensing partners, Cartoon Network Enterprises from time to time works with the artist community to reimagine and reinterpret our brands using their talents and unique points of view.  This particular variant cover for The Powerpuff Girls #6 from IDW was done in the artist’s signature style and was intended to be released as a collectible item for comic book fans. We recognize some fans’ reaction to the cover and, as such, will no longer be releasing it at comic book shops.

Did I miss the apology? Because I don’t see it. It sounds to me like CN is shifting the blame to the artist which is ridiculous. Fault belongs with the network and not just because CN chose and paid for the image. The sexed up “Powerpuff Girls” are indicative of the Cartoon Network’s girl problem. CN is a channel for children and girls make up one half of the kid population, so why have female characters gone missing from CN shows?

In my count, 41 out of 47 shows on Cartoon Network feature male protagonists. I listed the shows and descriptions below. The stats get worse. Of those shows, 19 are titled for the male stars: Steven Universe, The Annoying Orange, Batman, Chowder, Courage, Dexter’s Labratory, Ed Edd and Eddy, Flapjack, Garfield, Generator Rex, Gumball, Gym Partner, Johnny Bravo, Johnny Test,Samurai Jack, Scaredy Squirrel, Sidekick, The Problem Solverz, and Uncle Grandpa. Just 4 shows feature a female character in the title. Of those, “Cow and Chicken” and “Billy and Mandy,” share the title with a male character. “Foster’s” is a show with a male protagonist, titled for the orphanage run by a woman. “Powerpuff Girls” is the only show on the Cartoon Network where girls star and get to be in the title without sharing it.

Instead of this pathetic non-apology, Cartoon Network ought to commit to creating and disseminating shows and games with powerful female protagonists. That’s what all of our kids desperately need to see.

Here’s my list of Cartoon Network’s shows:

Adventure Time Includes powerful female characters, but the protagonists are Finn and Jake. McDonalds sees fit to include no female “Adventure Time” characters in its giveaways.

Almost Naked Animals is described on Wikipedia:

A dog named Howie is the manager and leader of the cabana. Each episode follows Howie and his “misfit” crew having unusual adventures in the Banana Cabana.


Steven Universe is the first show created by a female. From Wiki:

It is produced by Cartoon Network Studios, and is the first show by the studio to be created by a woman.

While it features the Crystal Gems, intergalactic female warriors, the protagonist of his eponymous show is male.

The Annoying Orange stars the male orange and his BFF, a male pear (voiced by the same guy who created the show.)

Batman Need I say more?

Ben 10 Omniverse Even Wikipedia’s description seems hopped up on testosterone:


The series is the fourth installment in the Ben 10 franchise.[2] Man of Action (group consisting of Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, and Steven T. Seagle) created the franchise.


Beware the Batman Oh, look at that, just like the movies, we get multiple Batman shows.

Beyblade Shotgun Steel The protagonist is a male champion named Zero

Billy and Mandy This show looks promising, but how about calling it “Mandy and Billy” and not making Mandy wear pink?

Boomerang is cartoons from yesteryear now owned by the Turner Broadcasting System, and we all know how feminist those are. Actually, “Scooby-Doo,” “Pop-Eye,” and “Tom and Jerry” are pretty tame compared to “Bratz.” I have wondered since I was a kid, if Road Runner could be a female.

Camp Laszlo From Wikpedia: “The show features a Boy Scout-like summer camp”

Chowder From Wikipedia:  “The series follows an aspiring young chef named Chowder and his day-to-day adventures as an apprentice in Mung Daal’s catering company.”

Courage  Courage is a male dog. At least he’s a pink male dog.

Cow and Chicken CN’s second show with a female protag who is also in the title, and her name comes first, and that’s a first.

DC Nation based on DC Comics, no Wonder Woman included. Need I say more?

Dexter’s Labratory Dexter is the evil genius protag of his eponymous series

Dreamworks Dragons Based on the movie “How to Train Your Dragon” the protagonist is the male Hiccup.

Ed, Edd, N Eddy No, I did not make up this show and title to parody the male domination of Cartoon Network. It’s really a show, and yes, it really stars three males with the same name.

Flapjack Stars Flapjack and Cap’n K’nuckles, both male

Foster’s From Wikipedia:

The home is run by the elderly Madame Foster, its lovable, elderly founder; her imaginary friend Mr. Herriman, the strict rule-abider and business manager; and her 22-year old granddaughter Frankie, who handles day-to-day operations.

So that’s good, right? 2 females, their name in the title. But then, there’s this:

The series focuses on the escapades experienced by the mischievous Bloo, Mac, and the array of eccentric, colorful characters inhabiting Foster’s Home, or the obstacles with which they may be challenged.


Bloo is male. Mac is male. Oh, well.

The Garfield Show Cynical male cat stars in his eponymous show, don’t even need Wikipedia to write that.

Generator Rex Yet another Man of Action studios creation. Surprise, surprise, Rex is male.

Grojband Includes marginalized females and gender stereotyping, I would not let my kids near this show.

Grojband follows Corey and his three best friends, Laney and twin brothers Kin and Kon, as they work to propel their garage band to international stardom. When they don’t have the lyrics, Corey and his friends get Trina into an emotional diary mode to write lyrics in her diary, so that Corey and his friends can perform a perfect song.


Gumball The protagonist is gumball, a male cat

Gym Partner From Wikipedia:

A boy named Adam is expelled to a middle school established for anthropomorphic zoo animals due to a spelling error making his surname “Lion”. There, he is befriended by a mischievous, eccentric spider monkey named Jake


Hero 108 Looks like Commander ApeTrully is the protag, from Wikipedia:

The storyline in a typical episode follows a formula, although the formula varies and several episodes depart from it: Commander ApeTrully goes on a mission to the castle of an animal kingdom to make peace and ask its inhabitants to join Big Green, bringing a gift of gold as a token of goodwill.


Johnny Bravo Self explanatory right?

Johnny Test Wow, this is just like the Eddies…

Kids next Door Stars 5 kids, 3 boys, 2 girls

Legends of Chima There are several tribes, each has many more male characters than females and some have no females at all

Ninjago I count one female to multiple males. Maybe I missed one, but come on, this is ridiculous.

Pokemon Again, I count mostly male characters but I actually like Pokemon because the females I’ve seen are pretty strong. What about calling it “Pokewomon?” (Update: That was a joke, apparently some of you think I’m not up on my Japanese)

Powerpuff Girls YAY See what I mean?????

Redakai The protag is Ky, this show is all a father-son quest story about power and destiny

Regular Show Protags are a BFF blue jay and raccoon, both male

Samurai Jack No explanation needed

Scaredy Squirell BFF squirrel and skunk, both male

Secret Mountain Fort Awesome About 5 monsters, all 5 are male, I kid you not.

Secret Saturdays stars Zak Saturday

Sidekick You’d think at least this could be about a female, right? But, no.

Teen Titans 3 males, 2 females. Hey CN, what about having females outnumber males in an ensemble cast?

Teen Titans Go See above

Tenkai Knights Multiple knights and unless I’m missing something, all male.

The Problem Solverz They are Alfe, Roba, and Horace, all male

Time Squad Stars Otto and features practically all male cast

Uncle Grandpa Self-explanatory, right?

Young Justice Invasion An adaptation of the DC universe with a focus on young superheroes and just as sexist in the character make up (Update: Commenters tell me YJ has adapted to have an equal number of female and male characters)

Follow up post: Cartoon Network’s history of sexism: cancelling shows for featuring too many girls

‘Peg + Cat’ makes TV history in my house

Something just happened to me that has NEVER happened before.

My seven year old daughter is home sick today. Just before 9AM, I made her some toast, got her glass of water and blanket, plopped her in front of the TV, and turned on PBS. Randomly turned on PBS, mind you. I didn’t consult any menus, didn’t order anything On Demand, just turned on my TV to channel 9, and then something quite extraordinary happened. Across my TV screen, there was no Caillou, no Curious George, no Arthur or Clifford the Red Dog or any of the other male protagonists from the regular PBS early morning line up who I’ve blogged extensively about. Instead, there on my TV, in early morning prime sick kid hours, there was a female protagonist! A red-haired girl, and– this is truly breaking news: the series is titled for her. This new series is called “Peg and the Cat.”


I had heard this show was coming out and posted about it on Reel Girl’s Facebook page. But, my experience with PBS shows starring girls like “WordGirl” or “Chole’s Closet” (the latter which is pretty heavy on rainbows, not to mention her adventures come from her clothes, how original for a girl) is that they are never on. I have to hunt them down. The reason that’s a problem is the inconvenience become an obstacle between kids and strong female characters. It keeps shows starring girls in the “special interest” category.

This episode of “Peg” begins with her cat stuck in a tree. Her cat is hilarious. My daughter was cracking up. I liked the cat, but being cynical, I was thinking: Girl star, girl in title of show, she’s going to be surrounded by males. But the next scene, was mind-blowing. To find help to get Cat down, Peg goes to her neighbor’s garage. In that garage were two neighbors: an African-American woman and an Asian woman. Do you realize what I’m writing heer? Three females, zero males, diversity, and they all shared the screen in an eponymous show about a female character– all this randomly turned on in my house in the morning hours.

You’re not going to believe it, but this story gets even better. Peg tells the neighbors that she needs help, and they try to give her a pink dress, which one of them happens to be making, then a tiara, and a bow. Now, if this scene had taken over the story,  I would’ve been annoyed. I’m tired of the trope where the strong girl rips off her restricting corset or her frilly dress, just like I am sick of the narrative where the strong princesses gets to decide who to marry. Why does marriage have to be an issue in the story at all? Who cares what she’s wearing? Does her outfit have to be a plot issue? Would it be for a male character? So though I liked Peg rejecting the dress, tiara, and bow, and found it charmingly meta, a female character refusing the gendered accoutrements always in cartoons, I prepared myself for Peg’s narrative now being dominated by a discussion of her appearance. However, I was wrong again. Peg moved on in 5 seconds to her original purpose of finding tools to rescue cat. There was no digression at all, not even a joke about her rejection of pink, tiaras, and bows. That may be a first for me to see on TV as well.

In the next scene, a male friend comes to help Peg and he is African-American. He assists but does not take over. He offers to catch Cat, Cat says no, and then Peg uses her tools to make Cat a slide to get down.

I am so excited about this show! I only saw one episode but it made history today in my house. I have a good feeling it will continue to.