Disney Channel morning line-up outshines PBS in female characters

Last week, we were on Spring break and staying at the house of a friend of mine up in Tahoe. The TV channels were different, and we found ourselves watching the Disney Channel in the morning. I was pleasantly surprised by it. Possibly, in part, because my expectations were so low. Or perhaps, because I was so disgusted and appalled by the domination of male protagonists on PBS, the “educational” station.

Here is what we watched: “Doc McStuffins.”


Dottie McStuffins is a six year old girl who wants to grow up to be a doctor like her mother. Her animal friends, 2 female and 2 male, help her out fixing and healing. How cool is that? Also, she’s African-American. Some stuff bugs me, like her purple glittery doctor’s bag along with various other pink and purpleness, but mostly, I love this show. Reel Girl rates Doc McStuffins ***HHH/ S***

Next up is “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.”


Obviously, Jake is the star. And, surprise, surprise, there are 2 main male characters to one female character. Not only that, the Minority Feisty is Pirate Princess. Gag. But, in every episode I saw, she had a big part, second to Jake, and she was smart, brave, and helped to save the day. Clearly, Princess Pirate’s power is safely circumscribed by pink and the more heroic Jake, but Reel Girl rates Jake and the Neverland Pirates ***H/SS***

And finally, “Princess Sofia.”


I was so dismayed when I heard about the debut of this supposedly Hispanic princess that Disney decided to make light-skinned and blue-eyed that I didn’t even blog about her. When I finally watched her last week, I liked her okay. The show surprised me in some ways. For example, the princesses had to design their “dream castle.” I groaned, dreading decorating tips. I was thrilled when Sofia said that in her castle, she wanted a laboratory for a Sorceress and a stable for flying ponies. My 4 year old daughter was pretty excited about that too. My main complaint with the show– as with the Barbie movies–is the look of the females. If we could just get them out of the puffy dresses that are so endlessly distracting, it might be a good show. Unfortunately, the way its stands, the message girls get (and boys about girls) is first and foremost, girls must look a certain way. Once you get the look down, adventures and exciting things might just happen to you. If you don’t look this way, you’re invisible, you don’t exist at all. Also, I HATE that demure, shy way she’s standing. Ugh. Reel Girl rates “Princess Sofia” ***H/SS***