Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Elmo can make everything better... (well, almost)

As someone who went to bed very hopeful about Maine, waking up to contradictory headlines was not an easy thing. Assuming that many of you are in the same zombie-drone-combo state as myself, I figured a good googly-eyed, pick-me-up was in order. Here we go:

Today the beloved children's educational television show Sesame Street turned 40 (*necessary Count Von Count laugh: HA HA HA!*) While the show is most often recognized as one of the more adorably fluffy ways to learn about counting or sharing, it is its strong stance on social awareness and incredibly progressive approach to education that makes it special.

From its conception, Sesame Street made a point to not just teach, but show and normalize an urban, multi-racial environment that apparently did not exist in TVland at the time. I mean, with the time's popular shows like Lassie, Beverly Hillbillies, the Brady Bunch and I Dream of Jeannie, you'd never guess there was a Civil Rights Movement!

Subtly pushing an underlining of social consciousness along with the learning tools, the show intentionally included interracial couples, strong female figures (particularly after talks with NOW) and age-appropriate conversations about September 11th and Hurricane Katrina.

Even Big Bird's revealing of Snuffleupagus to the adults had a hidden message, as it proved to kids that parents will believe them if they tell secrets, a lesson aimed at any child viewer who had experienced or was experiencing sexual assault.

With guests like Ralph Nader, Michelle Obama, Oprah and Ray Charles, the show has grown to become an international staple; causing moms to publicly take out other moms for a Tickle Me Elmo during the Christmas of 1997 and more "mature" adults like myself to still get the warm and fuzzies.

In feminism and equality, I present to you these classic clips:

Jesse Jackson:

Feminism of Today: Girls of the World

Feminism of the past (although the message still applies): Women can be anything!

1 comment:

WendyM said...

I needed that. Thanks, Cori!