The lack of same sex couples on children’s programs is finally getting to my 3 year old daughter. She is quite intelligent and always has been advanced. Walking at 9 months, trips to Disney while walking and talking through the park at 15 months and even beginning gymnastics when she was 16 months old. I had always figured that since she grew up with two moms, a pair of happily devoted uncles and many family friends that are “diverse” to say the least, that I wouldn’t have to try and convince her that not every child has a mom and a dad. Yes, there are plenty of heterosexual married couples within our family as well, but with thr amount of diversity we have I would never have expected to be struggling like I have been lately.
Despite my efforts to explain to her that a child’s parents do not always have to consist of a mom and a dad, her books, movies and cartoons say otherwise. I have even tried looking up cartoons that may have only made the internet cut and found a cartoon intro about a kid named Buddy G, but when it actually gets to the 2 moms part it pauses and runs in reverse. I will give some credit to the cartoon network for their attempts to insert same-sex couples into their programs, but their content is a bit too advanced and brief for my daughter to understand.
We do have our moments where she seems to understand that marriage and parenting can be a multitude of possibilities, but she always shoots one back at me asking why her disney princess idols are always coupled with “boys”. Some part of me feels responsible in that I haven’t gone out of my way to hunt for more books depicting 21st century families but another part of me feels like I shouldnt have to.
So what is the real fear here? What is the fear networks/parents have with programs depicting diverse content that could help children around the world feel better about themselves and their families? Help them feel more normal because they are normal? What isn’t normal to me is seeing an entire collection of well know children’s movies that consistently show at least 1 parent (if not both) dying in the first 30 minutes after the onsent of the movie. How can death be okay for a child to interpret but seeing a happy child with 2 moms be taboo? Are parents afraid that it will provoke questions from their child, questions they will have to answer? Do they believe that children will some how be influenced in thinking that being in a same-sex relationship is okay? Do parents think it will make their child gay? Are networks afraid of a lack of raitings? Backlash? Thier image? What is it!?
If anything I believe it will do nothing of the sort.. Remember, these children are growing up in a era where interracial familes, single parent familes, and even lesbian,bisexual, gay or transgender families are nothing to get bent out of shape about. So when parents think its a disservice to have 1 cartoon that depicts a family different from theirs, remember how many cartoons my daughter has to watch that depicts families different from hers.