The other day i turned on the last few minutes of a “Full House” rerun, before “Max and Ruby.” (That’s right. My kid gets up so early that there aren’t even cartoons on Nickelodeon yet. She’s up with the insomniacs and third-shift convenience store workers who are just coming home with their breakfast of mountain dew and twinkies, ready to settle in for some 80’s sit-coms while they have their bedtime joint…)
Anyway, now she is enamored of those girls. I gotta say, I would never have thought “Full House” to be a PG-13, adult situations kind of show…but there it was. DJ handed the phone to Stephanie. Teasing ensued. “What are they doing, Mom?” “Talking on the phone,” i said. Her addendum–spoken in a very knowing, adult, and worldly tone–“They’re talking about girls and boys…” What?! You are 2! what do you know about girls and boys? What are those muppets singing about these days?
It could be worse, you say? I’m sure. I know it only gets much, much worse. Padded bikinis for 6-year-olds (yes, they make such a thing). Bratz dolls that are trademarked to look like skanks. Yes, they managed to out-slut Barbie (All-American, domesticated, unrealistic body image, skank). Hollister. Miley Cyrus. And then, once we are grown, commercials for cleaning products on t.v… Yes, this is what we looked forward to as young girls, that swiffer thing that gets allllll the dirt out of the corners! That woman holding the broom is who we all dreamed of becoming!
Women are blazing trails and embracing unique kinds of beauty and power every day–just as they have been for decades–in spite of the volume of cultural signals to the contrary. All hail Tina Fey, Beyonce, the bad-ass chic doctors on Grey’s Anatomy, Hillary Clinton, lady chemists (thanks, aunt bridget), and maybe even Lady Gaga. We were born this way–to be more than coming of age charicatures on nickelodeon–and everywhere you look, there is hope for our daughters to survive the over-sexed, under-challenged girl culture and grow up talking about more than just “girls and boys.”
Sorry to hate on Barbie. Also, not meaning to hate on “Full House.” It is so way better than enduring Dora before the coffee even perks. I can only hope that for every moment of worldly knowledge that arrives way too soon, i am there to help interpret and process–if not in person, then at least living in her teen-age brain in a way as obrusive and annoying as my own mother living in mine to this very day. Because, i’m telling you, Nickelodeon in the wee hours is Cinemax for preschoolers. Those Olsen twins never had a chance….