The recent announcement of the SDCC-exclusive Jem doll (excuse me, “action figure”) is intriguing to me, as I have only recently begun watching the show, 30 years late.  When I was a young’n, Jem was “for girls” and no self-respecting Transformers fan would watch it.  Ironically, I find both the animation AND story of Jem to be superior to those first seasons of TF.  Having a girl child, I find myself fascinated by what she likes and doesn’t like in terms of her pop culture, and am at least a little bit pleased to find that her favorite shows aren’t clearly color-coded pink or blue to follow outdated expectations of gender.  She hates She-Ra, for example, as to her it’s nothing more than a girlified knockoff of He-Man, but enjoys several action-type shows without regard to whether they have male or female protagonists…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is truly, truly, truly outrageous, asking:
Have today’s kid shows and cartoons finally shed the Girl Show/Boy Show paradigm?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I’d say they have, but in the case of most kids’ show purveyors (especially Cartoon Network), it was done largely by not doing any “girl shows” at all for arcane toy-related reasons. Hopefully, they can learn from Korra that quality means more than plastic junk.

    • I had actually wondered that very thing when thinking about the shows the kid likes… There are some male protagonists, some nice ensembles (her favorite Power Rangers are Tommy from Dino Thunder/MMPR and Luka from Gokaiger) and Jem, which is pretty much an all-female cast in action-adventure/soap opera plots.

  2. I think shows today have characters that would be appealing to both. For example Ang, Katara in the Last Air bender, and Superboy, Miss Martian in Young Justice.

  3. Well, you no longer have Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, telling his female crew member to “go in the back and knit a sweater”

  4. I really couldn’t give an accurate assessment, as I was mostly a fan of “boys” shows growing up and even today, but I think that they have for the most part. Even just about 10 years ago you would still see a lot of split blocks of boys programs and girls programs, but now a lot of it seems geared to “everyone” as far as I can tell. At the very least, the lines are a little more overlapping/blurred together than they used to be.

    Look at Ben 10, clearly seems to be aimed at the boys market with the young male superhero lead character. However, more often than not, it is the smarts (or later the magic/alien powers) of his female cousin that helps him out of quite a lot of scrapes.

    I do still see a show that is clearly aimed at one gender or another, but it is less often than it used to be. I wish they’d had more shows like that when I was a kid, then maybe I wouldn’t have felt so awkward for being a fan of things like He-Man and Thundercats when the other girls were into My Little Pony and Care Bears back then.

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