In 1973, Playgirl was conceived as a female-friendly riposte to male-aimed porn magazines. The magazine ended up with a loyal readership…of gay men.
In 1998, Powerpuff Girls was launched as an action-focused cartoon that gave girls butt-kicking role models. By 2002, 70% of its TV audience was male.
More recently, girl-aimed My Little Pony attracted a rather odd male fanbase that disturbs Lauren Faust and almost everyone who works on the show. (I’m trying to find that Tara Strong twitter reply where she say something like “no, you can’t have sex with an animated horse”)
I think a lot of people who work in TV have the arrogant belief that they’re the shapers of public taste. When f*m*n*sts get involved, that manifests as ideas that media is brainwashing young girls, and that girls only play with Barbie because they we didn’t give them Gina Rinehart dolls, or something. If girls seem any different to boys, it’s the fault of TV shows and toy companies. We’ve gotta fix this right now. No more pink toys. No more girls shows that focus on romance.
All such attempts fail, but let’s assume the premise is correct. If young minds are malleable to such a degree, why stop there? We could easily be building a race of superhumans.
Lovable “slacker” characters should be banned from TV. Seriously. They’re clearly a bad influence. No more Homer Simpson or Beavis and Butthead. All TV characters should be type-A overachievers who go to church and never forget to call their mothers. We’ve got impressionable young brains watching this stuff, and we can’t allow them to be lead astray.
No more villains and crimes depicted on TV, either. Maybe we should have Batman putting the fear of God into people who pick their nose or chew with their mouth open. Obviously TV is the fount of all human behavior, so if we accomplish this we can eradicate crime in one generation. That was easier than I thought.
Obviously, humans have no biological limitations, it’s all cultural. TV has to teach kids to dream big. We should show crippled kids NBA matches, and triathlons. Maybe it will motivate them to be less crippled. It’s worth a try, surely.
(I’ve noticed though, that nobody gives much of a damn about negative stereotypes about boys. Nobody thinks Beavis and Butthead is a misandrist conspiracy to discourage boys from being ambitious. They flip shit when Barbie says “math is hard”, though. I agree with Barbie. Math is hard.)