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Word Girl vs GendergapGirl

"WordGirl" is, as PBS describes it, "a new animated series that follows the every day life and superhero adventures of WordGirl as she fights crime and enriches vocabulary usage, all in a day’s work. " What's not to like you say?

Well as they often do, the folks from The Language Log , have a different and thought providing take. Here is what they have to say about "WordGirl" or, as they call her, GendergapGirl.

"WordGirl is presented as the champion of English as a literary language. Her super-enemies are almost all adult males, including especially The Butcher, complete with deep voice, five-o'clock shadow, male pattern baldness, and stereotypical working-class accent. So I wonder: how long will it take, after the pilot airs at 4:30 this afternoon, before the first schoolboy with an interest in reading and writing is nicknamed "WordGirl" by his classmates? My bet is on the morning recess at school tomorrow, in those areas where the schools are already in session."

Mark Lieberman goes on to say "If it's not clear to you why WordGirl is any way problematic, try to imagine the reaction to a show where MathBoy defends the world against villains like Ms. BadAd, a PR consultant who doesn't understand percentages, and CheckoutGirl, who is too dim to make change correctly."

It is an interesting piece, you may want to take a look at it.


I seem to remember that when I was little Square One on PBS had a bit called "MathMan," so it has been done before...

Um, hate to ruin your fun conspiracy theory, but one of the super enemies is a granny. And WG's sidekick is male. As is her best friend the reporter.

Thanks Mom in Iowa. You both renewed my faith in PBS and reminded me that I should always check the original source. I'm off to watch Word Girl.

My daughter is in 1st grade and my experience is that most children her age aren't watching a lot of PBS/educational television anymore anyway. The girls are watching the Disney Channel and the boys are watching Cartoon Network -- and they're all watching commercials. In pre-K, when my daughter was 4, the other kids made fun of her for liking "baby shows" like Sesame Street and Clifford! Now *that's* something to get steamed about!

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