I have, over my life, accumulated a few good friends - some of them female. And some of these female friends went on to marry and have daughters of their own. And some of them have complained to me at one point or other on the horrible example the media sets for their daughters. (My sister, for example, won't let her daughters watch any Disney cartoons because the heroines all count on a man to come and save them.) As the father of a beautiful young lady who watches television and movies, and I have to admit I just don't get it.
I became aware of this perspective in the late early nineties. Our female sex ed teacher berated us about... Dick and Jane books. Boy, did she hate those Dick and Jane books. See how the dog plays with the boy? See how the dog sleeps when the girl tells about the things she likes? Subliminal programing! The only problem is that these examples were from at least twenty years before any of us were born. I remember thinking... who honestly gives two shits? True, sexism did and does exist, but by the eighties anyone caught committing it anywhere near a school had their pants sued off of them.
Maybe it never seemed like a big deal because to me, the adult men on television had it much harder than the women. (The late great Issac Asimov said it much better than I in his essay, "Mr. Spock is Dreamy!") Almost every husband or father on television - Ralph Kramden, Al Bundy, Fred Flintstone, Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin - was an idiot whose wives' IQs at least doubled theirs (with, perhaps, the exception of Peg Bundy.) These wives would at best roll their eyes at their husbands' dreams, at worst, take delight in detailing their past failures. And boy did these men dream. And fail, always because of their own stupidity. Maybe that was the worst example of all - don't try, you'll fail, you'll fail, you'll fail.
So tell me your tales. Was there a time when something you saw in the media made you feel inadequate? I'm not talking about being angry about a show portraying (men, women, soldiers, librarians, cops, penguins) in a way you don't like, I'm talking about something you saw as a child - a character in a movie, TV show or book, that honestly made you feel bad because you didn't measure up to it.