Monday, March 20, 2017

Core Post: Flava Dolls

Looking at a list of which shows were airing at the time these Flava dolls were “popular” does not really follow this idea of Nickelodeon promoting “girl power.”

A quick Google search shows that the selection of shows during this time includes there is a huge number of anthropomorphic animals (coming of age type of stuff) and these characters are primarily male.

Shows with girls, possibly in a more “girl power” light includes: Totally Spies, All That (?), Dora the Explorer, Power Rangers, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, My Life as a Teenage Robot, The Wild Thornberrys, As Told by Ginger, Rocket Power

But consider the representations of girls in these shows: most promote that you can be smart AND pretty/girly, or they are secondary, supporting characters struggling for heterosexual relationships, often surrounded by groups of male counterparts. If the girl is the star of the show, then a male character of some sort must accompany her. All of the examples I have listed follow this idea exactly.

So yes, I guess Nickelodeon was promoting “girl power” in 2003, but only as much as 60s/70s feminists were promoting equality. Both are problematic, especially where representations of class, race, etc. are concerned. In a way, the commercial for the Flava dolls is an accurate representation of Nickelodeon at this time period. 

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your empirical "instinct” to immediately look up and see what else was going on Nickelodeon at the time, and compare it to the sort of rhetorics and marketing they practiced in certain forums!

    And yeah, I find your comment about the promotion of the idea that girls can be pretty AND smart/powerful/etc as very relevant to the matter of gender politics and representation. It is indeed at the crossroads of many gender issues how girls’ looks/femininity/attractiveness often remains at the center of their representation even if narratives are supposed to point out their other potentials that have traditionally been downplayed or even straightforwardly denied.