I freaking LOVE Sesame Street. I loved it when I was a kid and now I DVR it for my own kid. We watch it together and while she’s learning to count with me and Elmo, my feminist heart is doing fist bumps with my feminist brain. And even when her attention span only gets her through the first five minutes, I can’t stop watching it. In the most recent episode I saw, actor Paul Rudd was playing a “storybook prince” who appeared every time Rosita, Abby and a penguin were confronted with a challenge during their game of Princess. In a last ditch effort to prove himself useful, he pulls out his trump card and, when that fails, a pity party ensues. If you have a few minutes, watch this clip.
Awesome, right? As a feminist, I love it when something on TV actually aligns with my value system and supports my parenting efforts. I also love when Sesame Street takes a dig at Disney. I don’t have to write about why feminists don’t enjoy Disney – the blogosphere has already taken care of that for me. I just can’t support its woman’s-worth-based-on-that-of-the-male-character stories. I like that Sesame Street has female characters who use logic, creativity and teamwork to get the job done, just as the male characters do. The messages of independence and girl-power are ones I can support and reinforce with real-life lessons at home. I love when Rosita asks, “How is kissing her feet going to get her out of the mailbox?” Duh Prince, your silly little kisses don’t save lives or get people out of sticky situations. Even puppets know that.
As an educator and a parent, I have a deep respect and appreciation for Sesame Street. I love that Sesame Street isn’t afraid to create episodes that incorporate ethics, emotions, respect, problem-solving, diversity, character, relationships, and tough social issues. Their crafty team of researchers, writers and puppeteers knock it out of the park every episode. Sesame Street has been on the air for over 40 years and has won more than 100 Emmy Awards.