To coincide with Monday's 37th Sesame Street anniversary, Sesame Workshop has introduced the show's first new female Muppet in 13 years.
It's hard to believe that it's been so long since a new female character was added to the Sesame Street cast! Apparently the show's creative team has deliberately shied away from creating a new female character, because of the challenge of "finding female characters that make kids laugh, but not laugh at them as female stereotypes."
If Cookie Monster was a female character,” said Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer of the show, “she’d be accused of being anorexic or bulimic. There are a lot of things that come attached to female characters.” For example, said Deborah Aubert, associate director of national programs and training services at Girls, Inc., a nonprofit advocacy group. “It would be hard to have a female character with Elmo’s whimsy who didn’t also seem ditzy.”The new Muppet, Abby Cadabby, will be a fairy; a girly-girl with a strong point of view who is coping with being the new girl in town.
In the past the show has bent over backward to counteract stereotypes, with the tomboyish Zoe or the highly opinionated Elizabeth. “But political correctness hampers creativity,” Ms. Nealon said. “Abby Cadabby owns her own point of view, but she’s also comfortable with the fact that she likes wearing a dress, and as we’d tried to model strong female models, we neglected that piece of being a girl.” ...
As a newcomer eager to learn, the writers knew, she would provide the perfect opportunity for explanatory lessons. She would also provide a way to talk about female friendships (including “What does it mean to bring a girl into the group?,” Ms. Truglio said, and to show healthy models by which girls could resolve conflict).
The Lovely Mrs. Davis has compiled a huge list of posts related to Sesame Street and parents' fond recollections of their childhoods. She asked her readers the question "What television, music, movie or book from your childhood are you excited about sharing with your own children?", and received links to over 40 responses.
There are so many things from my childhood that I look forward to sharing with my future children. Children's books like Richard Scary, Dr. Seuss and Winnie The Pooh; classic children's programs like Disney movies, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and christmas specials; and so much music: Raffi, Fred Penner, Sharon Lois & Bram, and recent children's artists I've discovered (no Wiggles or Barney in my house if I can avoid it!).
Parent Hacks recently asked a similar question: "What are the books you loved as a child that you are looking forward to introducing your child to?" They got a ton of responses, including mine! I'm going to have to add to my children's book collection after reading the responses!
Building on the Sesame Street theme, my question for you today is: Which Sesame Street character was your favourite, and why? My favourite was, and still is, Grover. He's so cute and furry, if a little bit ditzy. His "near and far" skits cracked me up, as did his troubles with the waiter in the Italian restaruant. And I loved Super Grover. In fact, I had a Super Grover stuffed toy, and I remember my brother and I whipping him down the stairs over and over (not to hurt him, you understand, but because Super Grover always had trouble landing and always managed to crash into things!). Poor Grover!
Ahhh... the memories...
For more Sesame Street nostolgia, cleck out this archive of Sesame Street video clips on YouTube.