His & Hers TV TV Channels, Video Games, and Internet Sites Zero in on Girls and Boys

By Gloria Goodale, Arts and culture correspondent of The Christian Science | The Christian Science Monitor, September 24, 1999 | Go to article overview

His & Hers TV TV Channels, Video Games, and Internet Sites Zero in on Girls and Boys


Gloria Goodale, Arts and culture correspondent of The Christian Science, The Christian Science Monitor


Check out these blanket statements: Boys like toy trucks, and girls like dolls. Right? Sometimes.

Or how's this: Men like sports, and women like emotional dramas. If you're a football widow, the former is a no-brainer. If you're a baby-boomer parent whose heart lies with gender-neutral child raising, both of these unsettling cultural stereotypes may cause you more than a bit of consternation.

The success of books such as John Gray's "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" suggests that gender-based cultural differences are at least back in vogue, if not always scientifically provable.

This growing emphasis on differences between the sexes raises the obvious possibility of commercial exploitation. Ever eager for a new demographic vein to mine, the electronic media are moving in with gusto.

Fox Family Channel premires the girlzChannel and the boyzChannel Oct. 31. Oxygen Media launches yet another women's cable channel Feb. 2 (or on 02-02-2000). Meanwhile, dozens of Web sites like www.Smartgirl.com and www.bChannel.com and www.gChannel.com (companions to the boyzChannel and girlzChannel), are targeting separate gender markets.

Original programming will include "bringing up boys" and "guiding girls," two half-hour programs for parents and children of each sex. Half-hour magazine-style shows such as "girlzopoliz" and "boyzopolis" will also deal with gender issues.

A parenting show called "Parentz101," features a companion Web site, parentzchannel.com. The channels will also feature a two-hour prime-time parenting block and a three-hour preschool block during the day.

Video games for girls

The video-game industry, long a bastion of boy-heavy marketing, is discovering girls with items such as the vast line of Barbie titles and the latest hit from Sony PlayStation, "Um Jammer Lammy," about a girls' rock band.

This rush to exploit the differences raises questions in the minds of many parents and media observers about what happens when the marketplace emphasizes differences rather than common interests.

The answer, say a wide range of industry analysts, media professionals, and watchdog organizations, is far from clear. But one thing is clear - the stakes are much higher when it comes to targeting children than adults.

"If everybody had their girls' and boys' channels," says longtime children's activist Peggy Charren, founder of the now-disbanded Action for Children's Television advocacy group, "it would be a disaster."

Picture a library with every book shelved under the heading boys' or girls' literature, Ms. Charren suggests.

"What kind of library would that be? We'd fire the librarian." Where, she asks, would you put the classics, books such as "Charlotte's Web" or "Stuart Little," by E.B. White, or any work by Charles Dickens or Marcel Proust?

"This is a return to an old, stereotyped idea that's sort of sad," she says, referring to the notion that certain content is appropriate for a boy and not a girl and vice versa.

Experts in the field of child development suggest the issue is more complicated than what they call "politically motivated interpretations" would allow.

"I had a practice in Cambridge, Mass., with all these intellectuals ... in the '60s," says T. Berry Brazelton, a renowned pediatrician who will host a parenting show on the new Fox Family channels.

"We were trying to make girls and boys just alike," Dr. Brazelton recalls with a laugh, suggesting that the very premise created as many problems as it solved.

"I knew it was going to fail, because at birth, girl babies and boy babies are significantly different in two respects," he says.

The first area relates to motor behavior. "It's not just that there's more motor behavior in a boy," he says, "but it's more vigorous and the boy obviously gets more satisfaction out of this vigorous behavior.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

His & Hers TV TV Channels, Video Games, and Internet Sites Zero in on Girls and Boys
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.