Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Reaction to Let’s Play on Ceebeebies

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

So my kid discovered this show on YouTube a couple days ago. It’s kinda cool. It is called Let’s Play, where each episode is a role play of a particular identity or job (e.g. this episode on Race Car Drivers). The two main actors, Rebecca and Sid (black British) are cute. At the start of each episode, one of them gets chosen to take on the role, and then they discover what it will be. We learn a bit about the role and they use that new knowledge throughout the episode. The other actor puts on various disguises and plays different roles, but not as themselves (so not named Sid or Rebecca). 

So I noticed something almost consistently. Almost all the traditionally male roles end up being done by Rebecca. She’s the mechanic, the doctor (ok this one really shouldn’t be traditionally male so much, but people still do), race car driver, even knight! So that’s kind of cool.

But here’s the other thing: why do they do this thing at the beginning where they do this skit/song “let it be me” (as in let it be my turn to role play) and one of them gets chosen? Why is it a competition and not both of them taking a role? They both act anyway…

I noticed my kid doing something. As soon as she realizes the man (Sid) gets chosen, she doesn’t wanna watch! She only wants to watch the ones where Rebecca gets the roles. Something about not liking to play with boys. Which is not something I raised in her, so I am guessing it’s a social thing that happens at school and such… I’ve noticed it before in her language, but not in her behavior… She plays just fine with boys, usually. So I guess I will have to spend time reminding her of all the boys she enjoys playing with. And then regret this when she reaches her teens haha 🙂

So.. To recap, Educational show, defies gender stereotypes, but has unnecessary/inexplicable element of Black male/white female competition that’s affecting my child’s viewing experience! Why do they do this?

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