December 10, 2009
...whether or not people like this realize that there are a lot of people pointing at them and laughing at what they consider big, scary-important issues:
If you thought the television tales about Thomas the Tank Engine were merely light-hearted fun, think again.The most hilarious thing about this is that Professor Wilton probably has no fucking idea that she's just turned herself into the flipside of the "Oh mah Gawd, one of them Teletubbies is A GAY!!!" coin. Although, if someone were to point that out to her, I'm sure she'd have a perfectly rational explanation for why her hyperventilating about hidden messages in a British childrens' show is completely different. Yeah.
In fact, they portray a world blighted by a 'conservative political ideology' and a rigid class system which stifles self-expression. And they are sexist.
That, at least, is the view of a female academic who took the trouble to analyse 23 episodes of the programme inspired by the books of the Rev W V Awdry.According to Professor Shauna Wilton, women are under-represented in the stories and what few female characters there are tend to have 'secondary' roles or be bossy.
What's more, she has warned that such negative messages about society subconsciously gleaned from the show might even drive its young fans off the rails in later life.
The learned professor was inspired to carry out her study after watching Thomas videos with her three-year-old daughter. While the child was enthralled, her mother was dismayed.
And now, for the less amusing, but sadly inevitable conclusion to this episode...
Professor Wilton, from the department of political sciences at Alberta University, Canada, wants tighter controls on what is broadcast-to children.And who better to determine what kind of messages die Kinder the children should be receiving through the media than, well, Professor Wilton and some like-minded pals? I mean, they know best, right? The world outlook of our kiddies hangs in the balance, people!
She said: 'We tend to think of children's TV shows as neutral and safe, but they still carry messages.
'Eventually these children will attain full political citizenship, and the opinions and world outlook they develop now, partially influencedby shows like Thomas, are part of that process.'
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