Disney has made no secret of its intentions behind Disney XD, which probably stands for "XYs Delivered!". The boy bait continues with the premiere of its new animated series Kick Buttowski - Suburban Daredevil on Feb. 13, 2010. It's about an extraordinary kid from an ordinary suburb determined to become the world's greatest daredevil (Don't look for a Valentine's Day special!).
This show was formerly called "Kid Knievel". Before that, it might have been called "Bang Grunt Pow Explosion, Yeah!" (which might very well be a Japanese game show.)
Kick will undoubtedly raise many eyebrows, but it comes close to pandering, or worse. At its extreme, one might ask "Are shows like this reinforcing a stereotype about boys?"
While I don’t spoon-feed my kids a steady diet of the annoyingly earnest "Free to Be You and Me," I'm wary about characterizing boys in only two dimensions. When my son was five, we took him to a specialized grocery store that caters to contemporary and new age-y palates. The store also gives free balloons to kids. When my son requested a pink balloon, the manager balked and started pushing the blue one for reasons which have nothing to do with inventory. It's surprising when a store that proudly sells meatless meatballs gives serious consideration to the emasculating power of pink balloons!
I worry about kids' television affirming these messages and portraying leading boy characters as strong, athletic and fearless. Or, as obsessive fans of video games, pro sports, and/or the WWE. XD's current stars include hunky, crime-fighting video game hot shot Aaron Stone and teen skateboarders Zeke and Luther.
Boys will be boys, they say. Realistically and not stereotypically, that should mean letting them be whoever they are, whether their lives revolve around basketball, books, ballet or pink balloons. So why isn't art imitating accordingly?
Do you think Disney XD stereotypes boys? Chime in below!