This is a wonderful and amazing story. I am impressed both by your efforts and by his incredible response. Coincidentally, my mother did similar things when I was a little girl in the early 1970s. She was in the first throes of Second Wave feminism and she did three things. First, she wrote to Mr. Rogers(!) and told him that she loved his program and that I loved it, too, but that he often talked about boys and fathers and grandfathers, but he was leaving out girls, mothers, and grandmothers (or something. Sorry, it’s been a really long time.) He wrote back and thanked her for being so frank and for pointing out something that he was unconscious of doing. He said he was going to make a point of including both genders going forward.

Then she organized her local NOW group to start a letter writing campaign children’s textbook publishers about the lack of strong female characters in books. She was a Psychology professor and had studied children’s textbooks and found the overwhelming preponderance of people named or featured in the standard books were male. And when females were shown they were exclusively in roles that supported the men doing whatever they were doing or taking care of children. So no female doctors, leaders, police, scientists, etc. They actually got an audience with some publishers in New York and they went up there to present their findings and talk about what effect these depictions have on girls.

The last one was a letter writing campaign to Children’s Television Workshop about the lack of female characters on Sesame Street — not so much the adults, but the muppets and the featured children. And according to my mother (this seems incredible to me now) she got a meeting with Joan Ganz Cooney, one of the founders of CTW and co-creator of Sesame Street. My Mom and her cohort shared their concerns and apparently Joan Ganz Cooney was very receptive.

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Linguist, philosopher, lover of history, wordhound, 21 year New Yorker, searching for meaning in the universe

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