Sunday mornings are my day to sleep in. I have trained my 9-year-old well, because she now brings me “breakfast” in bed, which means I have extra clean up to do afterwards – (worth it!)
I usually stay in bed, read the paper and maybe even watch a movie. By the time I decide to get up I am fully relaxed and ready to start the day.
So last Sunday, while searching for a morning movie I happened to stumble upon a rerun of “Batman”- the authentic original series that took place in the 60’s starring Adam West.
Ahhh…the good old days when TV was innocent and shows were as violent as simply flashing the words
”Kapow!!” and “Shazam!!!” during the fight scenes.
I grew up watching all those shows like Wonder Woman and the Bionic Man so when I saw that there was an episode of Batman I did not hesitate to ask my 9 year old to stay and watch it with me.
The premise of this particular episode was that the bad guys had placed electronic mice triggered with bombs all over Gotham City. Now, this was shot back in the 60’s, so special effects weren’t exactly what she is used to seeing today – we’re talking props like a rubber mouse that literally could be confused with a bar of ivory soap.
The episode concluded with Batman acting as a pied piper and together with Robin, they played their flutes while leading the mice to the outskirts of town.
So far it was still pretty innocent and simultaneously ridiculous but all par for the course for a 60’s TV show where the super hero’s wore Lycra tights.
But just then things took a turn…they then showed a scene where the policewomen at the police station were so terrified of these mice –albeit so evidently fake wind up toys you wouldn’t even want to win at a carnival – that they had to stand on their desk and ultimately faint at the sight of the electronic rodents.
At this point I was starting to regret my decision to invite my 9-year-old daughter to watch such a chauvinistic scene – but she didn’t seem bothered – she even giggled at the fight scenes. But toward the end when the police chief announced that –
“You just can’t send a woman to do a man’s job!’”–
well that was all my daughter had to hear. She immediately deemed Batman to be a sexist show and vowed to never watch another episode. (Besides, even SpongeBob has better fight scenes and Sandy the FEMALE Squirrel always kicks SpongeBob’s ass.)
I had to stop and think for a minute just how far we’ve come in the world of Hollywood and the depiction of female role models.
I have always been egalitarian and as I age I become even more feminist – I lead my life with high feminine self-esteem but now that I have daughters I realize more and more just how important –no essential- it is to lead by example and encourage them to have careers and be independent thinkers.
Old TV shows serve a very good purpose…. they offer the nostalgic effect that brings us back our childhood in heartwarming flashes – yet they also concrete what we already know – just how far we’ve come!