Here's a confession followed by a rant ...
Over the past year I've reconnected with my inner child by watching the Disney channel late at night. Yes, I'm 31 years old, but I've been a loyal Disney fan all my life. I unwind before bed with a cup of hot tea and an episode or two of Good Luck Charlie (my fave), Wizards of Waverly Place (my second favorite), The Suite Life on Deck and Jessie (both are tied for third favorite!). When I watch these shows, I find myself whisked back to a time of innocence. It's sweet and refreshing.
Disney shows are great at sprinkling in a dose of morality and I think each episode is a great learning tool for kids and teens, which is why I was so horrified by a particular episode of Jessie. *I want to preface this by letting you know that I'm usually not easily offended.
In season 2, episode 10 (Jessie's Big Break), there is a rape culture joke made by the youngest cast member. The premise is that adorable little Zuri sneaks her pet zebra, "Zebey", into her family's penthouse. The butler just so happens to be wearing zebra print pajamas and the zebra chases after him and lands him in a compromising position, to which Zuri says "Dressed like that, you were asking for it."
Wait, what??? If you watch the clip above (start at 1:08), you will see that the poor butler is found lying on a table, flat on his stomach, with the zebra licking him. An 8 year just said that he was asking for it because of his outfit! How is that okay?
To a young child watching at home, they will likely assume that the zebra simply chased after what it presumed to be one of its own. Innocent enough. But what about the older kids? I wonder how many of them just learned that if someone forces themselves on you, it very well might be your fault.
To some, my line of thinking may seem convoluted. Remember, though, that children hear everything. They're smarter than adults give them credit for. Disney has a responsibility to their young viewers, and allowing a disrespectful line like that to be slipped into a script is absolutely irresponsible.
Stepping down from my soapbox now.
Coming up next: "Things you've learned that school won't teach you."