Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation before the V-Chip (Console-ing Passions) [Paperback] Review

Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation before the V-Chip [Paperback]If you are interested in the topic of children and the media, this is an important book to read. You'll learn about the regulatory politics and tv production practices that gave rise to classic children's tv shows like Sesame Street, Strawberry Shortcake, and GI Joe--and that have continued to influence the content of children's tv in important (and often deeply problematic) ways. It is a serious read, but well written and compelling. I have used chapters from the book in classes I've taught (university level) on children and the media, and the discussions that have followed (about deregulation, commercialism, gender, cultural imperialism...) have been very lively. In many cases, students have continued to refer back to concepts raised in the book throughout the course.

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Product Description:
Many parents, politicians, and activists agree that there's too much violence and not enough education on children's television. Current solutions range from the legislative (the Children's Television Act of 1990) to the technological (the V-chip). Saturday Morning Censors examines the history of adults' attempts to safeguard children from the violence, sexism, racism, and commercialism on television since the 1950s. By focusing on what censorship and regulation are and how they work-rather than on whether they should exist-Heather Hendershot shows how adults use these processes to reinforce their own ideas about childhood innocence.
Drawing on archival studio material, interviews with censors and animators, and social science research, Hendershot analyzes media activist strategies, sexism and racism at the level of cartoon manufacture, and the product-linked cartoons of the 1980s, such as Strawberry Shortcake and Transformers. But in order to more fully examine adult reception of children's TV, she also discusses "good" programs like Sesame Street and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Providing valuable historical context for debates surrounding such current issues as the V-chip and the banning of Power Rangers toys in elementary schools, Saturday Morning Censors demonstrates how censorship can reveal more fears than it hides.
Saturday Morning Censors will appeal to educators, parents, and media activists, as well as to those in cultural studies, television studies, gender studies, and American social history.

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