Groups Split on Inclusive 'Doc McStuffins' Storyline
By many accounts, Doc McStuffins has done some great work on the diversity front. The show features a young girl of color who is smart, ambitious and an all-around fantastic role model for kids everywhere.
But the team behind the popular children's show recently set foot into new territory where celebrating diversity is concerned. It aired an episode featuring a same-sex couple: Two moms enlisted the titular character's help during an emergency; the episode eventually saw them reunite with their children. The episode was important—a way to teach young viewers about tolerance; an opportunity for kids to see that not all families look the same; and a major win for same-sex parenting pairs and their children, who finally saw themselves represented on a major children's platform.
But unfortunately, not everyone saw it that way. One Million Moms, a group of mothers who "stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at [their] children," according to the group's web site, was particularly unhappy about this storyline. "Controversial topics and lifestyle choices should be left up to the parents to discuss and Disney Junior should not introduce this to young children," the group wrote in a post shared on its web site. "Just because an issue may be legal or because some are choosing a lifestyle doesn’t make it morally correct. Disney should stick to entertaining and providing family-friendly programming instead of pushing an agenda."
One Million Moms urged others to write to Disney and request they pull the episodes featuring the same-sex couple. The post also pointed out that the show's creator/executive producer, Chris Nee, is a lesbian herself (Portia DeRossi and Wanda Sykes, who voiced the two moms in the episode, are also gay). “I am a fan of Doc McStuffins, my kids watch the show. With this episode, they will see a family that looks like our family," Sykes told Pink News. "We’re two moms, and we have a boy and a girl, and it’s going to be very exciting for them to see our family represented. We’re a family, and families stick together.”
While One Million Moms may not have seen it this way, Nee understood how powerful it could be to show Doc McStuffins viewers that families come in all forms, and she enlisted two women who could tell this story authentically. By airing this episode, the show managed to normalize a familial set-up that's, well...normal. And we think that's pretty awesome.