Thomas the Tank Engine drives 'conservative political ideology'
Parents beware next train to status quo
Research by the University of Alberta has chillingly revealed that kids' TV show Thomas and Friends may be engendering a "conservative political ideology" in future generations - a repressive mindset which "punishes individual initiative, opposes critique and change, and relegates females to supportive roles".
Shauna Wilton and friends from the uni's Department of Social Sciences analysed 23 episodes of the programme, and noted that while it "conveys a number of positive political values such as tolerance, listening, communicating with others and contributing to the community", there is a dark side to Thomas the Tank Engine.
Wilton claimed that "storylines in several episodes that divided the characters into different social classes and punished those who tried to gain individual power". She said: "Any change is seen as disrupting the natural order of things."
Furthermore, "of 49 main characters listed in the show, only eight were female, reflecting a general trend among children's programming".
Wilton concluded: "We tend to think of children's TV shows as neutral and safe, but they still carry messages. Eventually these children will attain full political citizenship, and the opinions and world outlook they develop now, partially influenced by shows like Thomas and Friends, are part of that process."
Wilton's findings, presented earlier this year to the Canadian Political Science Association, will doubtless add to a growing sense of unease among parents following the news that Disney, among others, punts "strictly heterosexual values" to wide-eyed kiddies.
Those among you with sprogs who wish to raise gay radicals are accordingly advised to avoid animated steam engines and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. ®
Look at the context, please.
In the traditional Rev W. Awdry books of the 50s and 60s, there is a clear gender divide between male engines and female coaches. It was the attitude of the day, and it's worth noting that the engines treated the coaches like ladies, got in trouble if they mistreated them, took the blame for their misdeeds and so on. In the modern, made for TV stories, female engines have already been introduced to reflect modern attitudes so the point they're making has already been addressed, unless they want to either re-write some of the classics of childrens literature or have an episode where Gordon and Henry go in for a very special type of rebuild...
With the status quo argument, the books reflect when they were written. Those from the 1950s were very cosy and establishment, where everyone worked hard and respected the Controller, Sir Topham Hat. Those from the 1960s dealt with things like prejudice (the arrival of diesels), gender equality (Daisy the railcar having to win the engines' respect) and even with the plight of the Jews in World War Two explained using BR's modernisation plan as a metaphor (Duck helping Oliver to escape the breakers yard).
Like some of the other commentards, I think the researchers should have done some research before writing their paper!
Oh Come on....
They are slandering a program made in the 1940's !!
Also what pisses me off is the fact the fat controller isnt called that anymore !!
seriously wtf oh yeah there might be a fat kid sitting there stuffing its face with a burger and gets depressed
Garr why does PC crap always boil my blood .....
if you dont like it dont watch it. if you dont agree with it dont let your kids watch it
Yes i have two kids myself.
What is a girl doing watching a program about trains anyway?
Thomas The Tank Engine is a Boys program. No wonder Shauna Wilton doesnt understand it. She should stick to watching programs about dolls and ponies, then she wont make a fool of herself.