Now Reading: Liv and Maddie: The Disney Show Encouraging Girls


Liv and Maddie: The Disney Show Encouraging Girls

August 19, 20179 min read

The first time I heard about the show, I instantly took an interest in it. Personally, as a girl that grew up enjoying great shows as Drake and Josh, That’s So Raven, Zoey 101, and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, I felt that kids’ TV nowadays was a lost cause… until I watched Liv and Maddie. It’s not only that it’s healthy fun for all ages, but that it discusses some very important issues young girls should be clarified about.

The show takes place in Steven’s Point, WI. It portrays two identical twins with very different lives. While Liv is a Hollywood singer and actress — a girl that loves fashion, loves doing her makeup and her hair, and loves singing, Maddie is all about basketball and does not care for “girly” kind of things.

1) “Beauty” is no more important than being comfortable: Maddie, unlike her sister Liv does not care about “dolling up” and prefers to be comfortable as proven by the times she did not accept to go to prom with high heels, instead went in her converse.

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2) It’s not okay for a girl to make less of herself, especially if it’s to make a boy feel better: In one of the episodes, Home Run-A-Rooney, while on a date on a baseball game, she pushes his date out of the way to catch the ball coming to their direction and gives it to him. Soon after this happened, the boy seems upset by this and Maddie, confused, asks help from his brother who tells her “sometimes you need to let the ones you love win”. Therefore, she takes him to the stadium again and surprises him with his favorite player, who will give him a chance to catch the ball while Maddie is not going to try to get it. But surprisingly, when the boy realizes she gave up, he makes sure to tell her the reason he was disappointed is because he wanted to get it for her, but that she should not change her competitive attitude, which is his favorite thing about her.

3) It’s not okay to treat women as objects and every girl is beautiful just as they are: On the episode “Rate-A-Rooney”, the sisters and her friends discover boys have been rating girls of the school based on their looks. They decide to protest against it by wearing garbage bags instead of clothes and paper bags on their faces as they want to confront the boys about what they did and when this does not work out and one of her girlfriends decides to change her look to please the boys, they feel defeated. But Liv – a famous singer and actress, decides to take a stand by composing a song to let girls know they are perfect as they are, which ultimately inspires her friend to get back to her true self.

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4) Girls can be discriminated against but they have to fight back: In the episode “Team-A-Rooney” when the principal of the school decides to give the old smelly uniforms from the male basketball team to the girls instead of getting new ones and cuts off the funding for the female basketball team because of their “unpopularity”, Maddie decides to speak up. They sell the school’s female basketball team bracelets to the whole school which not only gives them the money they need but helps show the principal that the basketball team was indeed supported by the school that gladly stood up for them.

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5) Gender does not affect your interest or abilities on anything: Maddie is the captain of the basketball team, she earned a scholarship for it, and is the holder of all PE school records plus is extremely competitive. Also, although she has two brothers she is the only athlete in the family, taking after her dad. When the school’s mascot, a “bad-ass” boy nicknamed “Dump Truck”, shows excitement for the victory of Maddie’s team, Maddie’s brother, laughing, asks him “Are you a fan of female basketball?”, and he says, very angry “It is not female basketball, it is basketball that happens to be played by females”. In “Roll Model-A-Rooney” , in Liv’s TV show, “Sing It Louder” there is going to be a girls vs boys race, therefore Liv tells one of the producers, Zach, that she thinks girls should win this time to what that boys will win again because girls are not into cars since it’s “science and engineering” to which he refers to as “boy stuff” and thinks boys will really enjoy the episode since they get to “reinforce their domination”. Later, he agrees that whoever wins in a real race, will win in the show too, but when it comes the time to get the cars, Zach gives the girls high heel shoes with wheels. They refuse to accept it, the instead build a car on their own and win the race. In the meantime, Maddie and her best friend try to beat a pepper eating challenge at a local restaurant only won by men before.

6) A female’s image shouldn’t be more important than her career: Finally, in “Ask Her More-A-Rooney” when Liv, next to her male co-star, gives a “Q and A” for their fans, a friend, Willow realizes that all the questions directed to her are in regard to her looks while the questions made to her co-star are regarding his career. Although Liv was used to it, she did admit that she wanted to get questions about her career, and not about her looks, even when she though love fashion. When she asks her mom for advise, her mom says, “She needs to change the conversation.” which gives Liv the guidance she needs on the red carpet. When reporters start to ask questions about her looks and ask questions about his part to his co-star, her co-star supports her and tells the reporters to ask her and not him on those matters but when they ignore this and keep making comments about Liv’s appearance, she, and another female actress, call out the reporters on the subject live on TV while they excuse themselves saying that’s “what the people want to know about” to what they respond “maybe that’s what you’re teaching them to expect”. After this, on the next interviews, girls show their appreciation to Liv’s words, she gets asked about her career and she sends the message “To everyone out there to change the conversation”.

Big changes in the world start with the kids — let movies and tv shows like Belle and The Bulldogs, Frozen, Maleficent, Brave, and Moana be the future of the big and the little screen.

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Carolina Ruiz

I was born to fight for my country's democracy and for women's equality.