This interview with Rachel Shukert on the cancellation of the Baby-Sitters Club is really good and really disappointing:
People are extremely uncomfortable with this period in girls’ lives. It seems to be the time of life that girls lose faith in themselves, and I think it’s because they don’t see representation of where they’re actually at. Girls are expected to go straight from Doc McStuffins to Euphoria. They’re not ready for TV about having sex, but they don’t want to be little girls. So who are they? It’s a really easy time for girls to define themselves solely by how they’re seen by other people and then you don’t get your sense of self back until you’re 35. What if you weren’t missing those 20 years?
What if you always got to be yourself and see yourself represented in a real way? And not have to be all about who thinks you’re pretty or who thinks you have the right clothes? Or how old they think you are or how old they think you look? The Baby-Sitters Club speaks to so many girls because it meets them where they are. It’s not about adults telling them who they are. It’s not really about boys, although they have crushes, which is a realistic part of life at that age.
There’s something about stories geared to this age that always felt like hindsight from adults, as opposed to what it actually feels like to be that age. What we could do with The Baby-Sitters Club was make the girls as smart and interesting and mature as girls are without making it all about how other people see them. It’s about how they see themselves.
I think female audiences are trained to not take their own stories as seriously. Stuff men were obsessed with when they were 9 is treated like Hamlet. How many Spider-Man movies are there? How many Star Wars? They tell it over and over again from different perspectives. That’s all fine, obviously. But what if someone treated something for girls that seriously? Even with a fraction of the money.
This hasn’t changed at all from when I was this age 30 years ago. Adult women (and their spending power) are taken a bit more seriously every year in America, but teenage girls never are.
Incidentally, I have written about how the BSC was formative for me before.