Sarah Banet-Weiser's book, Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship demonstrates the issues of gender and feminism portrayed in Nickelodeon‘s As Told by Ginger, which was a hit cartoon series lasting from 2000 to 2004. The show focuses on Ginger Foutley, a thirteen year old girl who deals with everyday issues presented in her middle school. Most characters portrayed on the show are represented by females, other than Ginger’s younger brother and his best friend that are featured in most episodes. The main idea of this witty cartoon is to focus on the reality of tween girl drama. The show was nominated for three Emmy awards, dominantly because of its spin on the characters. The show represented a lifestyle that was alternative to the dominant norm in society. Ginger’s mother, Lois was a single mom working hard to support her family and Ginger’s boyfriend, Darren, was African-American therefore touching on the taboo issue of interracial relationships. The idea of creating a cartoon based on the realities of an average girl in her middle school years is what makes this show different from others.

It is clear that Ginger is portrayed as much of a loner, very intelligent, and poetic. Poems were used to open each episode and most of them spoke about the pressures of fitting in socially at school. While Ginger did have a group of friends, they were represented as the “nerds” of Lucky Middle School. Ginger, being the trendier one out of her group of friends was later accepted into the “popular” group and the show demonstrates her journey of flip-flopping back and forth between the two very different groups. Unlike most cartoons, ATBG featured the characters wearing different outfits each episode. Producers decided to do this because as a teenage girl, fashion and appearance is extremely important and can often determine your social stance.

As Told by Ginger’s audience is predominantly made up of females despite Nickelodeon’s attempt to attract a mixed audience. The idea that boys wouldn’t understand is the general consensus for why this show does not appeal to males since the majority of issues that the show touches on are more relatable towards teenage girls. The show strays from previous Nickelodeon cartoons by creating unusual character development and problematic settings in which not only Ginger, but also the remaining female characters must find their social identity in order to gain a more positive self-esteem.

Excellent work here--- and this show really makes me think about iCarly and how it addresses issues of "difference" in really different ways. Could it be that ATBG celebrates difference and iCarly ridicules it?
GRADE: A