How can “Edutainment” change girls self-image?

It’s rare to see parents taking their children’s entertainment into their own hands, but that’s just what happened with the Adventures of Purple and Nine, a new comic book series meant to “trick” children into learning about engineering and technology.

The creators of Purple and Nine are a group of parents who got sick of the Barbie doll and princess images influencing their children. “No matter what we teach in school or at home, if every image on every billboard shows a woman’s cleavage, girls will get the message that they are valued only for their bodies,” says Gangly Sister founder Rebecca Rachmany. “If we’re honest with ourselves, by the time our girls are teenagers, they’ve had more hours of education about how to make their faces and bodies look “picture perfect” than on any other aspect of biology.”

According to the creators of Purple and Nine, parents and educators are deluding themselves in thinking that the right education and parental influence will lead children to careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). If children see television shows where nerds and geeks are treated as social outcasts, girls simply will stay away from studying science and math. The Purple and Nine comic book is designed to create fun heroines who are doing cool stuff with technology.

Unlike a lot of the educational programs and magazines, Purple and Nine doesn’t go in depth in teaching. It just shows the girls using different technologies and if the readers want to find out more, they can click the links in the end. There is the narrator in the form of a pet Ferret, who was printed on a 3D printer. The Ferret seems to read directly from the Internet, rather than speaking like a regular character, so the educational content

What we see is two girls solving everyday problems, like helping a friend who lost her keys and lunch, or a child who keeps falling asleep in class. The comic books touch on important subjects like bullying, but without being preachy or demonizing individuals. It also is clearly written from a child’s point of view, where parents and adults hinder their creativity.

Purple and Nine is great reading for young girls, targeted at ages 8-12. You can find the comic book in digital format on the website or on Amazon, but it’s much less expensive if you buy it directly from the company. Parents and educators will love the comic book because it is wholesome entertainment with stunning artwork. There are no adult subjects, no boyfriends, no violence, and no inappropriate language.


About the author