With the 72nd Emmys having just concluded, we think it’s time MEDIAGIRLS weighed in with our TV recommendations – both old and new! – to watch with (or just recommend to) the teen and tween girls in your life. MEDIAGIRLS Editorial Volunteer, Isabella Libreros, gives voice to our TV recs while demonstrating the importance of representing diverse, complex stories on screen.
The TV and film industries have the ability to build worlds, bring characters to life, and create stories and characters that we can see ourselves in. That is the beauty of TV and film. That is precisely why diversity is such an essential element when it comes to TV shows and movies. And, by diversity, I’m not just referring to diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or disability: I’m also referring to diversity of plot, themes, and character development. Not only does diversity promote inclusion, it promotes curiosity, learning, and connection. So, here’s a list of TV shows – old and new – that show the importance of inclusivity and diversity, shows that really made me feel a connection to their characters, plot, and messaging.
EUPHORIA (Ages 16+)
Starring queen Zendaya (the youngest Emmy winner for Lead Actress ever!), Euphoria follows a group of high school students through their experiences of addiction, anxiety, friendships, sex, identity, mental health, love, and trauma. What I like about this TV show is that it portrays teenagers in ways that we are not used to, paying more attention to their internal struggles rather than the daily, superficial issues. Even though the show is intended for mature audiences (it does contain some graphic and triggering scenes), I truly believe this show is a must for girls once they are old enough to watch it! It’s an honest and raw portrayal of the difficulties teenagers go through as they navigate all the different facets of their lives. High school can be a very tricky environment, and I think Euphoria can also serve as a window for parents and educators into the complex lives, struggles, and needs of teenagers.
ATYPICAL (Ages 13+)
Atypical focuses on the life of 18-year-old Sam Gardner, who has autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the show, Sam attempts to seek more independence as his final year of high school approaches and college is right around the corner. What I like the most about this show is that it centers on autism in a very authentic way by representing different struggles, triumphs, Sam has as he navigates life. Another aspect of this coming-of-age series that I appreciate is the fact that it focuses on how Sam’s journey impacts both his family and friends, so, in a way, it allows people of all different ages to relate to the story!
THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB (Ages 10+)
Based on Ann M. Martin’s beloved series, The Baby-Sitters Club, follows a group of middle school girls who start their own babysitting business. This show was a complete delight to watch! Thirteen is a very tricky age where girls are experiencing a lot of changes and learning more about who we are, and I think this show gets it exactly right. Not only did the show win me over thanks to its diverse cast, but I thought it had just the right amount of innocence, boy drama, family struggles, and internal battles. I think this show is a must watch for young girls because it prioritizes the changes and dramas that thirteen-year-olds go through that may seem unimportant, but absolutely aren’t.
SEX EDUCATION (Ages 16+)
Sex Education follows an insecure high school student named Otis, who – thanks to his mom being a sex therapist – has all the answers when it comes to sex advice. What I found so hilarious about this show was that, while Otis has no personal experience when it comes to love, sex, and relationships, he ends up creating this sex therapy clinic to give advice and guidance to his classmates. Not only does this show promote diversity when it comes to identity, sexuality, and gender, but it makes sex – a topic that for many is still considered to be taboo – a very natural and normal topic of conversation. And that’s okay! The series is actually promoting the idea that parents should feel comfortable (or at least a little more comfortable) having open and frank conversations with their children about sex. It’s really just a part of life!
Isabella Libreros is a junior at Emmanuel College studying Communication and Media Studies with a concentration in writing, editing, and publishing. She is a MEDIAGIRLS Mentor and is very passionate about encouraging girls and young women to support and empower each other! She is currently at home in Columbia reading lots of books and playing with her two Australian cattle dogs, Chiara and Kala, but will be back in Boston for her spring semester!
Image Credit: John-Mark Smith from pexels.com.