ABC's What Would You Do's manipulative staging makes me feel kind of icky, but watching parents tell a 7-year-old boy that he can't be Belle from Beauty and the Beast makes me feel ickier.
"I know you like it, but that's for a girl," one stranger tells him. "And you're not a girl, right?"
The producers also had a child actor pose as a 9-year-old girl who wants to dress up as Spiderman. "How old are you?" one mother asks her. "Was she like this all of the time?" she asks the actor pretending to be her mother. "If she was, then it's going to be hard to break her out of it. If it just started, you have to move now." She also tells the girl that she "would look so much prettier in a dress."
The only stranger who doesn't reinforce gender norms is a younger woman, who tells the little girl that her mother is just worried other people won't accept her. "If you are strong and you know who you are and you know who you want, people will respect you for it...there are more girls like you," she consoles her. Ah, hope!