Mouse Smash

JC Lau's blog about geekery, gender and other rants

Purple and Nine Teaches Tween Girls about Technology

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In the past few years, there have happily been more instances of games and toys for girls that relate to science and technology. Goldieblox is a well-known one, but Girls who Code and Techbridge, for example, are programs to teach girls about coding and software development. In that vein is Purple and Nine, an animated webseries and comic book series aimed at girls aged 8-12.

Purple and Nine was developed by Gangly Sister, a group of parents who were concerned with the representation of girls in the media, specifically the “stereotypes of girls who are interested only in boys, fashion, and celebrity. We wanted to show girls that they could be anything, and create the heroines we believe today’s media is missing.”

The show and comic series follow the adventures of Purple and Nine, two ten year old best friends. According to the website, “Purple and Nine is about creating inspiring role models for children and teaching them why technology would be a good career path. We aren’t telling girls (or boys) “you can do it”. Of course they can. But why should they? Why would they want to? Purple and Nine shows examples of how technology can save the world.”

Purple and Nine discover Ferret. Image source: Gangly Sister

Purple and Nine discover Ferret. Image source: Gangly Sister

However, Purple and Nine are not simply two geeky girls who know how to use a computer; the show also addresses social issues and interpersonal relationships. For example, in the first episode, Purple tries to use a 3D printer to recreate her father’s chess set. As the girls research how to make the chess pieces, they discover that the chess set was made using child labor overseas. This raises a series of moral questions about where their products come from, and what the difference is between Purple and Nine making a chess set using a 3D printer, and when children overseas are also making chess sets.

Although I’m outside the demographic for the show, I found it to raise a lot of interesting questions. The show also introduces Ferret, who is (unsurprisingly) a ferret that quotes information from the internet. As Purple and Nine have questions, Ferret answers them. I imagine that this would encourage kids to do their own research and find out the answers to their questions for themselves. Gangly Sister also are launching a Purple and Nine digital comic series this month, so it would be interesting to see how the series expands to cater to the ever-growing demand for girls in technology.

Want to see for yourself? Watch the first episode here!

This post was originally written for GeekGirlCon.

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