An ABC journalist has called out popular kids show Bluey, citing its lack of diversity.
Beverley Wang wrote a piece for ABC Everyday - 'I've learnt a lot from Bluey, but can be it be more representative?', deconstructing the show's positive and negative attributes.
The hugely popular show has won awards in Australia and abroad including an International Emmy Kids Award for Preschool.
Starting off the piece acknowledging the series 'opened up' conversations between parents and kids, Wang said it also perfectly captured a parent's pain watching their children grow up and move on from them.
However it wasn't above rebuke, with the journalist admitting she struggled with what she saw as a 'missed opportunity' for the show to be more inclusive.
"As a parent of colour, I am always conscious of the presence — or absence — of diverse representation in kids' pop culture, what it means for children and the conversations we have around that. I sincerely believe you don't have to be 'Other' to think about this too," Wang wrote.
Explaining she felt Bluey focussed only on middle class, nuclear Australian families and overlooked single parent families, people of colour, the LGBTQI community and those living with a disability.
"I'm aware this may come across as asking too much of a show that's already so tender, nuanced and joyful. But it's exactly because Bluey has demonstrated depth and range that I can't help asking anyway," she continued.
"We live in a world where the majority of main characters on children's television are white; where there are more animals than people of colour protagonists populating the pages of children's books."
"Where are the disabled, queer, poor, gender diverse, dogs of colour and single-parent dog families in Bluey's Brisbane? If they're in the background, let them come forward."
While Maynard's character was voiced by Indigenous entertainer Sean Choolburra, Wang said this was only a small role and the producers could do more.
Wang's article has divided opinion, with some branding it an 'overreaction' on Twitter.
My latest @abc_everyday column on parenting and pop culture is up!— Beverley Wang (@beverleywang) April 14, 2021
Big thanks to mega fan Mary from @blueypodcast and the ever wise @DrDeniseChapman for sharing their thoughts with me. https://t.co/RrxMlH9gXx
It's not the first time the show has been criticised. Last year the ABC pulled two episodes - 'Teasing' and 'Flat pack', following a complaint that they included 'racist' language, in reference to a phrase, which on reflection they felt had racial connotations.
The broadcaster apologised for its inclusion in a statement saying it had been an 'inadvertent' error.
"[We] sincerely apologised to the complainant for any distress caused by the term used in the episode titled 'Teasing'. The ABC has a strong record for giving voice to Indigenous Australians and an ongoing commitment to helping reduce discrimination and prejudice and in this case, the language used was inadvertent," they said.
"The complainant was advised that neither the ABC nor the external producers were aware of the potentially derogatory meaning of the term, which was intended only as irreverent rhyming slang often made up by children."
The ABC has been contacted for comment on Wang's piece.