Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, plays an animated version of herself in this clip from “Doc McStuffins Goes to Washington,” an October 2015 episode of Doc McStuffins, a Disney Junior animated children’s television series about young African-American Dottie “Doc” McStuffins who wants to be a doctor like her mother and practices by examining, diagnosing, and healing toys, dolls, and stuffed animals. This episode segment shows Doc McStuffins with a group of kids, one of whom is carrying a crate of fruits and vegetables, visiting the White House. Michelle Obama joins the group and praises their efforts to improve themselves and their communities before one of the kid’s toys gets hurt and Doc McStuffins is called on to help.
Thinking back to the shows you watched and/or characters you read about as a kid, who did you particularly like or identify with, and why? What is the significance of having a children’s tv show centered around a Black or African-American female character playing a (toy) doctor?
When you think of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, what kinds of people come to mind? How are these positions represented in television, commercials, movies, and other media? Are they central or periphery characters? Why does a depth and range of visibility and representation matter?
How is Michelle Obama’s animated character represented in this clip? What civic themes does she emphasize in the scene?
When a famous and influential person such as the First Lady of the United States chooses to appear in popular media, they are making a statement. Why do you think Michelle Obama made an appearance on this show in particular? What statements is she making about gender and race? About what kids can do for themselves and their communities?