Dino Dana Puts Gender and Racial Diversity at the Forefront

Amazon’s new children’s show will make even the most grown-up among us smile. Michela Luci stars as Dana Jain in Sinking Ship Entertainment’s Dino Dana, about a “spunky 10 year-old paleontologist in training who eats, sleeps and breathes dinos.” A spin-off of the popular children’s show Dino Dan, 11 new dinosaurs make an appearance in the live-action and CGI hybrid show for even more fun paleontological adventures.

In an industry rife with issues of equally portraying all genders and racesDino Dana is a beacon. Sinking Ship Entertainment has worked in collaboration with Canada’s Women in View on a Women’s Director Initiative, ensuring that at least 50 percent of Dana episodes were directed by women. The company strongly believes that in order to create diverse stories and characters, diverse writers and directors are needed to tell those stories.

Dana is not only diverse behind the scenes, but but in front of them too as seen by Dana’s family portrayed by actors of different racial backgrounds. Having strong roles played by people from backgrounds that are not always represented is refreshing and necessary, especially in children’s television. Without shows supporting actors of color, some children would never have a hero that looks like them.

Dino Dana aims to create multi-dimensional characters for all kids, no matter who they are. Shows with male leads and a male-heavy cast are abundant, while their female counterparts are scarce or only included for a romantic sub-plot. Dana‘s creators know that “the stereotypes of active boys and passive girls are detrimental to both genders,” and by having a lead female character interested in paleontology they are doing everything they can to end those stereotypes.

The show has already had a positive outcome for one fan: at a publicity event, the show’s star Michela recalled being written by the mother of one young girl who was bullied at her school by boys because she liked dinosaurs. When she heard about the premiere of Dana, the fan was ecstatic to learn that the lead character would be a girl who liked dinosaurs, just like her.

If your child loves dinosaurs, television or both, Dino Dana is the show for them. The rest of us can just revel in the fact that something so long overdue has finally made its way into the realm of children’s television.

Kelsey Cochran is an Editorial Intern at Ms. and a senior at Gettysburg College majoring in Globalization Studies with a focus in Western media portrayal of Arab countries. She aspires to be a photojournalist and has previously been published in her hometown’s independent newspaper The Bay Weekly. When she isn’t tracking down subjects to interview for her next article, you can find her running on the rugby field, taking her friend’s next profile picture or talking about her time spent abroad for the hundredth time. Find her on Tumblr.

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