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What If We Were All Green?

1317 words - 5 pages

Sesame Street is an educational television show aimed towards preschool aged children. Puppets, called Muppets, are the prime educators on the program. They teach kids everything from the alphabet and numbers to hygiene and healthy eating. But once in a while, the show delves deeper than this and focuses on societal problems in the world through easy-to-follow songs and skits. One Muppet in particular specializes in this area. Kermit the Frog, along with his song "Bein' Green", subtly teaches children about what it's like to be different. When the song was first performed on the show in 1972 (Wikipedia), it became an instant hit with kids, adults, and celebrities. It also became an international message on issues including self-esteem and racism. When this song is viewed from a social psychology perspective, many theories pop out from the lyrics. "Bein' Green" can be interrupted as a psychological statement containing the self-discrepancy theory, the self-enhancement theory, and various aspects of the prejudice attitude."Bein' Green" is divided into four verses. The first half of the song holds negative psychological aspects while the second half is filled with positive ones. In the first verse, Kermit reveals that "it's not that easy bein' green" (Henson [See Appendix A]). He thinks that green is too plain, and that he doesn't stand out because he's not colourful enough. Kermit's feelings toward being green are related to the self-discrepancy theory. This theory states that when who we think we are does not measure up to whom we think we should be or who we dream to be, we experience negative emotions and lowered self-esteem (Aronson, 178). Higgins and colleagues claim that there are three types of 'selves' that can be perceived. Our actual self is who we believe we are, our ought self is who we believe we should be, and our ideal self is who we wish or dream to be. We evaluate ourselves when we compare these three conceptions of 'selves' (Aronson, 178). In the song, being green is Kermit's actual self, while being "...red or yellow or gold..." (Henson) is his ideal self. Kermit also mentions in the verse that it would be better being any other colour than green, which representing his ought self. Therefore, his actual self is green, his ideal self is red, yellow, or gold, and his ought self is any other colour than green.According to Higgins et al, when we compare the discrepancy between our actual self to our ought self, we experience tension-filled emotions, including anxiety and worry. When we compare the difference between our ideal self, we experience saddened emotions, such as hopelessness or gloominess (Aronson, 178). Through the background music and tone of voice, you can hear that Kermit is sad and unsatisfied about being green. However, there is not a strong expression of anxiety, fear, or worry in the song. It seems that Kermit is mainly concentrating on the discrepancy between his actual self and his ideal self, while his ought self...

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