Cartoons : A double edged sword
Ever since its invention, television has found its way into every child’s bedroom. It is simple yet powerful and has become an essential part of every household, entertaining children of all ages with the various animated programs it offers. However, the amount of time a child spends fixed in front of a television screen is incredible. In fact, children under the age of 11 spend more than 28 hours a week fixed in front of their television screens (Boyse).It is important to consider the quality of television shows because no one can deny the fact that children have become addicted to them. Children are subject to a plethora of cartoons that range from entertaining to educational. These programs invite children on a journey to understand the world around them. However, when considering the kinds of programs children are exposed to, one tends to overlook the negative impact some of these programs can have on their development. This research paper will show that cartoons may be the greatest impediment to a child’s development. Cartoons manifest the tremendous ability to mold the bourgeoning personality of a child through the introduction of role models. Children can acquire good values and life lessons from such role models, provided that these role models set a positive example for the child. For example, in one of the cartoons called “ The powerpuff girls” the three heroines have to combine their efforts to protect their country. Such a cartoon clearly delivers a positive message to our youth by demonstrating the importance of teamwork, loyalty and love for one’s country. Furthermore, the cartoon is full of moral topics. For instance, in one episode, one of the heroines offers a golf club to the Professor that she “found”; however she has to deal with the aftermath of her actions after learning that taking something that does not belong to her is the same as stealing. Another example of a cartoon that represents good characters accompanied by valuable lessons is “Kim Possible”. This cartoon depicts with excellence a strong female leader who is intelligent , talented and courageous. Both cartoons in fact present females in valuable roles and break the tradition of male heroes. In fact if one compares classical Disney cartoons to modern day cartoons , one would see how the image of women has evolved. Women are no longer represented as characters who enjoy doing chores and catering to men’s needs, instead they appear to be educated and independent. As opposed to Snow White who feels compelled to clean the cottage , Kim Possible does more than just cook and clean , she fights and leads. However, one should not be fooled or led to believe that all cartoons are harmless and flawless. Stereotyped cartoon images and characters can be prevalent and deeply problematic because children learn to accept these stereotypes that they are constantly exposed to (Boyse). If one examines classical fairytales from a critical perspective , one would undoubtedly notice a striking pattern : the characters and the story may differ from one fairytale to another however the ending contains the same key element which is the magical kiss. Many cartoons forward a sexist agenda by minimizing and demeaning the female role while magnifying the role of the prince charming. Cartoons like “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty” assign submissive roles to their female characters and depict them as helpless women in distress waiting for a magical kiss from the prince charming. In Tarzan , Jane appear to be vulnerable and in need of Tarzan to rescue her whenever she get in trouble. Such false illusions and misrepresentations of the female role can have drastic consequences on the female audience. Mary Finucane, for example, caught her daughter sitting, waiting for “prince charming”(Hanes). Moreover, many cartoons stress the importance of beauty and sexuality. These cartoons represent only thin disproportionate characters and portray...
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