Race, Gender and Sexuality in
Contemporary Films for Children
by C. Richard King, Carmen Lugo-Lugo &
HM1091 .K56 2010
New Book Island, 2nd floor
Growing up as youngsters, everyone has their favorite movies. In many cases, those films don’t contain real people, but drawn characters that tell a story. These animated features set out to not only entertain the audience, but also impart some sort of message, like doing the right thing and making smart choices. But how do these films handle differences among individuals, such as race or gender? This week’s New Stuff Tuesday focuses on the cartoons and their representation of sociocultural diversity.
King, Lugo-Lugo and Bloodsworth-Lugo, all faculty members at Washington State University, present their research on animated films targeted for children and the underlying themes from these films. They examined movies released by four major companies — Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and Twentieth Century Fox — over the past twenty years for their analysis. They contend that the movies “in the their role as agents of socialization, provide children with the necessary tools to reinforce expectations about normalized racial and sexual dynamics” (p. 11). The authors closely critique the intersections of race, gender and sexuality and the messages communicated to young audiences that go beyond entertainment value. I guarantee that you will not view these types of films in the same light after this book.