Soupy Sundays: On Children, Cartoons and Gender (6)7:00 PM
Soupy Sundays is a discussion post at Geeky Chiquitas in which we talk about our opinions on certain topics.
This week's topic is on children, cartoons and gender.
When I was a child, my favorite cartoon was Power Rangers. I loved it so much I would actually wake up early to watch it on TV and would buy every single paraphernalia associated with it. Some of my other favorite shows were Yuyu Hakusho, which is an anime about fighting demons, and Pokemon, another anime (and I don't have to explain what that is because I'm sure EVERYONE has seen it at one point of their lives). Because of my cartoon choices, I was always branded as a 'tomboy' because I loved these things which people labeled as 'for boys.' But then again, when I was a kid I also LOVED wearing dresses and playing with dolls. So what does that say about me? Does that make me a girly girl or a tomboy? Or can I be a little bit of both?
In society, children are told what to do in a gender binary perspective. Boys cannot cry. Girls have to wear dresses. Boys should like blue, and girls should like pink. Girls should like Barbie, while boys should like cars. That's why people keep shoving it in their faces, and target certain 'boyish' things to boys and 'girly' things to girls. But the thing is, who is this almighty being that dictates what is considered boyish and girly?
I did a little surveying and asked my little cousins. I found out that they didn't actually care. These children had no concept of gender, and they didn't care whether or not the main character of a show is a girl or a boy. My cousin James loves Elsa from Frozen as much as my other cousin Nica does. He loves Tinkerbell too and does not even care if it's a movie about fairies and pixie dust, and that the majority of the characters are female. Nica doesn't care that Power Rangers is a show that is targeted to boys; she watches it anyway. So who is this person that thinks that certain shows are just for boys or just for girls? Because the children don't actually give a damn - they watch these cartoons because they think the shows are funny, engaging, heartwarming or just plain awesome. They don't watch these shows because they're for boys or for girls.
Children are pretty innocent beings, and the only reason why certain double standards exist is because children at such a young age are already being fed with close-minded thoughts by the people around them. The moment you scold a boy for watching Barbie and calling him gay for it, this etches into his mind and he grows up with the mentality that boys are not allowed to like Barbie, and that liking Barbie is a sign of homosexuality, when in fact it is not. The moment you tell a girl that she cannot like watching Yu-Gi-Oh or playing with cars, this gives her the false belief that a girl should only be capable of playing with dolls and watching shows about fairies. You restrict these children from developing and discovering who they are and what they want to do. You teach them to think in black and white, and tell them to ignore the grey areas in life. You turn them into drones, always playing by the rules dictated by society - rules that shouldn't have existed in the first place.
If you leave children to like what they like, then wouldn't that lead to a more open and less judgmental society?