Kids channel, and Nickelodeon were male, regardless

Kids shows and cartoons can be a massive influence on the
way children think and perceive the world later on in life. Through watching, they
can learn about topics such as shapes, colours, relationships, and emotions
from a young age, as well as helping them to develop their language and
literary skills.1
However, they can also have the opposite effect, as any negative or outdated
ideas that appear in cartoons can easily affect the way a child thinks about
that topic. For example, in the 1960’s the excessive violent themes that often
appeared in cartoons became a concern, and organisations such as Action for Children’s
Television (ACT) were set up to try and limit the amount of violence and
advertising in children’s programming.2  According to the Encyclopaedia of children,
adolescents, and the media, when a show is successful, it can “foster
prosocial and educational skills in its viewers.” 3  which is why it is vital that they represent
the world in a fair and moral way that doesn’t predispose violence or prejudice
in a child’s mind.

representation in cartoons:

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Although gender equality has come a long way since cartoons
first started airing, there is still a lot of prejudice and misrepresentation.
For example, in 2012, 66 percent of the characters that appeared in children’s
shows on Cartoon network, Disney channel, and Nickelodeon were male, regardless
of the gender of the target audience.4 Furthermore, the
characters in cartoons and most visual media are often stereotyped and follow the
guidelines of what society considers ‘normal’ for male and female figures.
characters are mostly presented and independent, strong and aggressive whereas female
characters are written to be more emotional, passive and stereotypically
‘girly’. This behaviour is often rewarded, while characters that go against
these social norms and behaviours and considered outcasts or deviants.5 As a result, this
reinforces gender stereotypes and pressures children into following the behaviour
that they think is expected of them.  

1 Ivana
Cirkovic (17th Jan 2014): Cartoons and Their Influence

2 Jeffrey
Jensen Arnett (2007): Encyclopaedia of children, adolescents, and the media –
page 807 SAGE publications

3 Jeffrey
Jensen Arnett (2007): Encyclopaedia of children, adolescents, and the media – page
137 SAGE publications

4 Beth
Hentges  & Kim Case (12th Oct
2012)  Journal of Children and Media Volume

Dafna Lemish (5th Apr 2010): Screening Gender on Children’s


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