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Queer Representation in Children's Media

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by

Elizabeth Harshberger

on 16 April 2014

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Transcript of Queer Representation in Children's Media

Queer Representation in Children's Media
- Why it's important
- Arguments against
- Existing examples
Children learn stereotypes and prejudices
at an early age from environment

Association: children may learn to associate a particular ethnic group with poverty, crime, violence, and other bad things.

Reinforcement: children may be reinforced for telling derogatory ethnic jokes; others might laugh along or think they're "cool."

Modeling: Children may simply imitate the prejudices of their older family and popular friends.
Children learn stereotypes and behavior
from family, peers, teachers, and especially
the media
Media influence on child development is substantial
On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console.

Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week watching television.

Children learn to accept the stereotypes represented on television. Repetition of stereotypes enforces them.
Positive representation of queer characters in
media aimed at children can lead to a lessening of negative stereotyping and homophobia
If children are exposed to positive representation of queer people, they will in all likelihood grow up to be more tolerant.
Arguments against:
Children won't be able to understand or process representations of queer characters
This harmfully implies queerness in any form is abnormal, wrong, and taboo.
If children saw more representations of queer characters, they would be more likely to choose to identify queer themselves.
It is not a choice, and if this argument were true, the opposite would also be; less representation would mean fewer queer-identifying young people. It isn't.
Positive representation can lead to the lessening of the development of prejudices

LGBT+ identifying children will benefit from seeing characters they can identify with
Existing examples
Mitch,
Paranorman
Marceline and Princess Bubblegum (?), Adventure Time

...And others (?)
Full transcript