Socialization in Cartoons


2004-02-08


Socialization, “the lifelong social experience by which individuals develop their human potential and learn culture” (pg. 115) Learning is stimulated in a variety of ways, and educational television makes use of the most effective methods. From a very early age parents let their children watch television shows that they see as either educational or just for pure entertainment. Socialization plays a main role in all of the cartoons that are on air, this is seen in many cartoons as well as a majority of educational shows. Gender, values, and morality are covered.


Mister Rogers Neighborhood


In this episode Mister Rogers teaches children to take care of each other and be glad that they are in turn taken care of, also he introduces children to be artistic by teaching them about paintings he even goes as far as to show artwork by Pablo Picasso. He introduces cultural differences by teaching them a little bit of Spanish and Hispanic music. A program such as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood builds self-esteem by affirming the special-ness of each person and encourages new skills to build the feeling of "I can do it." A show such as this enhances the Children’s structure, especially very young children, who need structure. Structure gives comfort and helps a child take in new information. Mister Rogers always begins and ends his show by hanging up his sweater and changing from shoes that he would wear outside to his house slippers. If we can show children at a young age that television is something they can play with, question, challenge, and enjoy, we are preparing them for interactive use of the mass media when they grow up.


The Jetsons


In this episode Jane wants a maid but George says they can't afford it. He invites Mr. Spacely over for dinner but what he doesn't know is that Jane has taken a free one day trial offer on a slightly used 'Rosie'. George is in a panic because he thinks that he can't possibly convince Mr. Spacely that he needs the raise if he sees Rosie. In a pinch, Rosie takes leftovers and whips up a delicious dinner and a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Spacely fires Jetson and storms out the door. He calls a little later, munching the cake and says that anybody that can make such a delicious cake can’t be all bad. In the meantime, Rosie has left, thinking that she caused the family trouble, but they find her at the bus stop and take her home.


They are teaching children that nothing is ever worthless there is always something out there that deserves to be saved. Yet while watching this show one cannot help but notice “the gender factor” which is brought into light by Carol Gilligan. The two main female characters, mother Jane and daughter Judy, are both portrayed very thin, with tiny waists, thin legs and medium busts. Both women are always in high-heeled shoes, and are always wearing earrings. Their hair is always in the same style, and never appears dirty or untidy in any way. Both women have tiny feet. All of female characters regardless of body shape are shown in pastel-colored clothing, such as pink or light purple. And the mother is the one who does not work but keeps the household in order for when her husband comes home from work and she takes joys in spending her husbands “hard earned” money. George and Elroy Jetson, the two main male characters, are both seen as weak, with no musculature evident around their chests or upper body areas, and somewhat pronounced waists, in what could be termed a slight "beer belly". Both have short haircuts and wear conservative clothing consisting of plain blue pants and white shirt in George's case, and blue overalls and a blue hat on Elroy. Elroy is also portrayed as being very smart while his older sister Judy is the “typical” female whose thoughts are only of boys and the latest gossip. George's boss, Mr. Spacely, is extremely short and fat, and also wears conservative clothing. Stereotypic gender portrayals are very much a reality in children's television cartoons; although over the years they have become more subtle and harder to define.


In conclusion, while over the