Discussion Part 1&2 - When thinking of the development of prejudice
When thinking of the development of prejudice in children, one has to think of all of the cartoons our parents were exposed to, those we were exposed to, and those we may expose our children to. When we take a look back at many cartoons and movies from the past (and even now), we can see where there were pervasive representation issues. The way different characters and cultures were often represented were biased, stereotypic, and harmful. These were the images and stereotypes that we were shown as children. Do we want that to continue with our children?
One company that has been trusted and beloved by families for generations is Disney. However, Disney has made an explicit effort to start to combat this. Not only have they openly admitted to their past mistakes, but they are also actively working to correct the impact their media has on future generations.
Take a moment to read their statement about the importance of representation, their mistakes of the past, and how they are moving forward to do better. Be sure to watch their short video and read through their website here:
Disney+ Advisory - Stories Matter | The Walt Disney Company
Given this information, let's discuss the following questions:
(1) Provide an example of a cartoon or movie that you watched as a child that was problematic and explain why it was problematic. For instance, you could discuss any of the following questions: Who was the hero? Who was the villain? Who was the Princess? Who was the Prince? What gender roles played out? What racial/ethnic stereotypes were portrayed? How were overweight vs. thin characters portrayed? What about the other marginalized groups? Etc.
(2) We can see that some companies, like Disney, are making efforts to make necessary representation changes (e.g., the new live-action version of The Little Mermaid, casting Halle Bailey as Ariel). We can also see the impact this decision has had on children (e.g., Here are some adorable videos). What do you wish would have been done
https://www.cnn.com/videos/media/2022/09/13/little-mermaid-trailer-reactions-halle-bailey-orig-jc.cnn differently when you were a child (in terms of movies and media)? What impact would that have had on you?
(3) Finally, knowing what you know now and the problematic past we've had with cartoons and media, what would you say to help those that are upset over a fictional character being represented by an actor from a different racial or ethnic group to see the benefits of this change?
Part 2 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN2W0fv8hY4
After you have watched the entire 90-minute film, The Mask you Live In, reply to the questions below and then read your classmate’s comments and reply to at least one classmate. Make sure your comments make clear to me that you have viewed the film. Was there any one aspect or moment in THE MASK YOU LIVE IN that resounded the most within you? Were there any statements or facts that you found shocking? Which aspects of the film were you already familiar with?
However you identify yourself gender-wise, do you consider yourself to be a strong or weak individual? Do you associate your answer with masculine/feminine stereotypes in any way?
When you are feeling weak, do you feel more feminine, and when you are feeling strong, more masculine? If you are a parent (or plan to be a parent), what are some of the parenting approaches you can use to encourage your child to identify and appropriately express the full range of emotions?