Childhood Cartoons and Innocence

By now, most young adults have realized that the cartoons they watched as children weren’t as innocent as they once appeared. From the innumerable penises littering Spongebob Squarepants, to the subliminal sex messages in The Lion King, each contains at least one hidden, and often vulgar message. This realization, that the world isn’t as innocent as it once seemed, is a common discovery each of us makes along the journey to adulthood. Unfortunately, this lack of real-world innocence extends beyond children’s cartoons, and into the lives of children themselves.

As the Keywords Essay on Innocence states, “childhood and innocence have not always been inextricably linked.” In fact, many children have been exposed to things that have robbed them of their innocence. From rape and murder, to drugs and violence, some of these children have unfortunately seen or felt the worst that the world has to offer. To make matters worse, society presents, and perpetuates a blatant disregard to this truth. It seems that our acceptance of lacking innocence in children’s cartoons comes easier than our acceptance of the same lack of innocence in the children who watch them.

By choosing to ignore this sad reality, we are preventing children from receiving the proper help and attention they so desperately need. It’s time that we as a society accept the truth of the matter; children aren’t inherently innocent. We need to provide help to those who need it, no matter their age or outward appearance. If we can accept that Spongebob isn’t as innocent as we used to think, why can’t we do the same to the most young, and vulnerable people in our society? It’s time we start taking better care of our children.

4 thoughts on “Childhood Cartoons and Innocence”

  1. There absolutely is still a great deal of disregard and negligence when it comes to listening and protecting children. This reminded me of a movie I recently watch, Spotlight, which addresses the string of sexual assaults committed by Catholic priests in New England. Religion, which is supposed to be a safe haven from the world’s cruelties, has managed to permeate the bubble of innocence that children naturally assume. The idea that even the holiest of places can still disrupt, and permanently effect, a child’s life speaks to the lack of value that is emphasized in regards to necessary safety and protections. Your mention of cartoons that include graphic undertones further points to the realization that many people are incredibly ignorant to how detrimental it can be to a child to be exposed to these things at a young age. Something that is viewed as humorous can actually be incredibly damaging to a child.

  2. I think this post really ties into themes in “The Bluest Eye”. I think Claudia recognizes her innocence as being taken away in the discussion of being “ruined”. Clearly they do not have a good understanding of what this actually means when looking to whiskey for a solution. I believe that if her parents had an honest conversation with her about what happened when the man touched her then she wouldn’t have false ideas of herself and try to come up with irrational solutions.

  3. I think that what you are discussing here is extremely interesting and meaningful! I agree, I think that our society have successfully created this image of innocence among young children throughout the years. It is almost as if children are expected to be nothing but innocent and angelic, which often cause children who desperately need help (maybe due to their suffering) to be overlooked. I also see the connection between your argument and the idea of sex education among children. Children are often assumed to be sexually oblivious and innocent, but we have learned in one of the keywords essays that this is often not the case. The U.S. has always had a history of a shortage of sex education (or preaching abstinence as key) compared to European countries. As a result, we see a lot more unwanted/ accidental pregnancies among teenagers in the U.S. compared to those in Europe. Perhaps it is time that we stop automatically assuming that children are inherently innocent and provide them with the help/ education they need.

  4. I agree, we need to protect children from horrors such as drugs and violence, and even, perhaps, from vulgarities in media today. However, I do think that exposing children to some truths of the world is not terrible. A penis here or there on TV will, in the future, probably not be such a taboo. Children and individuals in general are becoming more comfortable with seeing and discussing the human body. Moreso, though, children may need to be exposed to uncomfortable concepts that allow them to understand the life they must live. For example, in Kit’s story “Read All About It!,” Kit’s parents attempt to hide the troubling details of their financial situation from her, since she is just nine years old. Eventually they do tell her and she ends up being an asset to the family because of her knowledge. I think children are often too sheltered from things that they shouldn’t be, and they would be better if they knew.
    Again, yes, we should keep children off the streets and away from things that could harm them. But I do not believe that micromanaging their TV and computer views completely (some are necessary, of course) is what is best.

Leave a Reply