Idea of Innocence Changing in the Media?

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Media produced for children often has strict regulations and parental controls in order to assure it contains appropriate content for children. However, with the surge of LGBT awareness over the past few years, some may say that there is an up and coming need for adaptation in TV shows, movies, etc. not only for adults, but for children as well, to be more inclusive of the gay community. In an article titled “Are ‘Gay Moments’ in ‘Beauty’ and ‘Power Rangers’ Progress?”, this change in media content is discussed.  As the title of the article states, there is debate over whether or not some scenes in Power Rangers and Beauty and the Beast contain “gay moments” and if these moments are seen as progress in the entertainment business. As the article discusses these moments were seen when “Sulu can be seen hugging a man, LeFou winks at Gaston and later dances with a man, and Trini fails to answer a flirty question about whether she’s having “boyfriend problems”… or “girlfriend problems?”

The fact that there is debate over the content shown in these children movies demonstrates an important discussion of our class- childhood innocence. Childhood innocence is attempted to be controlled through the content our society deems as acceptable for children to watch. By monitoring the content of media for children, I believe our society is trying to preserve childhood innocence. With the possibility of the increase in gay culture presented in children’s movies, some may argue that this is creating a new definition of what childhood innocence means in our society by broadening the spectrum of age-appropriate material in the content children view.  On p.127 of the keywords essay on innocence, the author states that the idea of saying childhood is innocent is potentially harmful. I think this statement relates to my article because sheltering children, not only from the gay community in media but other things as well, can ultimately be harmful in the sense that they will be less aware and possibly less accepting of diversity when they reach adulthood. In support of the author, I agree that saying childhood is innocent can be potentially harmful because we may be sheltering children from learning and experiences that help them understand our world  and different cultures.

6 thoughts on “Idea of Innocence Changing in the Media?”

  1. Becca, I totally agree with your argument that today’s media should be less conservative about what is portrayed in children’s media. I think that the media is making progress with incorporating more of the LGBT community, and that maybe the media wanted to first incorporate it in more family or adult films and shows, like Modern Family, and now move to expose children to diversity. Like you said in your post, our society has been trying to preserve children’s innocence which may be more harmful than helpful. Innocence is no longer seen as a black and white term of how keeping certain ideas from children will preserve their innocence. It is seen everywhere that children exposed to different cultures growing up become more open minded and excepting of a wider range of ideas and culture.

  2. While reading through your post, I thought the point about how children would be less accepting of diversity was great. I come from an extremely conservative town, and the older people always say “don’t let the children see, because it’ll change them.” (which was said about everything and I think that it is totally insane) Anyway, I definitely agree that we should not shelter the children, because they need to be understanding of different people. Also when the children get older, they will be completely out of the loop and will have no understanding of the outside world.

  3. Becca the topic of this post is so important. Everyone knows a helicopter parent whom tries to shelter their child in every way possible to preserve their innocence. I could not agree more that this can be so harmful for the child later in life. Your idea about the creation of a new definition for childhood innocence may be exactly what our society needs.

  4. Great job, Becca! I recently heard about this Power Rangers controversy on multiple forms of media, and I think this example relates well to the concept of innocence. Often, parents are overprotective and feel the need to shelter their children from the “real world.” I also agree with that statement about how “saying childhood is innocent can be potentially harmful” because children will ultimately face a reality-check once they reach adulthood. Due to the increased presence of the LGBTQ+ community, I think it is important that there is media that accurately depicts those who are LGBTQ+. Within children’s literature, it would be great to see books with that type of content in them, but in a format where children can learn from subtle exposure when they are young and increase that knowledge as they grow up due to an increase in exposure and a decrease of innocence.

  5. I too, agree that children shouldn’t be sheltered. I almost feel wrong for saying “sheltered” because the LGBT community isn’t exactly something one would be “sheltered from,” as they maybe would be from violence or murder. In regards to progress in the industry, I don’t know if gay moments are a whole lot of progress. I think they could include gay characters if they wanted to make progress with the LGBT topic. Gay moments might be too subtle for children to pick up on, and I think it’s important for children to learn about different types of genders, races, cultures, and sexual orientation at a young age, in order to prevent future insensitivity to people of different backgrounds. I agree with you that the more they see at a young age, the more accepting they will be when they are grown!

  6. Innocence for kids is a hard topic to discuss. Most people want to shield their kids from the difficulties of the world but that is not always the best decision. The acceptance of the LGBT community has really started to come about in the last 10 years. Before then it was not something people really ever were proud of or embraced. We can see this in Children’s movies and books of the past generations. Kids need greater exposure to the LGBT community to help further greater knowledge on the topic. If we don’t start exposing kids it will leave them in the dark and it could create issues of not being able to accept this aspect of life later on. Leave people just as in the dark and not accepting as people can be today.

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