Are Children’s Movies Damaging Their View on Relationships?

Kaya Heath, Staff Writer

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Children movies always have a stereotypical relationship, with a strong man and a damsel in distress type of girl. They promote the same thing over and over again, causing children to view relationship like that all the time. Kids are getting exposed to the most socially acceptable relationships, but is it damaging their view on everyday relationships?

The youth can be very impressionable, meaning if you expose them to only one thing at a young age they believe that is the only, and the right way to do things. Showing a child that the man has to be the stronger one, or that it has to be a female and a male leads to the child believing that is how it always has to be. Exposing the child to all types of legal, and safe, relationships wont make the child more likely to pursue that type of relationship. This will, however, make the child more perceptive to these relationships, and more accepting. Changing your views at an older age is a lot more difficult than teaching acceptance whilst they are still learning what is okay and what’s not.

There are children who grow up not fitting into the typical relationships. There are little girls who never looked like the females in the movies and boys who have never been the big strong guy. People grow up never seeing themselves or representation for their community in children’s shows. As these children get older and start to discover themselves more, the shows they watched in their youth could make it harder for them to come to terms with who they are. Movies state that everyone should love themselves but constantly portray the same few types of relationships, and people in general.

‘It’s just a movie. They aren’t learning things.’ Movies, although not always meant for learning, teach kids life lessons. That lesson might be to be kind, or no to judge. Films also teach kids what’s acceptable and what’s not. The movie might not say that something is unacceptable but with no representation, or negative representation, children are realizing that the idea of something being wrong is implied. Kids pick up on hints better than adults think, meaning that even without hearing something the child can interpret whether it is wrong or right.

Enforcing a stereotype in kids movies can have negative effects on their perspective. A child learns from things they see and experience. If a kid sees the same relationship in movies constantly they will start to believe that is how it is supposed to be. Childhood should be full of learning and having fun, but part of that learning is acceptance, by marketing movie couples as the typical relationship, you are teaching children that if a relationship does not fit that mold it is unusual and wrong.