By Amanda Awanjo
Today’s children’s films are made, as much for the children as they are for their adult parents. Themes of sexuality, gender roles, divorce, racism, and even unruly disapproving in-laws permeate a genre that once only focused on overcoming school bullies and cooties. Are these harsh realities colored and ballooned into cuteness to rob children of their innocence or is Art imitating Reality? In today’s society the lines between the socially acceptable and unacceptable have been blurred. Children are finding that they have fewer safe havens, with Disney channel stars caught with their pants down and bra straps showing, pregnant teen starlets from Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network shows getting more and more adult, today’s children are enjoying less time under the umbrella of childhood innocence.The already small window for innocence is being overcome by the confusion that comes with knowing too much too fast. Eight-year-olds quote lyrics from songs that I was not bold enough to say out until I had entered high school. The world as presented to children via television and movie as being about being older, being like Hannah Montana, and knowing everything. Children are molding themselves after the visions they see on the flat screen and while we older people realize these images hold no real place in our lives our smaller counterparts do not. As children you only know what is presented in front of you, children at first understand the images and sounds in front of them. Is it fair to them, to take away those already too short years where the good guy always wins, weak always find the strength, and in the end all of the characters, from ogres to dolls, are fulfilled? In a world where most children are forced to handle the real tragedies that come to corrupt those innocent years, is it necessary or even proper to change the escapism of cartoon and movies to a jolt of the uncaring real world?