These words are not often associated with Western animation.
In most cases, cartoons are presented as naïve works that double as a stand-in babysitter for young children. Animation is historically not meant to be taken seriously. But I believe that all media content that we are exposed to should be approached at least partially from a critical perspective. We should analyze the content that we consume, whether it be music, television, film, or video games, as each of these cannot escape socialized structures that we live within—and in many cases, are desensitized to.
The reason why animation, along with other media, should be viewed critically is because they are created within structures that both emphasize and reflect our daily lives. As a result, many animated works can be very progressive while telling deep and intriguing stories. Many cartoons are swimming in a pool of complexity that is just waiting to be unpacked; however at the same time, many animated titles can do the complete opposite. Either way, we need to assess all of it. Because within each highly-acclaimed and poorly-rated cartoon, are an abundance of systemic issues that are either touched on or built upon.
It’s no surprise that many animated films and programs are targeted at children—which is more than often used as an excuse to dismiss it as an inferior genre of entertainment that doesn’t deserve to be placed under a critical microscope. Much of this content was created under the impression that young minds would be their main consumer; but should this not act as even more motivation to assess the content that is directly impacting the perspectives of young people?
Isn’t it about time that we stop perceiving animation as an inferior form of storytelling and instead fight for progressiveness in these works rather than disregarding them as only superficial enough for shallow minds to comprehend?
This blog was created on the very true premise that animation is not commonly being discussed in a serious manner. Many films, songs, and video games are often analyzed for their deeper messages, but animation is often excluded from this conversation. So as someone who enjoys animated works and who believes without a doubt that animation can be very complex, I would like to contribute to the tiny fraction of cyberspace that discusses animation critically.
Consider this a formal invitation to join in on the conversation.