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Cartoons glamorizing stereotypical gender roles


In my blog post, I am going to talk about two very famous cartoons that show and glorify stereotypical gender roles. My focus will be on two cartoons, Shinchan and Doraemon, and how they portray stereotypical gender roles. Both of these cartoons are extremely famous among children, and these cartoons show children how a mother should do the domestic work and a father should work outside the home, putting in their minds that this is the normal way to live.



Looking at the cartoon Shinchan, we see how Shinchan’s father (Hiroshi) is seen going to work, not helping Shinchan's mother (Mitsae) with any housework. Rarely in the cartoon is he seen doing housework; he only does housework when Mitsae is not at home or is not well. Showing that men only do housework when women are nowhere to be seen. We also see in the cartoon that Hiroshi is seen working in his office every day and coming back home late at night. On Sunday (which is his day off from the office), he is seen just sleeping and watching TV, not helping his wife with any housework at all. Again showing the stereotypical gender role, that men, if at home, will never help their wives, no matter what.


Coming to Shinchan's mother (Mitsae), we see that she is always seen in the kitchen: she wakes up early to make breakfast, she makes lunch and dinner, she cleans the house and gives food to the dog (Shiro), she washes the dishes, she washes the clothes, all the housework is done by Mitsae, the food shopping is done by her, and she takes care of Shinchan and Himawari too. Showing that this is only a woman’s work. So the question is, when will they stop showing stereotypical gender roles in cartoons?



Now looking at the famous Japanese cartoon Doraemon, we see that the same pattern of stereotypical gender roles is visible. Nobita’s mother is seen cooking, cleaning, making food, and shopping, while Nobita’s dad is just seen going to work in the morning and then coming back from work at night; nowhere is he seen doing shopping for the house, cleaning, or cooking. This shows that even in cartoons, housework is considered women's work only. Not only this, Nobita’s mother is only seen as a good housewife, and all the decisions she makes are only related to the domestic sphere, whereas all the big decisions and decision-making is done by Nobita’s dad.



Not only this, Shizuka in the cartoon is portrayed to be a good wife in the future, showing that her only dream is to get married and be a housewife, despite being an excellent student, we don’t see her focusing on getting any jobs in the future; the cartoon just depicts how Shizuka is going to be a good wife to Nobita, and that’s it.

We also see that Jiyan and Sunio's families are also reinforcing the same stereotypical gender roles. Where the father works and makes the decisions of the family and the mother is portrayed as a good housewife who does the domestic work “happily”.



Not only this, we also see that in both cartoons, women are objectified in various ways. In Doraemon, Shizuka is always objectified by Nobita. Furthermore, Jiyan’s younger sister is also objectified in the cartoon, as she is a little chubby. For example, when Nobita sees his future and sees he is marrying Jiyan's sister, he freaks out, but when he sees he is marrying Shizuka, he likes his future, showing that men only want “beautiful” women. In Shinchan also, Shinchan and his dad objectify many women.


So I believe these cartoons are very problematic, as they glamorize stereotypical gender roles and objectify women. The impact these cartoons will have on children will result in them not acknowledging a change in gender roles and will think that these stereotypical gender roles are the only normal ones, and they will also think objectifying women is normal. These cartoons can have a devastating impact on children, as they are really problematic in many ways.


What do you all think? Should children be allowed to watch cartoons like these? Also, do you guys find these cartoons problematic? Your thoughts are appreciated.


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8 Comments


Mariam
Mariam
Dec 01, 2023

This is so insightful! I never realized this representation was so apparent, maybe because i internalized it while watching Doraemon growing up. I think this is especially harmful because Doraemon was one of the few foreign cartoons that was dubbed in Hindi that gained the most popularity in the subcontinent, and its influence was massive.

As for whether children should be allowed to watch cartoons like these, it's essential for parents to be aware of and monitor the content their children consume. Engaging in conversations about the representation of gender roles in these cartoons and providing alternative media that portrays diverse and empowering roles for both genders can help mitigate the potential negative effects.

How do you think this inaccurate…

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Your blog post on the portrayal of gender roles in "Shinchan" and "Doraemon" is a timely and insightful analysis! Growing up, many of us watched these cartoons without a second thought about the underlying messages they were conveying. However, with a more critical lens, it's evident how these shows have perpetuated stereotypical gender roles and even objectification, particularly of female characters. Regarding the responsibility for such representations, it's a complex issue. While media creators do have a significant role in shaping content, they often reflect the societal norms prevalent at the time of creation. As audiences, we also play a role in perpetuating these norms by uncritically consuming such content. This calls for a collective effort from content creators, audiences,…

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This was an excellent analysis on the two cartoons. As a child, I myself used to watch these a lot especially Doraemon and this was one of the questions that always bothered me. However, its also a fact that these cartoons have been around for several decades, and the same episodes are streamed even now. Do you think that if they create new episodes now there will be a noticeable evolution in the portrayal of gender roles considering the backlash that creators now face?

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Well, I think that if new episodes are made of these cartoons and they show a noticeable change in the portrayal of gender roles, I believe it will receive more backlash than approval. That’s because, for decades, children have been loving the cartoons for the way they portray different genders. If, for example, Shizuka’s character is changed and they show her as a career-oriented woman who wants to have a job in the future, I don’t think children will like it the way they like it now, and children might as well stop watching it. So, I don’t think that creators will change anything about the way they portray characters in these two cartoons; I think it will remain the…

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This was a really interesting read. I completely agree with your analysis on how such cartoons perpetuate the normalization of stereotypical gender roles that is hugely problematic within itself. While watching Doraemon as a kid, I remember how Nobita's mom would be fully involved in his life, while his father was completely unaware of whatever was happening in the house. This also ties in with one of the approaches towards media, i.e. the 'Reflective Approach to Media Representation', which we had previously studied in our class, wherein the media reflects whatever is prevalent in the society. But my question to you is, linking this argument back to Doraemon, I feel that the cartoon has tried to represent the normative gender…


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Well, I agree with you. I do get your point that cartoons like Doreamon and Shinchan are showing what is prevalent in our society, but I do think that the blame for showing such things in cartoons, such as objectification of women and glorifying traditional gender roles, should go to the producers. Because firstly, these things have been present in our society for decades and will be to in the future. Such a large society, I don’t think, can be blamed, because this is in our society for decades now, but producers who are making cartoons and glorifying traditional gender roles and romanticizing objectification of women should be blamed, because by showing this, they are showing the audience at large…

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Mahnoor Nasir
Mahnoor Nasir
Nov 26, 2023

I used to love watching Doraemon as a kid with my cousins and friends. It was a fun time, and nobody at that time pointed out any issues. However later, I realized that Doraemon has some problems, especially when it comes to identifying stereotypes. The character Shizuka is often objectified, and it seems like a "win" for the three boys. Similarly, the show also sticks to traditional gender roles, where boys are adventurous and strong, while girls are more nurturing and involved in domestic chores. Moms are always shown doing housework and helping their kids with academics or being more invested in the kid’s lives, their social circle etc, while dads aren't invested at all. I think it's great for…

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Yes, I totally agree with you. I think children should be able to watch cartoons like these. When I was young, I would watch these cartoons all the time, and I loved watching them. They were fun and exciting to watch, but no one at that time told me that these cartoons also had problematic elements within them, such as objectifying women and showing stereotypical gender roles. So, I grew up with it as being considered something normal, so I believe that sure, children should be allowed to have fun and enjoy these cartoons, but parents should be near them when children are seeing these cartoons because it can actually have a devastating impact on children’s mindset. But yes, you…

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