Is children’s popular culture mere child’s play, unworthy of critical thought or questioning? Such a view may lead adults to miss problematic patterns in children’s culture such as gender role stereotypes and racial bias. In her presentation Rebecca Hains makes the case that children’s popular culture deserves our attention.
Backed by industries worth billions, children’s popular culture is not just a source of corporate profit. It is also an inescapable socializing force for children, teaching them often-problematic lessons about the world and their place in it. Children’s products are more gendered now than they were years ago, reflecting a backlash against feminist progress. According to Hains, raising children with values and perspectives different from those promoted by the toy and media industries is a challenge, requiring our critical engagement.
Hains is Professor of Media and Communication at Salem State University, holding a Ph.D. in Mass Media and Communication from Temple University.
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