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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

11 cartoon characters who buck stereotypes

Compiled by Herb Scribner, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Tue, July 22 3:50 p.m. MDT

 Here's a look at 11 different cartoon characters who didn't follow in the footsteps of their stereotypes.

Here's a look at 11 different cartoon characters who didn't follow in the footsteps of their stereotypes.

(Deseret News Archives)

It’s Saturday morning. What are you doing?

If you’re a parent, you’re probably watching cartoons with your kid. And if you’re a kid, you’re probably seeing what antics Spongebob is getting into this week — though that may not exactly be healthy for you, research has found.

But no mater the long-term effects of cartoons, early morning TV shows do have an impact on children, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development of the University of Washington in Seattle, told CNN.

"The point of this study and a lot of other research in media is that what your kids watch is as important as how much they watch. It's not just about turning off the television, it's about changing the channel," Christakis said.

This shows that what your kids watch impacts what they think in the future, which places even more importance on the kinds of messages our children take in daily from the media.

As a result, we decided to put together a list of cartoon characters that have bucked the trend when it comes to gender stereotypes throughout history — something that kids have even noticed.

Here are 12 of our favorites that have diverted from the common conception:

Charlotte Pickles — “Rugrats”

Charlotte Pickles, Angelica's mom, might as well have had her phone attached directly to her ear. She was always busy working and being the boss, which isn’t exactly easy for women, the Harvard Business Review found.

Chas Finster — “Rugrats”

Father to young Chuckie, Chas Finster bucked the trend of the single-parent stereotype. Statistics show that most single parents are single mothers, though this has shifted in recent years as more single fathers are coming into the fray, the Pew Research Center found.

Patti Mayonnaise — “Doug”

She was the love of Doug Funnie’s life, but she was also one heck of an athlete — hitting home runs and sinking baskets like it was her job. This bucks the stereotype of male athletes being common in high school and elementary school, even though women in high school sports have risen considerably in the last couple of decades.

Dr. Hutchison — “Rocko’s Modern Life”

Women have been gaining ground in the dentistry industry, but they still fall far behind men in the field, recent research has shown. Given that “Rocko’s Modern Life” came out in the 1990s, Dr. Hutchison’s role shows that the stereotype of men being dentists was already being debunked years ago.

"The Powerpuff Girls"

Yes, there are many female comic book readers, but the hero actually wearing the cape and cowl is usually a man. So “The Powerpuff Girls” put that stereotype to rest, showing that three young lasses could tackle the evil groups that tried to destroy the world.

“Sailor Moon”

“Sailor Moon” — a popular Japanese anime show that was re-dubbed into English — has been spreading feminist values on the American public as the heroines looked to stop evildoers from destroying the world around them.

“Sofia the First”

Sofia is the latest Disney princess to sweep the hearts and minds of young girls everywhere. How is she bucking the trend? Simple: she’s younger than the other Disney princesses, many of whom are in their teenage years.

The Scooby Gang

The friends and their dog that solved mysteries defied a lot of stereotypes. Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby all had personalities and traits that went against the grain. Here’s how one blogger put it: Fred, the jock, was nice and intelligent; Velma, who was nerdy, was a leader and brave; Daphne was attractive, but was capable and smart; Shaggy was spry and an athlete, yet really mellow; and Scooby, despite being scared, didn’t want you as a viewer to be afraid.

Funny enough, the Scooby gang actually has been linked to stereotypes of different Massachusetts colleges.

Goofy — “A Goofy Movie”

Much like Chas Finster, Goofy of Mickey Mouse fame once had to take his son, Max, on a long-distance, cross-country journey. There was no mention of a mother, showing yet another single-parent stereotype debunked.

Elsa and Anna — “Frozen”

When “Frozen” came out in 2013, one of the biggest compliments the film got was that it showed Disney princesses don’t necessarily have to have a prince at their side. In fact, they can stand alone.

“For a Disney heroine, finding empowerment in her own feminine physicality, for herself and not the prince, is revolutionary,” wrote Melissa Leon for The Daily Beast.

Mike Wazowski — “Monster’s University”

Ah, the hero, the leader, the star, Mike Wazowski. Common stereotype might be that he would succeed and win at the end of the day. But, as Deseret News National pointed out earlier this year, Wazowski’s failure bucked the trend of the lead character always winning in movies.

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com

Twitter: @herbscribner

Recommended
1. sid 6.7
Holladay, UT,
July 22, 2014

Other than Scooby Do and Goofy I didn't know a one of them.

I'm old.