This thesis examines the role cartoons play as symbolic myths which reflect and recreate contemprary gender beliefs in the minds and behavior of children. These particular views of gender are absorbed by children also because cartoons function as childrearing vehicles for enculturation. As such, cartoons integrate children with other members of their culture by shaping their attitudes and activites or, personality. Theories which help define American gender and scholar who discuss myth as a tool for enculturation are also reviewed in this paper. The research accompanying this study included viewing three specific cartoons, the Smurfs, Jem, and the Thundercats, and interviewing thirty-five elementary students. Results shows that cartoons embody and invent ideal aspects of American gender in children's realities. THis study also pointed out that children's developing gendered personalities integrate with American culture's personality structure as a whole.


Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150



© Copyright 1989 Brian H. Roff