Date of Award
Dr. River Vooris
Dr. Sarah Rowley
Though there has been a long history of LGBTQ+ representation across various forms of media, cartoons are uniquely suited to counter hegemonic teachings that privilege heteronormativity. Consuming media with LGBTQ+ characters not only has the potential to shape attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community and make them more positive, but cartoons have the unique power to teach children important lessons that they do not learn in school, including narratives about queerness. In the absence of discussions about LGBTQ+ identities in the classroom, children overwhelmingly end up priviling heterosexuality in their interactions. As such, cartoons then have the power to counter these teachings and portray queerness through their whimsical animation and themes about struggling against the masses. This thesis will analyze the sapphic representation in five animated children’s cartoons, The Legend of Korra, Steven Universe, Adventure Time, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and The Owl House, ultimately finding that this representation is crucial in the current anti-gay political climate to counter dominant cultural norms that favor heterosexuality.
Storz, Olivia, "How Love Ought to Be: The Power of Sapphic Representation in Animated Children’s Cartoons" (2022). Honor Scholar Theses. 182.