Human Rights: Policies & Violations
Dr. Megan Parry
Sociology and Anthropology
Children's movies; villains; criminal justice; punishment; forgiveness; redemption
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Research on children’s movies has yielded important findings on messaging about gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, (dis)ability, mental illness, aging, and even death. All of this research has recognized the important role children’s movies play in children’s upbringing and informal education. Not only do children’s movies reflect the commonly-held values of the time, but they impart these values to their audience. Children, as the target audience of these movies, are extremely susceptible to absorbing these values and messages.
My research examines what messages children’s movies impart about villains. It includes a content-analysis of 80 full-length animated movies released by Disney, DreamWorks, and Warner Bros. between 2000 and 2018. The study focuses specifically on the villains’ morality, their “fate” at the end of the movie, and the possibilities, if any, for their redemption. This research theorizes how depictions of antagonists may shape children’s future attitudes toward offenders and criminal justice, and grapples with important questions in criminology and philosophy about restorative justice and forgiveness.