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Cartoon and gender: Masculinities in SpongeBob

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This article reports on a study that deals with how male gender is constituted in SpongeBob SquarePants, one of the most widely watched cartoons on TV in Brazil. By analysing three episodes, the research team sought to understand the effects of meaning related to masculinity and how this signification is constructed in the interplay between visual and sound systems. Another objective was to understand the significations children elicit from this syncretic text. Both the cartoon episodes and the children's interpretations were analysed based on the discursive semiotics theory, in studies regarding cartoons and contemporary studies concerning childhood and cultural production. The results indicate that discussing in school what is portrayed and how genders are represented in cartoons is a way of denaturalizing the process of the constitution of men and women in our culture.
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Keywords: art education; cartoons; childhood; gender; television

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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