Back Olatz Aranceta-Reboredo publishes in Journal for Critical Animal Studies

Olatz Aranceta-Reboredo publishes in Journal for Critical Animal Studies

Exploring Nonhuman Animal Representation in Children’s Media: A Critical Literature Review 




In contemporary times, children tend to establish stronger emotional connections with nonhuman animals through their depictions in various forms of media rather than through direct experiences in real-life interactions. These portrayals of nonhumans play a decisive role in the cultural canonization of speciesist ideologies and anthropocentric perspectives. This paper aims to contribute to critical animal studies literature on portraying nonhumans in children-oriented content. To this end, this paper conducts a literature review of the pre-existing research on nonhuman animal representations in media for children from a critical animal studies perspective and an anti-speciesist stance. In order to avoid a human-centric perspective of nonhuman representations, the search criteria exclude the analyses that focus on the interpretation of animals as symbols and embodiment of human matters. Overall, nonhuman animals are represented in connection to human issues, within an instrumental continuum and happily “consenting” to being used, and their representations often undergo a process of excessive cutification. Moreover, the persistent gendering of nonhumans includes the projection of human heteronormativity onto nonhumans. Predominantly, the acknowledgment of their individuality depends on the degree of stereotyping and whether the anthropomorphized traits include voice and naming. The representations identified in the literature have been classified and put together to aid future research on the matter by offering a recollection of main representations with an anti-speciesist approach and a diagram that might serve as a tool for analysis. keywords: Media for children; speciesism; representation of animals; animals in media; anthropomorphizing; disneyfication.

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