Workshop: LGBTQ Children’s Television

As I mentioned in the last class, here is a lo-fi version of the workshop I would have done. Enjoy, and feel free to comment on the questions! Happy Holidays!!


Steven Universe (2018): first gay wedding televised on a children’s cartoon / Andi Mack (2019): Disney’s first gay character and coming out scene

Articles and links: Queer Kid Stuff – an independent Youtube show: “LGBTQ+ vids for kids! I’m your host Lindsay and with the help of my best stuffed friend, Teddy, we’ll be teaching you what gays mean, what LGBT stands for, what’s up with marriage equality and so much more!” GLAAD annual “Where We Are On TV” Report


Discussion Questions:

1. When discussing whether queer content is ok in children’s tv, it’s often a conversation around “appropriateness”, if it’s “wholesome”, even if the characters in question are doing nothing different from straight/cis characters. Queer content is often sexualized even when it is not in any way. Why do you think this is, and why and how do you think it came about? How does this contribute to the internalized homophobia queer children might experience?

2**. Many queer creators writing about queer characters face much higher standards in their work than straight creators do. What responsibility do creators have to share their own experience, when the media they make is for children? Do they have an obligation to teach with what they made, and does everyone? In what way do these higher standards manifest, and how do they contribute to the lack of and missed opportunities for queer creators even as LGBTQ characters are increasing? 

3. When did you first feel you saw yourself (your entire self, or only a piece of your experience) represented in a piece of television? Was it as a child or an adult? Has it still not happened? 

4. Looking at children’s media, it is common for creators and critics to take a long view approach. While things have improved over the years, especially the last handful, it has happened slowly – in many ways, more slowly than in media for adults. Recently there has been pushback against this, with many saying change should happen faster. What are your thoughts, and how do you see things changing over the next few decades in children’s television? 

**as a queer woman who writes fiction professionally, this is something I’m always thinking about.

Bengi’s Workshop – November 14

Hi everyone,

I wanted to make a brief introduction to my part of the workshop session tomorrow. I will look at those two questions while we look at some excerpts from the interviews I conducted with parents. I will bring in those texts tomorrow but meanwhile, if you have time, can you think about these questions:

What does how parents talk about the way their children are disagreeing with them, or resisting to them, about their out of school time arrangements tell us?

What does the way in which parents evoke their children’s voices saying “I want to play” or broadly wanting to do their own thing, indicate about ideas on how adult-child and parent-child relationship is constructed and what kind of possibilities are imagined regarding how a child’s life must be lived?

If you have time, please also check these guiding authors, theories & frameworks for my inquiry:

Bronwyn, Davies (2014) Listening to Children: Being and Becoming, Routledge:
New York.
-Communities as ‘’emergent assemblages with multiple entry points, often
opposing lines of force’’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987)
-Emergent, intra-active moments are those that show one’s being open to the
not-yet-known, being open to be affected
-Community as encounters: good and necessary not collapsed into one
another (Badiou 2008)
Ramaekers and Suissa (2011) ‘Parents as ‘educators’: languages of education, pedagogy and ‘parenting’, Ethics and Education, 6,2. 197-212.
-The current trend that situates parents as responsible for ‘’stimulating and
taking responsibility for the intellectual development of their children’’ (Lareau
1989: 172) and therefore framing of parents and parenting in a language that
excludes ‘’the broader sense of what it means to be in a parent-child
-Parents becoming educators who are trying to reach particular learning
outcomes, a process during which the reason why this is done is left behind or
masked, ethical assumptions behind parent-child relationship is unquestioned
Katz, C. (2001) The state goes home: local hyper-vigilance of children and the global retreat of social reproduction, Social Justice, 23,3,47-56.
-Children are invested in with expectations of future outcomes, but the actors
who are responsible for this investment have changed, as the role has been
partitioned to the private sector and the private sphere from the state

See you all tomorrow,


On Childism et al

Hi all,

I took the direction of my questions from the Saguisag and Prick paper, but realise, after having had read the Wall piece, that much of what I asked can also be drawn from the material there. So, though I have specifically picked up on text from the former, feel free to reference either in your respective responses. As well, I am a lazy creature who doesn’t re-read her work. I apologise for any typographical errors.

From Saguisag and Prick

  • “Children make up roughly one-quarter of the global population, yet they are a political minority who are often neglected, exploited, and disenfranchised in many cultural settings (CIA Factbook).1
    • One the first day of class, we discussed some of the myriad ideas of how “child,” is defined. Reflecting on both our own beliefs in the class’ nascence, and the discussions from the literature we’ve read, has your idea of “child” changed? This paper suggests by reference that “under the age of 24” can be a determiner? Why do you think this is?
    • Can we or do we have, solidify our nebulous ideas of a child, distinct from childhood, and give it a firm definition or constraints? How should these delimiters be defined and applied? Then in relation to childhood, if we have defined a child, what should that childhood look like. Should these ideas of childhood be child specific, family specific, societal determinations?
    • It is worth asking then whether the CRC is a truly liberating and empowering institution, or if it expresses and idealizes a particular vision of childhood that is incommensurate with the experiences and desires of many children around the world.” Should (and/or are) the ideas of “the child” and “childhood,” (e.g. age, responsibilities, caretaker responsibility, etc) contextually or situationally contingent? –
  • Around the world, children are seen as too inexperienced and immature to be rights-bearing citizens and are thus often excluded from participating in civic, economic, and political spheres.”
    • If we have some agreement on the child and childhood (or not), then we can, in terms of these arguments, discuss the reaches of agency of, and authority over a child. Looking back to my last question about the ideas of childhood, and the spheres in which they can be structured, from where should the authority of agency extend – the parent? The school? The government?
    • The CRC attempts to address these injustices by articulating children’s rights in four main ways: survival rights (i.e., the right to life and basic needs); development rights (i.e., the right to education, play, and access to information); protection rights (i.e., the right to be shielded from neglect and exploitation); and participation rights (i.e., the right to free expression, to free assembly, and to join social organizations).” -Should these understandings of authority (or agency) be codified? Should there be some intervening authority of agency? By this, I mean, that in some sense, authorities tend to be reactive, to a perceived wrong, not generally proactive in establishing correct models.   –  Is this something that we want? Need? Are there already prescriptive models of childhood?
  • “As we see above, there are significant parallels between discourses of children’s literature and children’s rights.”
    • To what extent do you believe that this is a true/correct assertion? Why and how so?
    • Keeping in mind responses to, and your own ideas about the questions above, what is “child friendly language”?
    • In pondering the “hidden adult,” still thinking about our responses to some of these earlier questions, what role can and should would the child take in the formulation of text for children? Do you think that there exists a need for categories, whether distinct or inclusive of the pedagolical material, peculiar to children?

Meredith’s Questions: Wall & Saguisag and Prickett

1. In trying to make childism a discrete category, does Wall overlook opportunities a third wave of childhood studies would have to be more intersectional? How would you create a third wave that looks different from what is presented by Wall?

2. Wall discusses the use of media and children with platforms to really be listened to about important issues. Now we see this all the time – young climate change activists and survivors of school violence among many other things. While allowing that children deserve and are capable of being activists just as anyone is, how do we also create care and safety around work that is traumatizing even for adults at this stage of their lives? How does that care and safety inform or improve what’s available for activists at other stages of life? 

3. If the goal of Wall’s ideal version of childhood studies and philosophy is to allow for changing moral horizons throughout life/“moral play” and adaptation, how do we account for different styles of learning and understanding and ways of thinking – “competence” that may be neuroatypical – in a discussion based around a standardized idea of what morality is? 

4. How has the conversation about diversity in children’s literature become flattened or simplistic, as it prioritizes certain kinds of children and childhoods? What are some examples of children’s media that centers “child-oriented ideologies” in ways that might not be immediately apparent?

5. How would the children’s literature and criticism landscape look different, and maybe improved, by children’s literature not just for children but BY children? 

things of possible interest

I wanted to post about some things that might be of general interest to the class:

  1. Beasts of the Southern Wild (you can rent it a bunch of places like Prime, Youtube, etc, but it’s not on streaming anymore unfortunately) a 2012 movie with so many parallels to The Florida Project I felt remiss not to mention it – freeform childhood within poverty and an amazing young actor playing a young girl raised by a not traditionally “responsible” yet still loving parent, with more explicit magic than Florida Project but that same real life little represented marginalized community in the South, within this larger, magical feeling world. It’s really good!
  2. Someone – Jamie? – had asked about how certain books enter the curriculum canon in an early class, and while I can’t speak to the teaching side of that, on the publishing side it has to do with librarians and the somewhat controversial awards system. But one part of that that’s a big deal, and which has participation by kids, is the Texas Bluebonnet.
  3. Everyone probably knows about WNDB already but they’re cool and give out a lot of grant money for children’s lit related in and outside classroom stuff. Disability in Kidlit doesn’t update anymore, but that’s a resource I have more complicated opinions about, it’s at least a well-curated collection about the intersections of those two things.

Lu’s Questions—-You Can’t Say You Can’t Play


  1. Some of the children are the bosses who can decide who can play and who can’t, who is wanted and who is unwanted. Then the teacher has to deal with children like Clara, who is hidden in her cubby. What are the strategies proposed by Paley to deal with this type of situation?
  2. What are some examples of rejection in a classroom? Who was affected? The whole classroom or just the student who has been rejected?
  3. The understanding of other people’s perspectives being different from one’s own, requires flexible thinking that can be developed through socio-dramatic activities where children act out imaginary situations and stories and interact with each other, becoming different characters and pretending they are in different locations and times and trying to understand what’s going on in the minds of others. How important is that this type of activities and dynamics start early in the life of children to promote inclusion, diversity and empathy?
  4. Many of the children in Grade 4 believed that in order to the new rule :You can’t say you can’t play to be effective it needed to begin in the early grades. This is because  a few mentioned “it‟s too late to give us a new rule”and, “if you want a rule like that to work, start at a very early age” (p. 63). Consequently, Paley is convinced of two certainties: first, the rule is critical, and second, it must begin in the early years, such as kindergarten. Do you think that the reaction of children in Grade 4 is due to the powerful and progressive social hierarchies that are often developed in classrooms as children grow up?  Why is that?
  5. The younger children in grades 1 and 2 readily identified with the notion of “bosses” and “owners.” As she engaged in conversations with children in Grade 3 the habit of rejection became more public, and the children quickly identified those who were most often rejected. Some children in Grade 4 noted that exclusion is more noticeable and practiced more often among the female children in the class as one girl admits, “the boys accept themselves much more…we‟re definitely meaner to each other. A girl is more likely to tell another girl she can‟t play” (p. 59-60). Is rejection more common among girls? Why do you think this happens?

Genevieve’s Qs

The Florida Project:

The title of the film, “The Florida Project” reflects the name given to the early planning stages of what has become the walt disney world amusement park. In what ways do Moonee, Scooty, and Jancey assert their political agency amid the realities of capitalism and state surveillance?

What kind of daily political projects do Moonee, Scooty, Jancey, and the other kids create? How do the children move through, interact, navigate the Futureland and Magic Castle motels, strip malls, abandoned buildings, and stretches of highway in the off-brand disney landscape? What are the limits/constraints and possibilities of their everyday political creations?

What forms of care (and responsibility) are featured in the Florida Project? What are the differences between relational care (between people) and state care, such as the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Temporary Assitance for Needy Families (TANF)? What are the functions of state surveillance in Moonee and Halley’s lives? What does care look like between Moonee and Scooty? Moonee and Halley? What about the dynamic between Halley and Bobby? Bobby and the kids? What is the state’s role in “taking care and responsibility” of Halley and Moonee?

In what ways does the film challenge and/or reinforce aetonormative and childist perspectives of children?

The One You Get:

Tougaw explores his experiences/memories of infancy, childhood, and adolescence, often shifting to the neuroscientific lens through which to look at the genealogical and psychological inheritance from his biological and non-biological family alike. Born from a specific combination of his biological parents’ genes, potentially formatively neurologically influenced by his mother’s partners, and shaped by his life in various bedrooms, houses, trailers, neighborhoods, how does Tougaw assert (or conceive of) his sense of self? What function do categories of disability, disorder, and neurodivergence serve in his conception of self in relation to kin? (108-9)

As Jason Tougaw narrates his life throughout the book, he rarely, if ever, discloses his age. What other ways does Tougaw mark the passage of time and growth throughout his childhood and adolescence? What was your experience of reading a story about childhood (and family) that seems to resist referencing to age?

“Adolescents are sexual children. One minute they’re playing Marco Polo, and the next minute they’re sliming themselves up with Vaseline and jerking off competitively, or clinically, or clumsily, or dreamily.” (164) How does Tougaw (re)construct space to imagine children as sexual beings? What norms does he both acknowledge and challenge in his perspectives and memories of adolescent sex?

Rather unclear post….

Hello all,

I am so sorry to be so terribly vague. I haven’t a grand clue as to how to phrase my workshop interests cohesively – that is to say that I am certain that there is some intersection where the forthcoming thoughts shall meet, but I am not seeing it quite yet. Or at least well enough so that it shall make sense to a person who is not me. All this to say, I’ll just throw things out and see what lands.

Ta – Jamie

  • The exceptional child. Many parents believe that their children are “gifted” or “exceptional.” On the other end of this spectrum is the special needs child who has exceptional needs.
    • What do we mean by this?
      • Parents
      • Educators
      • Psychologists (behavioural, clinical, neuro, etc)
      • Sociologist
      • And so forth
    • Should these children be treated/taught differently than those who are within what would be considered normal range?
    • What is “normal”?
    • What do such appellations mean for these children in the context of their childhoods? What can readings scholarly/non-scholarly writings tell us about the experiences of these children?
      • Ethnography
      • Personal Stories
      • News accounts
      • Literature – fictional, non-fiction, memoirs
    • Has anyone any first-hand knowledge, anecdotal experience with exceptional children?
  • The Bilingual Child. Though the US hasn’t an official de jure language, the accepted de facto language of the state is American English. And…though there is no “standard English” per se,  there is some expectation of the confines of its speech, in pedagogy as well as in standard practice.
    • Should there be a standardised English?
      • In areas where there are different dialects, varieties, registers, etc, etc, etc, should the standard English be thought of the correct English?
      • Should other varieties of American English be standardised and taught in lieu of or in addition to accepted English (e.g. AAV)
    • There are English-Only movements across the US, where there is a protestation of, among other things, bilingual education (e.g. ESL).
      • Thoughts on this?
      • What about second languages being taught in schools?
        • Should this be eliminated? Expanded?
    • 1st Generation American Children, or those who immigrated early in their childhoods, often act as “language brokers” for parents who have not been able to manoeuvre the linguistic and concomitant social landscape of their adopted home.
      • What does this do for the child socially, psychologically
      • We have spent a great deal of time this semester speaking of “prematurity” regarding the child. Does this parent/child relationship speak to that issue?
    • Anyone have any first-hand or anecdotal experience with childhood bilingualism?
  • Language Acquisition – Just general ideas and interests about language acquisition, child language, and all that fall under that umbrella.