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Why is Animation Considered Childish?

ben marvazi 2020

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"Animation is often misunderstood as childish entertainment, but in reality, it has the power to touch hearts, provoke thoughts, and inspire imagination."

Walt Disney

At some point in your exploration of the vibrant world of animated films, series, and even advertising, you may have stumbled upon the question: why is animation considered childish? 

This stereotype of animation being associated primarily with childlike themes, juvenile content, and simplistic narratives is not only a misconception but also a restraint limiting our understanding and appreciation of this art form's depth. 

This perception, unfortunately, overlooks the manifold possibilities, the maturity of content, and the intricate storytelling techniques that modern animation can offer.

As we move further into this topic, our goal will be to dismantle this prevalent misconception and unravel the myriad ways in which animation caters not just to the young, but also to the young at heart, effectively making it an art form that transcends age boundaries.

So, let's journey together, delve into the heart of the matter, and decode why animation is often considered childish. Along the way, we will also uncover how this versatile medium continues to evolve, captivating audiences of all ages with its creativity, emotional depth, and innovative narratives.

Cover GIF by Grizzy and the Lemmings via GIPHY 

Time To Decipher: Why is Animation Considered Childish?

The Historical Context: Animation's Early Days

a scene from Mickey mouse where Mini and Micky are dancing together looking very happy

GIF by Mickey Mouse via GIPHY

To comprehend why animation is considered childish, it's vital to delve into the medium's historical context. When animation first surfaced in the entertainment industry, its primary target was children. 

The pioneering studios of the early 20th century, such as Walt Disney and Warner Bros, used the medium to create children-friendly content, bringing characters like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny to life. These animated figures swiftly became beloved icons, solidifying a strong connection between animation and children's entertainment in the minds of the audience.

Animation and Its Evolution: Beyond Child's Play

a scene BoJack Horseman lying in the sun on a Lilo with sunglasses on in the pool as the camera zoom out and shows a hotel

GIF by BoJack Horseman via GIPHY

Over the years, however, the animation industry has grown and matured, expanding its narrative spectrum far beyond children's stories. So why is animation still considered childish by some? It's a stereotype that's gradually changing as animation studios push the boundaries and explore mature themes and complex storylines.

Adult animated series like "BoJack Horseman," "Rick and Morty," and "The Simpsons" have captivated audiences with their incisive humor, layered narratives, and complex characters. These series have used animation as a tool to dissect and discuss various societal issues, proving that the medium can be as profound and engaging for adults as it is for children.

A Global Perspective: Animation Around the World

the main character from Attack on Titan, Eren Yeager smiling with the sky behind him

Attack On Titan Eren Jaeger GIF via GIPHY

The question, of why is animation considered childish, is primarily from a Western perspective. In other parts of the world, animation is embraced by a much wider age range. Japan's anime culture is a prime example of this.

Anime series and films cater to a broad demographic, offering a plethora of genres, from action-packed thrillers to deeply moving dramas. Shows like "Attack on Titan" and "Ghost in the Shell" have demonstrated the extent to which animation can explore mature themes and intricate plotlines. 

This divergence shows that the perception of animation as childish is not universal but more culturally and geographically influenced.

The Societal Impact of Animation: More than Entertainment

a scene from Pixar's Inside Out where all the characters are standing behind an architecture model and cheering and looking happy

GIF by Disney via GIPHY

Animation has a unique ability to inform, inspire, and influence. Its limitless possibilities for storytelling make it an ideal medium for communicating complex ideas and viewpoints.

Educational programs often employ animation to make learning more engaging and accessible. Shows like "Dora the Explorer" and "Sesame Street" have used animation effectively to educate children on a range of topics, from language learning to social skills.

In addition, many animations have tackled socially relevant themes, raising awareness and driving conversations about environmental issues, mental health, diversity, and more. For example, Pixar's "Inside Out" uses animation to explore the intricate world of human emotions, a concept that can be challenging for children and even adults to grasp.

Animation’s Power: Empathy and Understanding

a scene from the movie Up where Ellie Fredricksen is kissing Carl Fredricksen on the cheek and he smiles

GIF by celineb24 via Tenor

In exploring why animation is considered childish, we must also consider the unique power of animation to generate empathy and understanding. The medium's ability to bend reality, exaggerate expressions, and personify abstract concepts allows it to communicate emotions and experiences in a way that live-action cannot.

Take, for instance, the movie "Up." Through animation, it portrays the profound sense of loss and longing in a universally relatable manner, transcending age demographics. Animation’s capacity to create and communicate empathy challenges the notion that it is just for children, highlighting its value as a tool for conveying complex human experiences.

Animation as a Creative Outlet: Freedom and Innovation

a yellow character with a long face dancing around demonstrating the fun aspect of Why is Animation Considered Childish

GIF by Jason Clarke via GIPHY

Another perspective to consider in understanding why animation is considered childish is to examine it as a creative outlet. Animation allows for unrestricted freedom in terms of design, aesthetics, and narrative. It provides creators with a platform to showcase their innovation and creativity, challenging the norms of traditional filmmaking.

In animation, you can defy the laws of physics, create fantastical worlds, and bring inanimate objects to life. This creative freedom appeals to a wide array of artists, storytellers, and viewers, further debunking the notion that animation is solely for children.

Animation in Advertising: Engaging the Masses

two business men one sitting on a blue couch and the other one standing looking at his nails whilst screens of adverts of products are scrolling in front of them

GIF by Andrey Smirny via GIPHY

Today, animation is not just confined to TV shows and films. It's widely used in advertising, serving as an effective tool to engage audiences and convey brand stories. Animated advertisements often use humor, catchy tunes, and colorful visuals to grab attention and make lasting impressions.

From tech giants like Google and Apple to smaller startups, many companies are embracing animation to reach a broader audience and communicate complex products or ideas in a simplified, engaging manner. 

The wide usage and acceptance of animation in the advertising world further challenge the outdated belief of why animation is considered childish. It underscores the medium's potential in various professional fields, reaching beyond children to engage and influence adults.

Animation: The Future

a mushroom character with arms and legs and standing playing virtual reality and swinging the VR remotes around with a smile on its face

GIF by KuliRam via Tenor

Given the ongoing evolution and innovation within the animation industry, the future holds exciting possibilities. With the advent of technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), animation is poised to create even more immersive and varied experiences.

Animated films and series have begun experimenting with these technologies to enhance storytelling and provide more engaging experiences for viewers. This development is set to further challenge the stereotype of why animation is considered childish, pushing the medium into new territories that cater to all age groups.

Dispelling the Myth of Why is Animation Considered Childish 

a scene from South Park where Cartman is sitting at a table with his dad in a coffee shop and saying "All my friends seem so childish now, you know?"

GIF by southpark via Tenor

Understanding why animation is considered childish is critical for the industry's evolution. Animation is a versatile medium capable of exploring the human condition in unique and compelling ways. Its potential to entertain, educate, and inspire spans all age groups, and it's up to us to continue pushing these boundaries and encourage a broader appreciation of the art form.

If you're a budding animator or studio owner looking to navigate this exciting industry, consider joining our Animation Business Accelerator Program. You'll have access to a range of resources, including on-demand video lessons, live mentorship calls, and a supportive community of like-minded animators. 

Also, don't forget to check out our blog post on "How to Start an Animation Studio".

Together, let's challenge the misconception that animation is childish and demonstrate to the world that animation is a powerful and versatile medium, capable of inspiring and entertaining audiences of all ages!

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