Current characters in children's entertainment media illustrate a growing trend of representations that challenge or subvert traditional notions of gender and sexuality. From films to picture books to animated television series, children's entertainment media around the world has consistently depicted stereotypically traditional gender roles and heterosexual relationships as the normal way that people act and engage with one another. Heroes, Heroines, and Everything in Between: Challenging Gender and Sexuality Stereotypes in Children's Entertainment Media examines how this media ecology now includes a presence for nonheteronormative genders and sexualities. It considers representations of such identities in various media products (e.g., comic books, television shows, animated films, films, children's literature) meant for children (e.g., toddlers to teenagers). The contributors seek to identify and understand characterizations that go beyond these traditional understandings of gender and sexuality. By doing so, they explore these nontraditional representations and consider what they say about the current state of children's entertainment media, popular culture, and global acceptance of these gender identities and sexualities.
CarrieLynn D. Reinhard is associate professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Dominican University.
Christopher J. Olson is Ph.D. student in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee with a media, cinema, and digital studies concentration.