Family Dynamics in Gravity Falls [OWLS August Blog Tour: Bloodlines]

Everyone has their own experience with and definition of family –some positive, some negative. In the media, however, we often only see certain portrayals such as a positive family with one mom, one dad, and children, or a broken family who all work together to change their ways in the end. In his hit animated series Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch tackles the complicated issues that shape families and addresses the fact that not all families are ideal, but that doesn't make them bad...

Tropes: When You’re Fairly Certain You’ve Seen These Odd Parents Before

Anybody that watches cartoons or anime is familiar with today's topic: the trope. Tropes act as a visual way for the creator of a work to quickly and easily convey a concept to their audience. They can take many forms-- a figure of speech, a character type, a plot device, a location or location type, a pattern of storytelling, a sub-plot. If you've seen the concept before, it is most likely a trope. Let's take a look at a few examples of tropes found in Butch Hartman's The Fairly Odd Parents.

Eight Literary Allusions in Cartoons: Celebrating National Book Lover’s Day

It's National Book Lover's Day, an official-unofficial holiday celebrating literacy and books. People often mistakenly believe that real readers only read novels, especially the literary classics such as The Scarlet Letter or Oliver Twist. That's not strictly true. Whether you read comics or novels, literary classics or fantasy, you are a reader. Books have been … Continue reading Eight Literary Allusions in Cartoons: Celebrating National Book Lover’s Day

Allusions: A Literary Niche

When we talk, we often make references to popular culture in order to convey information quickly. If a person says “Sam acts like such a Romeo,” they mean that Sam is a romantic person. Calling the internet a Garden of Eden shows that the internet is a plentiful place that fills the needs of its users. We don’t usually stop to explain these references to our listeners; we assume that they have prior knowledge on the subject and thus understand. These references are called allusions, and they appear in many elements of pop culture, including video games...

Mirrors in Wandering Son: Navigating Visual Gender Norms [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mirrors]

Being transgender is tough. Every stage of the long, multi-step transition process contains sharp twists and turns, as well as hoop after hoop that people must jump through just to be themselves. On top of it all, trans individuals have to overcome discrimination and social rejection, which can put them in very real danger of … Continue reading Mirrors in Wandering Son: Navigating Visual Gender Norms [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mirrors]

Theme Delivery Service

Themes give creative works their personality. You can’t play a video game, read a comic, or watch a show without running into some sort of theme. When romance blossoms in a particular shoujo anime, or a character proves that staying true to yourself works better than faking your personality, you’ve got theme. For a deeper understanding of this literary device, let’s take a look at the 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service...

Pride in Pop Culture: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Visibility(Part 4)

Tisibility matters, and can make a huge difference in a person’s understanding and acceptance of themselves as well as positive cultural shifts in how people perceive the LGBTQ+ community. Media representation can act as a double-edged sword, having positive or negative effects on a marginalized community depending on how the creator uses it. In honor of Pride Month and to celebrate...

Finding LGBTQ+ Pride in Pop Culture (Part 3)

In recognition of this colorful month, I’ve put together a miniseries recognizing different creative works helping to raise LGBTQ+ visibility. The more that mainstream media includes our voices, the stronger our voices grow. Visibility helps make our movement...

Pop Culture and LGBTQ+ Visibility (Part 2)

One of the biggest concerns for the LGBTQ+ community involves visibility and positive representation in the media. Wider representation benefits the movement, as well as allowing individual members of the community (especially youth) to see themselves portrayed positively in the world around...

Raising LGBTQ+ Visibility Through Pop Culture (Part 1)

One of the biggest concerns for the LGBTQ+ community involves visibility and positive representation in the media. Wider representation benefits the movement, as well as allowing individual members of the community (especially youth) to see themselves portrayed positively in the world around them. I wanted to start the month off with a post highlighting various creative works that contribute to this visibility. In my selection process, I tried to choose works that represented a wide variety...