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Why Scar’s British accent in 'The Lion King' might be a bad thing for your child


March 13, 2018

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Cartoon villains often have foreign accents, and that might be sending a bad message to children, according to The Atlantic.

Sociolinguist Calvin Gidney, an associate professor in child study and human development at Tufts University, told The Atlantic that he was always struck by the villainous Scar’s accent in “The Lion King.” Why was it different from Mufasa’s voice when the two were supposed to be brothers?

Gidney unmasked a “disturbing pattern in film,” according to The Atlantic. Villains often have foreign accents.

“I thought it was really disturbing that it was necessary to ‘take back the jungle’ from the British-sounding evil lion, plus the African American-sounding and Latino-sounding hyenas.”

Gidney, along with Julie Dobrow, a senior lecturer at Tufts, worked on a study that found most heroes have an American accent while villains tend to have British accents.

Language issues like these can lead to children misunderstanding how to treat people with different accents.

“What’s really important is to be able to make your children into media-literate viewers,” Dobrow said. “If a parent or sibling or caregiver is there with a child watching television or a film, this ... can make anything into an educational experience.”

Read more at The Atlantic.

In addition to Disney villains, Disney princesses may also have a negative impact on girls and their futures. According to BYU research, girls who embrace “princess culture” and their corresponding stereotypes may limit themselves from succeeding in the world.

"Feminine behavior can be great on so many dimensions, like being kind and nurturing," lead author Sarah Coyne, an associate professor of human development in the Brigham Young University's School of Family Life, told the Deseret News. "But girls can be limited by stereotypes in a number of ways. They can think they can't do well in math and science or they don't want a career or choose not to take risks or explore or do new things, for fear they're not feminine enough or they'll get dirty."

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