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Being almost two years deep into this pandemic that's keeping (some of) us
inside, I'm sure it feels like any house that is home to one or more children can easily seem like a "Loud House". In fact, I'm sure that's the case. However, this Loud house is a tad bit different. In the Nickelodeon animated series The Loud House, we watch as 11 year old Lincoln Loud navigates life with his best friend, Clyde, his parents, and his ten sisters Lori, Leni, Luna, Luan, Lynn, Lucy, Lola, Lana, Lisa, and Lily. Hows that for a tongue twister? Eleven kids, eleven personalities, and countless reasons why this show is an amazing one for not just children, but their parents as well.
Regardless of your interests or personality, there is a character you can see yourself in. Which is especially amazing for young children.This element is what I love most about the show because, as we should all know, representation matters. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but in the age of mass media, never seeing people that look like us or share our interests can be harmful. Yes, of course, we exist whether we see our likeness on our screens or not, but in a way, it confirms for us that both who and how we are, is normal. And that's exactly what The Loud House is doing.
As an adult, it's pretty easy for us to not expect much from children's television. Most of us just want it to keep them entertained, which is fair, especially considering current times. Don't get me wrong, a lot of children's programming is designed to help younger children learn. Dora taught me, my older sisters, and even my niece Spanish.The cartoon Cyber Chase definitely made learning math fun, and my favorite aardvark, Arthur, surely taught me some communication skills. It's truly wonderful. However, children are so receptive, that it makes sense for us to begin to teach them more.
At this point I'm sure you're wondering what exactly I'm speaking of, or maybe you have some sort of idea. Well let's finally get in to it! For one, gender roles/norms. Many of us don't realize it, but the fact is that in our lives, we are often conditioned to expect certain behaviors from certain people. Like most young girls, yes, I learned that boys were stupid and had cooties. While boys learned that they're stronger, only girls liked pink, all girls played with dolls, etc. You know, all the basic seedlings of sexism that one day become a beautiful tree of patriarchy. I'm sure that most of us, both men and women, in our adult lives have come across a person with, what we consider to be, an insane view on a topic. While the initial shock is expected, I've come to learn that these people have usually been taught to believe these things as a child, and just carried those thoughts into adulthood. So how much can we truly expect from or be upset with an adult who may think that only green apples exist, when since the time they were born they watched shows with only green apples and their family only ever gave them green apples? Yes, there comes a time in our lives when its up to us to unlearn all of the misinformation our brains have soaked up over the years, but it is a process. One way to avoid this? We start teaching children that although they may only see green apples, red and yellow ones exist too, and they are still apples.
Let's kick off the gender role destruction with Lincoln's dad, Lynn Loud Sr. As an avid television watcher in not just my childhood, but adult life as well, I can attest that most mainstream tv shows follow gender norms in one way or another. The mom cooks and cleans for the family, the dad is often the bread winner, etc. Although minor, one of the things I appreciate about The Loud House, is that the dad is the one cooking in almost all the episodes. Again, very minor, but we live in a society where we are lead to believe and taught that the upkeep of household duties and chores should be performed by women/girls. And speaking of girls, we all know the stereotypes, right? Girls are sensitive, girls are catty, girls are weak, girls should be feminine, girls should do this and that, and the list goes on. What I love about the Loud girls, is that none of them fall a victim to these harmful stereotypes.
While I enjoy all of the Loud sisters, I do have my top three and they are Lisa, Lana, and Lucy. While all of the sisters show the beautiful diversity of girls, these three embody that to me perfectly. Again, as young girls we are told to be "feminine". We are told we need to wear dresses and look pretty at all times. Lana Loud, however, does everything but. She loves everything dirt/mud, gross, and rough. Yes, shes still a girl, Yes, shes still cute. Yes, she can have fun doing things that aren't considered "girly". Often in our society young girls are also lead to believe that their looks are more important than their brain. Girls are told to remain silent as to not intimidate boys and society makes them think that they need to choose beauty over intelligence. This brings us to Lisa Loud, a certified genius. Young girls watching her see that being smart is cool and its important. Lastly we have Lucy, who I feel breaks the most important misconception of all. Not even just for girls, but everyone. And that's that not everyone is attracted to their opposite sex. We have only begun to see a significant change in representation for the LGBTQIA community in cartoons, TV shows, and movies, and still, many adults are not even able to grasp the importance of doing so. Lucy being a lesbian (possibly bisexual) is a major win and progressive step and will aid in ending heteronormativity. By teaching and exposing children to all kinds of people and normalizing it from a young age, acceptance will be much more widespread.
While Lucy asking her crush out was a large and important moment in the Series, it was far from the first time The Loud House used its platform to educate children on sexuality. From the first season the show began, we had been introduced to two other characters who I absolutely adore and appreciate, and they are Howard and Harold Mcbride. The two fathers of Lincoln's best friend , Clyde. These two are actually what sparked my interest in the cartoon and made me continue to watch. When I first saw Clyde's dads on the show, I must admit, I was taken aback. I immediately brought up the TV guide to see what channel this cartoon was on. Surely it had to be an adult cartoon on an adult network. When I realized that it was in fact Nickelodeon, and that a children's cartoon on one of the largest children's television networks decided to include a gay couple, I felt hope for the future. Some may be wondering how a cartoon can give anyone hope for the future, but its because of who the cartoon is intended for. At that moment I knew that millions of children will now be growing up with media that is designed to teach them, rather than just condition them. It gave me hope that one day this country will be run by adults who were able to see themselves positively represented as a child. Hope, because I knew one day, the people making decisions were going to make decisions that benefit all people. Not just people their color, their weight, their sexuality, etc. While it may seem like just a cartoon, its impact will will be felt one day in the real world. So next time you or your children have some free time,if you haven't already, take a trip to The Loud House. Everyone is welcome there.