By Flynn Geraghty, associate editor-in-chief

The movies I watched when I was a little girl were fairly standard and formulaic: “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” I could go on. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, and happily ever after ensues shortly thereafter. There was very little deviation, and while a lot of those movies are pretty solid and overall wonderful films, they weren’t exactly doing anything super radical with their storytelling.

However, a little while ago, I went with my aunt to go see the movie “Zootopia.” It was then that I realized how far children’s media had come since my day.

“Zootopia” is known among many of my friends as “the furry movie.” And granted, while some of it does seem to pander to furries, such as Shakira’s fursona, it is much more than that. At its core, “Zootopia” is about a bunny who teams up with a fox in order to solve a mystery, which seems par for the course for a kids’ movie. However, the film uses different types of animals, specifically predator and prey, to take extremely bold strides in displaying the negativity of racism, sexism and stereotyping to its mainly younger audience.

After I saw the movie, I realized how nowadays kids are surrounded by a plethora of positive, progressive TV shows and movies, which will not only impact the way they act now, but the future of the free world

Now, you might be saying, “Come on, Flynn. How could a bunch of silly stuff for kids possibly do anything that drastic?”

Well, take the Cartoon Network show “Steven Universe.” Out of the four main cast members, three are women and two of them were in lesbian relationships at some point (heck, one of them is a lesbian relationship). In fact, several of Cartoon Network’s female characters are lesbians, such as Marceline and Princess Bubblegum from “Adventure Time” and EJ and Sue Randell from “Clarence.”

By exposing kids to the idea of people being LGBTQA, they are going to establish it in their mindset of what is normal. When I was younger, there were never any LGBTQA people in the programs I watched, which made it more difficult for me to understand it when I got older. I had only seen heterosexual couples up until that point, so it took me a lot longer to get the picture than if I had been told from the get-go, “Hey, these people exist too.”

This generation of kids is going to grow up into adults that accept the fact that LGBTQA people exist and that racism and sexism are bad, which will most likely lead to a more progressive society overall.
OK, granted, some kids might not take all this to heart or might even have racist or sexist parents that teach them their bad morals, which means there will most likely still be backward-looking people in the future. These TV shows and movies aren’t completely changing the world, but, they’re getting the ball rolling, which isn’t too bad for a bunch of silly stuff for kids.