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2015 Spring Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Community... has ended
Wednesday, April 22 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Superheroes and Villains Through the Eyes of Children in Western North Carolina

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Superheroes and villains have been around for decades and have continued to be an influential part of children’s lives. However, these superheroes and villains tend to be of very little diversity. I believe that race and gender minorities are under-represented in the comic industry and therefore I am interested in how this affects children’s perceptions. This study asks third and fifth grade students to create and illustrate a superhero and a villain. These drawings were analyzed based on gender, skin and costume color, super powers, and weaknesses amongst other criterion. Interviews were conducted with a random sample of students in an attempt to discover their illustration choices and what those choices mean. The heroes illustrated were mostly white, equally men and women, and wore mostly bright colors. The villains illustrated included more men than women, mostly white, and wore dark colors. These drawings correlate fairly well with most of the popular superheroes and villains in the media today. Students interviews also revealed that no matter if the villain is more powerful, or has more advanced weaponry, the superhero (almost) always defeats the villain. It is important to think about the role the media plays in influencing children’s perceptions. Something as simple as superheroes and villains can significantly influence children’s perceptions of the world.

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Wednesday April 22, 2015 8:40am - 9:00am
246 Zageir Hall

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