We Need Arab Cartoons To Compete With Disney

We Need Arab Cartoons To Compete With Disney

Al-Watan, Kuwait, July 14

In March of this year, Disney announced its new policy for children’s films, according to which it would include lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters as main characters in its films. The problem, of course, is that Disney films are extremely popular across the Arab world, where children religiously follow – and mimic – the films’ leading characters. This is a dangerous matter that must be addressed sooner rather than later, just like it has been addressed in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis passed legislation prohibiting teaching things like gender identity and sexual orientation to children younger than 10. Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed the banning of episodes of famous cartoon shows due to the fear that children would imitate dangerous behavior depicted in them. For example, a controversial episode of the children’s show Peppa Pig was pulled off the air in Australia after it depicted the main character playing with spiders, which are extremely venomous in the country. Studies show that children younger than the age of 5 tend to imitate what they watch on television and struggle to discern what’s right from what’s wrong. Troubling behavior – such as a tendency for violence, aggression, phobias, and even things like obesity – all tend to develop at this age. Therefore, putting controversial content in front of young children who still haven’t developed a sense of self-awareness and critical thinking is extremely dangerous. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau notably explained that ideas are not born with people but are formed through experience and practice. Perhaps the time has come for the Arab world to develop, produce, and manufacture its own safe Arab cartoons, which would compete with those made by Disney. After all, Egypt has been a producer of Arab films, including many for children, since the 1930s. Investing in cartoons could be very profitable, with annual revenues of millions of dollars a year, in addition to royalties that can be collected by reviewing, editing, and “localizing” foreign children’s shows for consumption in the Arab world. –Badr Bin Saud (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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