Abigail, aka Gail, and I are known to go see movies on $5 Tuesday nights at our local Cinemark Theater. Last week we went to see Zootopia and to many people it may have been just another animated movie, but it was so much more than that. Sure maybe its supposed to be a kids movie but I don’t give a flying rat’s butt because it was great. This movie just a shit show of stereotypes and social issues and I love it because they bring it to people’s attention in such a great manner. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, just an FYI there might be spoilers in this post.
The underlying plot of the movie is about a rabbit that wanted to become a police officer but the social norm for their world is that predators, such as tigers and cheetahs, become officers. Prey animals, such as rabbits, like Judy Hopps. Why are predators only cops? Because they are supposed to be the image of the big macho guys that we think of as a police officer. We fear police officers like prey animals fear their predator. I have picked out some of the best underlying lessons that Zootopia teaches kids so lets get right to it.
1. You Can Be Anything You Want To Be
People constantly try to talk you out of your dreams. Judy Hopps dreamed of being a cop her entire life and she was determined and nothing was going to stop her. Her parents even insinuated that she will never be a cop. You can be anything you want to be as long as you put your mind to it! If your parents put you down and say you can’t do something then prove them wrong and go for it. The sky is the limit so go make a difference.
2. Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover
Judy’s parents equipped her well with Fox deterrent spray (aka our version of pepper spray if you get what I am saying). Judy’s parents were stereotyping all foxes as bad and sly before they had even met them. Nick Wilde is one of the main characters, a fox,to whom gets denied service at a Zootopia ice cream parlor. He is denied service because he is a fox and the stereotypes that follow. This is something that I have been learning about in one of my classes at RMU. Why do we stereotype? Why is it a norm to stereotype people into groups. A couple huge stereotypes are “You’re a blonde, you must be dumb.” or “Oh you’re black, you must love fried chicken.” These are all horrible stereotypes. Not only do we use stereotypes, we stack stereotypes with prejudice. In the movie, there is a flashback scene of Nick’s childhood.
He has worked so hard to become an animal cub scout and when he finally thinks he is in, he gets taken down to the basement of one of the cub scout’s home and gets hazed and shamed by putting a muzzle on him. They tell him he will never be allowed to join. He is not allowed to join because he is a fox and foxes aren’t usually allowed to be a cub scout. They were holding a stereotype to Nick and nothing about that is fair. No one should ever have to feel ashamed because their group/character holds a certain stereotype. Go break that stereotype and be you.
3. Try Everything
I have had the song Try Everything by Shakira on repeat on my Spotify playlist for a solid 30 minutes. I am not a Shakira fan by all means but this is song is so catchy that if you don’t like it I might give you a strange look but, I will not judge you. Judy starts to play this song on, what looks like an iPod, her MP3 player as she’s in the observation car on the train and she is seeing everything that is about to experience.
She is trying everything. Even though she ends up being a meter maid she is still trying it and doing her best. She’s trying to be the best that she can and make a difference in her world, as should we all try to make a difference in our world. The film gives the idea that all people can have the same values and opportunities in life if they try.
“Life’s a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker.”