Select your language

Podcast
Electricity molecules

The Culture of ‘Kids’ and The Myth of the Superhero

Ujwal Arkalgud, EVP & Group Director at Lux Research

Ujwal Arkalgud

EVP & Group Director, Anthropology

Read Bio
Jason Partridge photo

Jason Partridge

VP, Client Success

Read Bio

Welcome to “Why Meaning Matters”—a Story Studio Network podcast hosted by Erin Trafford with MotivBase cultural anthropologist, Ujwal Arkalgud and MotivBase president, Jason Partridge.

Our hosts dive into culture and meaning for children framed by the myth of the Superhero. From the symbolism of the female superhero costume to the impact on consumer decision-making. How do we have conversations with our kids about the storylines and images they’re exposed to? And, how do we manage what meaning they take away from it?

Listen Now

Subscribe on your favorite platform

Welcome to Why Meaning Matters. A Story Studio Network podcast hosted by Erin Trafford with MotivBase cultural anthropologist, Ujwal Arkalgud and MotivBase president, Jason Partridge.

Our hosts dive into culture and meaning for children framed by the myth of the Superhero. From the symbolism of the female superhero costume to the impact on consumer decision-making. How do we have conversations with our kids about the storylines and images they’re exposed to? And, how do we manage what meaning they take away from it?

As adults, we’re more aware than children of the meaning of how characters are presented and represented starting with the physical appearance of the superheroes and the impact it can have on young minds.

UJWAL [00:03:39] “A lot of these are, I think, subtle cues that our children take. And it could be potentially damaging. So it’s a big question to ask in terms of not just what our children are exposed to, but also how do we manage and control what meaning they take away from all of that?”

Layer in how these worlds are expanding and the organizations like Disney that own the rights to these superheroes it’s no longer as simple as being Team Batman or Team Superman.

JASON [00:05:07] “Now it’s really about having all these different types of characters with all these different types of layers with all these different types of approaches and philosophies that provide us to think a little bit deeper about what do these stories mean, but also what is right in regards to the kind of type of child that I’m trying to kind of instill with the values that are important to me.”

The team at MotivBase has been studying the narratives and meanings particularly around female superheroes and has made some interesting observations not only on how the characters are sexualized but also the unattainable self-image that is presented to young kids, particularly girls.

UJWAL [00:08:35] “And I think the reason why this is so powerful is we’re saying it’s not enough to just throw in a bunch of female superheroes. We also have to think about how they are represented, the implicit meanings that are communicated in what they say, how they present themselves, whether they have a ‘boob window’ or not, and what that symbolizes.”

JASON [00:09:41] “I think one of the questions really comes down to the interconnected meanings that are linked back to these types of things, because you know, that child or parent that looks at how somebody is being expressed, then ladders down to choices in fashion, it ladders to choices in food. Self-image is linked to so much of what we do every day, every week, every year that these things are all interconnected.”

The creation and proliferation of the superhero don’t stop on the pages of a comic book or on the big screen, it translates into packaging, marketing, apparel, and beyond.

UJWAL [00:12:19] “I think the point is that if we know that some of these things have an impact on the self-esteem of a child, of somebody who is taking in implicit clues from what they see around them, then it’s important for us to have this conversation and it’s important for brands to think about how they can play a positive role in what they bring to market.”

Speaking of playing a positive role in the marketplace, Erin sets up the next episode with a reference to Captain Planet as our hosts get into the meaning of Sustainability. Stay tuned for episode eight of Why Meaning Matters. A podcast produced by Story Studio Network and iContact Productions for MotivBase- Decoding implicit meaning behind what people talk about.

If you want to contribute to the conversation, make sure you drop us an email at hello [at] storystudionetwork [dot] com. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to SHARE it, RATE it, and SUBSCRIBE to the show!

Latest Resources

Sorry, no results found.
Green background for banner

Explore Our Solutions