Part Four: Ideology
Part Four: Ideology examines questions of ideology in general and then specifically in relation to the representation of class and gender in children’s films. I first consider some aspects of Marxist theories of ideology and how they might apply to children’s cinema and film. Second, I look at the representation of class in a 1930s film called Bright Eyes, starring Shirley Temple, and then some more recent children’s films such as Stand By Me and Harriet the Spy. Third, as critics have pointed out, discussions about class ideologies in film gave way to discussions about gender ideologies. I want to sketch in the evolution of these changes and consider their connection to feminist children’s film criticism and children’s films. Stated another way: Overall, I want to bring out further the ideologies of class and gender that were beginning to emerge from the general historical conditions set forth in Part Three: History, in particular the production of children’s films by a few giant media conglomerates (rather than an aristocratic family) who own the factories (studios) that make the products (movies) that sell ruling class ideologies to (un)suspecting young viewers. As a result, children’s films are works of art that entertain but also sites of ideology that indoctrinate young viewers into traditional class and gender roles.