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Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers article “Biology, Destiny, and Bad Science” discusses a few differences between male and female brains. These differences cause problems in our society and affect who we become.

Zootopia's idea of equality is a little bit naive because it creates an unrealistic expectation for children of what to expect in the “real world” about equality and living our dreams. Barnett and Rivers help support this idea when they talk about society causing males and females to be different, they say because of society's view of males and females, males and females play different roles in jobs, and in the home. Therefore, equality is almost impossible in a society that naturally causes inequality.

Zootopia brings a hopeful message to our children by arguing that equality is possible and our differences don’t affect who we become, however, this idea of equality is naive because it creates an unrealistic expectation of what to expect in our world. We need to think more realistically for ourselves and help teach our children to have hopeful but realistic dreams.

Although Zootopia portrays so nicely that we can become anything we want, our backgrounds don’t always allow us to, therefore, not anyone can become anything and we should not allow anyone to be anything. For example those who were raised in poverty do not have the same opportunities as those who were not raised in poverty and may have a harder time finding the same opportunities that Judy Hopps had to go to school to become a cop. Therefore they can not become anything and should not be allowed to become anything because they do not have the appropriate experiences or opportunities.

Equality is naive unless we get rid of poverty.
Equality is naive unless we get rid of poverty.

In the film Judy did her best, worked hard, and succeed in her dreams to become a cop, but that isn’t always the case for everyone. Just because we try our best doesn’t mean we will always succeed at becoming who we want to be. Think about running and training for a race, you might train your hardest, and run your best and still not always get first place. The movie Zootopia portrays the exact opposite of how our society works today, Zootopia tells us and our children that if we indeed try our best, argue, fight, and do all we can to prove ourselves we will succeed in becoming who we want to be. Bad!

Everyone’s bodies are built differently, we are all unique and have our own genetic makeup which affects who we are and who we will become. Because our biology affects who we are and who we become, not anyone can be anything. For example someone who practices basketball many times a day but is not built to play basketball will not become a Michael Jordan no matter how hard they train simply because they do not have his genes. A five foot two inch female is not going to become an amazing basketball player just because she tried hard. It is physically impossible for her to slam dunk a basketball in a ten foot hoop. This is also the case for someone who never plays basketball but has the genes that would make them a really good basketball player, if this person never plays basketball they will never become a pro basketball player. Some would say that this is an excuse for not being the best basketball player but others would agree that they are not the best athlete simply because our genes play a role in how well we perform and who we become.

Judy Hopps was a small bunny and did not have the “body type” to become a cop, however, in the movie it didn’t matter that she was small and didn’t have the “build” to be a cop, they still showed her succeeding in becoming a cop.

Because of certain circumstances we do not all have the same opportunities, we know that where we are born affects who we become, and we know that our DNA also affects who we are and our ability to do certain things. We need to help children today have hopeful but realistic expectations of who they can become so they can be more successful in the future.

Where Anyone Can Be Anything, but should we allow anyone to become anything?

Many believe we live in a world where it is hard to be yourself because the world is constantly trying to make us something else. However, Zootopia argues that we can be ourselves, and that being one’s self means being anything you want to be. Thanks to this children's cartoon movie many believe we can have hope and overcome our worlds biggest challenge. Zootopia argues that equality is possible and our differences don’t affect who we become. In the movie we hear over and over...

this message tells us that it doesn't matter where we come from or who we are now, if we dream to be something else, all we need to do is try our best to be that and we will succeed.

The movie makes this argument by making the characters and the audience believe that those who live in the city of Zootopia can be anything they want and their background doesn’t matter. They portray Zootopia as a happy and peaceful place. As soon as Judy leaves her town and enters the magical world of Zootopia, the music and colors are happier and brighter and gives us the sense that Zootopia really is a magical place. They let a little Bunny who grew up on a carrot farm where all her family members are carrot farmers become the world's first Bunny cop. We also see Nick who is a sly fox living in Zootopia overcome his background as a “sly” fox.

The way the movie connects different events that happen in the character's life during the character's journey helps prove that anyone can be anything if you work hard and try. For example when Judy goes to the police academy for training to become a cop she fails all of the training's on her first day and is told over and over by her coach

We see that after a lot of hard work and trying her best Judy succeeds and becomes the valedictorian in her class. Later when Judy fails her assignment as meter maid and Chief Bogo “fires her” she convinces him to let her take a case, she works extra hard and does her very best and succeeds her duty as a cop. These events help show the audience that achieving our dreams doesn't always come easy but it is possible if we work extra hard.

The way the characters are presented in the movie Zootopia also helps argue that “anyone can be anything”. The two main characters are presented as stereotypical bunnies and stereotypical foxes. A small bunny who should be a carrot farmer overcomes her stereotype and becomes a cop and a shady fox who should be sly is actually a really good guy who also becomes a cop. These stereotypes help the audience connect to the characters. We see these two characters who are born to be carrot farmers and nothing but a sly fox dream of becoming something else and we begin to sympathize with them and want them to be successful in fulfilling their dreams to be something different.

One way the film encourages us to sympathize with these characters is through the camera angles and the word choices throughout the movie. When Judy feels defeated the camera slowly zooms in on her face and we feel her emotions and desire for her to keep trying. When her ears hang low we know she feels defeated and the opposite when her ears stick straight up we know she is feeling optimistic and is going to accomplish her goals.

The film Zootopia did a fabulous job at portraying this message, however, we still need to be realistic and Zootopia fails to give us a hopeful yet realistic view of becoming who we want to become. We know that there are other factors that stop us from becoming “anything” we want to be. For example one who is born with an extra chromosome has physical and mental impairments that stop them from achieving their highest dreams, or someone who suffers with severe depression, they emotionally can not handle having a job, this would hinder them from their "dream" of being a cop.

There are many factors that come into play when determining who we are or determining who we will become. This is why as a society we do not allow anyone to become anything.

Equality seen as Naive: Anyone can not be Anything

It’s not just me who believes we shouldn’t allow anyone to be anything. Sean Johnson (another writer) states why you can’t be anything you want to be and teaches us what we should be telling our children instead of telling them they can be anything they want when they grow up. He says it isn’t realistic in the real world to do what you love and become whatever you want to be when you grow up. You have to think about how the world works and what the world needs, not just what you want and how you want to work the world. Zootopia teaches us the opposite, it tells children exactly what they should not be told- Zootopia tells them they can become anything, exactly what they should not be told, because this gives them false hope and a false view of “the real world.”

Barnett and Rivers aren’t the first ones to talk about male and female differences, and the problems in our society. Inmaculada de Melo-Martin’s article “When is Biology Destiny Biological Determinism and Social Responsibility.” is full of arguments stating that our social values and institutions play a part in making our biological differences problematic. I agree with her example of wrestling and genetics where no matter how hard you practiced and trained you would never be good enough to wrestle if you were not genetically made to wrestle. Another major claim she makes has to do with sex differences. Inmaculada talks about how males and females are genetically different, that

“males and females have different natures, behaviors, and social roles.” (1189)

Men are biologically made up to be reproducers, they look for women who are young and healthy and good prospects for reproducing offspring. Women are biologically made up to be nurturers, they look for men who are good providers and protectors. Society is trying to create gender equality which is creating problems for our biological roles as men and woman. These differences in our biology make it hard to create equality in our society, which is why I think it is important to address the fact that although the idea of equality in the movie Zootopia is filled with hope and optimism it is naive and children will face greater challenges in the future because of this belief.

The difference between Males and Females
The difference between Males and Females

In our world, in our society, we like to bring optimism and hope into each other's lives, we tell each other “live your dreams”, “you can be anyone you want” and we dream of equality. These dreams and hopes sound welcoming and wonderful but unfortunately they are unrealistic in the world we live in.

We live in a world of differences, males and females brains work differently, and everyone’s biology is different. These differences cause problems in our world with equality because we as people recognize these differences and treat each other different because of them.

Zootopia a wonderful children's film that I actually really enjoy does a fabulous job at helping bring this optimism and hope of “living our dreams” into our children's lives and although I really enjoy the movie Zootopia I hope that we can see that their idea of equality is in fact naive, and we need to help our children understand this. Our children need to know that because of our society and our biology, these hopes and dreams are only hopes and dreams. Thus, we see that anyone should not be allowed to become anything.

Works Cited:

  • Barnett, Rosalind C. and Rivers, Caryl. “Biology, Destiny, and Bad Science.” Dissent, vol. 52, no. 3, 2005, pp. 70-75.
  • de Melo-Martin, Inmaculada “When is Biology Destiny? Biological Determinism and Social Responsibility.” the Philosophy of Science Association, December 2003, pp.1184-1194.
  • Goldmark, Daniel and McKnight, Utz. “Locating America: Revisiting Disney’s Lady and the Tramp”. Social Identities, vol. 14, no. 1, January 2008, pp. 101-120.
  • Johnson, Sean. “Why you can’t be anything you want to be.” Built on International Life.
  • Accessed 20 Feb 2017.
  • Moore, Rich, Howard, Bryan. Zootopia. Walt Disney Animation Studios, 2016.
  • Robinson, Gene E. “Beyond Nature and Nurture.” Science, vol. 304, April 2004, pp. 397-399.

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