Whistle While You Work: A Critical Analysis of Messages Surrounding Work and Labor in Children’s Films Compared to the U.S. Labor Market



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Children often learn through observing others and film has been shown to be an excellent device for this. While children’s films have been studied at length for messages involving gender, representation, and pro- and anti-social activity, little research has examined the portrayal of work and labor in these films. Using data collected from the 20 most popular animated children’s films of the last 15 years, this study collected and critically analyzed themes of work and labor present in the selected films. Common and differing themes in these films were found and compared to recent trends, such as those in unemployment and resignations, in the U.S. Labor Market. Findings suggest that themes in these films are likely influenced by the labor market as opposed to influencing it and that despite changes in the labor market, themes within these films are largely supportive of maintaining a capitalist structure and of values often associated with the United States and the “American Dream.”

Embargo status: Restricted until 06/2024. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.



Film, Children, Critical, Media, Hegemony, Animated Film, Critical Analysis, Thematic Analysis