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Presenting the NATO of CA/NV 2017 Scholarship Winners...

Zootopia

If I could recommend one movie for the world to watch it would be Disney’s Zootopia. It holds a universal message that can captivate individuals from all around. The animated film revolves around a small bunny, Judy Hoppes, who must overcome numerous obstacles to achieve dreams of becoming a police officer. Once an officer, Judy is forced to overcome stereotypes and show her fellow colleagues of her unlimited potential. Children will be mesmerized by the inviting characters and walk away with a message on determination. Meanwhile, adults will be intrigued by its subliminal messages on inequality and racism.

The movie depicts a small town bunny, Judy Hoppes, who must defeat society’s expectations of becoming a farmer to pursue her dream of becoming a police officer. As a bunny her size and strength are viewed as a weakness and her ability to become a successful officer is questioned. Metaphorically the petite bunny compares to a ‘fragile; women who must fight to be seen as an equal in a ‘man's’ job. Children will see her endless struggle to come out on top as a lesson on determination and following one's dreams. Adults, however, will see Judy as an empowered feminist fighting against society’s gender roles. As a female I could relate to the character in her struggle to prove to all those that doubt her wrong. Growing up I was a tomboy and loved to play sports, yet regardless of how well I played I was always picked last. I had to ignore the negative sexist remarks and continue my love for sports. With determination I became a varsity athlete and Judy Hoppes became Officer Judy Hoppes.

Officer Hoppes is assigned to her work in the city of Zootopia where predators and prey can amicably live in harmony. Suddenly, there is a series of missing animal reports which coincidently are all predators. As the case develops, Officer Hoppes and partner Nick, a thief fox, discover that the missing predators have become “gone wild” and are being held captive. Once the news breaks, the public fears that predators are returning to their biological “primitive savage ways.” Children may watch the movie and only see animals while older audiences can further analyze and relate the plot to current fictional events. Racism becomes evident by comparing and contrasting  ‘predators versus prey’  with ‘minorities versus whites,’ Animals are divided into categories and pinned against one another; just like people are divided by their race/ethnicity. Feeding to prior long-existing stereotypes that predators/minorities cannot be trusted is a timeless issue in our society. As a minority I can relate especially now in current politics and with the negative depiction that has been magnified on Mexicans. While Mexicans are increasingly being portrayed as criminals I tend to break the stereotype by focusing on my higher education. I plan to help change statistics by increasing the number of minorities with a higher education.  With hard work and determination the statistics will change one student at a time.

In essence, Zootopia is the movie I would recommend for the world to see. It appeals to children while simultaneously giving adults a moral lesson on equality and current events. The moral of the story, in a nutshell, is to not let stereotypes determine who you are or who you have to be. We must also learn to see beyond appearance and to hope that one day we will live in a world where people are not restricted by their gender or race/ethnicity, In order to defeat the stereotypes one must be determined to overcome every obstacle without any self-doubt.

 

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