Annals of social learning

Two recent One Big Happy strips about the cartoon’s kids in the process of acquiring — internalizing, rehearsing, and displaying — two sociocultural complexes of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

Ruthie is learning to fit into modern American commercial culture, where she is urged to judge products not on their intrinsic qualities (such as the taste and nutritional values of breakfast cereals) but on their symbolic associations as pushed in their marketing (cartoon characters as the representatives of breakfast cereals in commercials).

Meanwhile, Joe is learning normative masculinity in modern America, absorbing the lesson that successful manhood requires the stringent rejection of everything feminine — both anything associated with girls and also anything associated with the conventional role of the mother as taming boys, civilizing them.

The toons. Ruthie, from 7/9:


(#1) Crucially, Ruthie knows that she won’t like the new Crispy Whatevers

Ruthie would need no taste test to know that this is a cereal she’ll love:


(#2) Trix are for kids

Joe, from 7/11:


(#3) Joe embraces smelly sweat socks as his personal anti-girly, anti-mommy shield

Sweaty locker rooms serve as the quintessential arena for the display and affirmation of normative masculinity, as here:


(#4) Sweaty in the locker room: from All American S1 E3 (aired 10/24/18)

All American is an American television drama series, created by April Blair that premiered on The CW on October 10, 2018. The series is inspired by the life of professional American football player Spencer Paysinger. (Wikipedia link)

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