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Sociological Analysis of Zootopia

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Sociological Analysis of Zootopia essay
score This essay is graded. Score 18/20

Keywords: Predation,Criminology,Sociology,Prey drive

“Zootopia” is the endearing story of the first-ever bunny police officer, Judy Hopps, and her journey through solving a missing persons – or, animals – case in the metropolitan city of Zootopia. Along the way, she runs into animals in power with less than pure intentions, a not so sly fox, and even a spiritually enlightened yak by the name of Yax. When the missing persons case turns into something much, much bigger than previously thought, Hopps ends up dismantling deeply rooted prejudices that had been instilled into their society.

The social significance of this film is shown by how racism, deviance, and power can very negatively affect a society that is otherwise viewed as a place of any individual’s dreams. The functionalist theory is heavily relevant in this movie. There is an agreement that predatory animals will act in a civil manner so that prey animals can exist peacefully, and that prey animals will not live in fear so that predatory animals can feel like they belong in a society that is made of mostly prey.

A case that started as a search file was quickly discovered to be darker than that. Seemingly randomly, predatory animals started “going savage” and attacking innocent animals, which caused an enormous uproar from the prey. Judy Hopps implies that these animals were acting that way due to biological traits typical of animals like cheetahs, lions, and panthers. Predators were being perceived as naturally predisposed to act in violence, which caused the majority prey population to want to get rid of the predators. In the end, it is discovered that the assistant mayor of Zootopia, a female sheep named Bellwhether, had been infecting the predators with a plant-derived chemical that caused agitation, outbursts, and uncontrollable violent attacks because she herself had been undermined by the mayor, a predatory lion.

“Zootopia” touches on deviance and discrimination very well. Preys make up a large portion of the population of Zootopia, and they start seeing predators as inherently deviant due to biological factors. This can be applied to the Positivist Perspective. Cesare Lombroso, a well-known positivist, has expressed that “criminals are stuck in earlier stages of human evolution, and are ill-developed humans”, as said by Cheryl Tan. He has speculated that criminals are born criminals. This is a dangerous view to hold because it takes away from the fact that every person has potential to be great, and it fails to consider that deviance can be a product of circumstance.

The lesson of Zootopia, in my opinion, is that you do not have to be a stereotypical deviant to commit deviant acts. Stereotypes can cause the balance of a population of otherwise coexisting people to be drastically thrown off, and you should never judge somebody based on their biological factors.

Sociological Issues in Zootopia

Disney’s Zootopia has many undertones that mirror the United States’ society that the casual viewer may miss. After taking a closer look, we are able to see a social hierarchy with the predators usually occupying positions of power, such as a lion as the mayor. As the movie progresses, prejudice against and stereotypes of predators become more visible. Themes coinciding with capitalism and bureaucracy become clear as well. However, perhaps the most prevalent feature of this film is a critique of white feminism and its failure to include intersectionality.

The plot of the movie is explicitly about racism. The film mirrors the binary idea of race that is seen in the United States. In the US, racial issues are usually seen as involving just blacks and whites. In Zootopia this is seen through ‘predators’ and ‘prey’. In Zootopia, prey posses an underlying perception that a predator will attack, eventually, because it is in its nature to do so. Similarly, there are stereotypes in the US that it is inevitable that a black person will steal, fight or break other laws. When you look a bit closer, this movie also criticizes white feminism and its lack of intersectionality. Judy can be compared to a white feminist. While she is oppressed due to her gender, she is blind to her internalized racism. To begin, she carries fox repellant with her constantly. This can also be seen through her interactions with Nick at the beginning of the film. She’s being as nice as she can, but she’s still a privileged member of the majority looking down on the failures of a minority man. And when she realizes that all the ‘respectability’ she liked about Nick was an act, she becomes furious. This is a metaphor for a white feminist trying to be an ally to a man of color and getting angry when he turns out to not appreciate her condescending help. If you dig a bit further, the movie really criticizes white feminism even more during Judy’s speech at the press conference. She claims that biological factors have meant “predators are reverting back to their primitive savage ways.” Despite seeing Judy as the primary victim of oppression up until this point of the film, it becomes clear that her privilege as a member of the majority species not only gives her a platform but also denies her understanding of the systemic experience of species-based (racial) discrimination.

Although Zootopia is seen as just another animated Disney film by most, the writers implement sociological undertones. Through Judy’s interactions with Nick and her internalized racism, sociological paradigms such as race conflict and critiques of white feminism and its failure to provide intersectionality are established.

Essay Score 18/20
Focus
4/4
Organization
4/4
Voice
4/4
Sentence Structure
4/4
Evidence and Details
2/4
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Sociological Analysis Of Zootopia [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 13 [cited 2022 Sept 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sociological-analysis-of-zootopia/
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