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reading tiger

I have come to the conclusion that the profusion of mean older sisters in children's cartoons is a result of mother-figure displacement.


As someone who had a mean older sister, I am curious about this.
Boys in kid's cartoons almost always have a mean older sister -- it's so common I've started to compile a list. Never a mean older brother.

I'd been puzzling over this for a while and it just sort of came to me in a flash -- older sisters are useful narrative depositories for negative feelings about mother-figures. Moms (and other parents, but let's remember the marketers' conceptions are in charge here, not reality) won't let their kids watch shows that are mean to moms, for obvious reasons. So...

With girl-lead shows, there's always a mean-girl school rival. I posit she serves a similar function.
Ana Mardoll's been talking about this a bit in her Narnia deconstructions. The motherly older sister also has the Doylian benefit that she doesn't have the power of a real mother, so she can't stop the protagonist from doing plot-necessary things.