How Bart Simpson’s Naughty Boy Slacker Image Has Become Culturally Anachronistic in the 21st Century

In an extremely insightful essay, The Take takes a look at The Simpsons, positing whether or not the ageless character of Bart Simpson and his naughty boy slacker image continues to apply within the modern cultural context of the 21st century. When he first came onto the scene in the late 1980s, his bratty, devil may care attitude was refreshing. Yet 30 seasons later, the trope of “boys will be boys” that always excused his behavior has become increasingly negative, thus leaving Bart as a cultural anachronism.

This more critical eye of the relaxed tolerant attitude that Bart’s family and other characters take toward his misbehavior also seems increasingly outdated, particularly the way his community tends to excuse his wild antics with the logic ‘boys will be boys’. The idea of ‘boys will be boys’ actually dates back centuries to a Latin proverb declaring ‘children are children and do childish things’, but over time it. became gendered and it’s now widely regarded as both sexist and harmful.