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Gender construction and the media. The construction of gender. Gender and sex are closely related but not identical Gender is the socially recognized/assigned/ enforced set of behaviors tied to sex

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the construction of gender
The construction of gender
  • Gender and sex are closely related but not identical
    • Gender is the socially recognized/assigned/ enforced set of behaviors tied to sex
    • While the basics of sex are biologically universal, gender (sex roles, etc.) vary from time to time and culture to culture
    • You are born with your sex, but must (for the most part) learn your gender
learning your gender
Learning your gender
  • The teaching begins early
    • Girl babies are pink, boy babies are blue
    • Girl babies are treated differently than are boy babies
      • They receive different toys
    • They do not seem to be all that different in their behavior without coaching
media for preschoolers
Media for preschoolers
  • Are the gender treatments in media for preschoolers stereotypic?
    • Yes and no
      • Many educational TV programs are pretty gender neutral
see jane key findings
See Jane Key Findings
  • In the 101 studied G-Rated films, 1990-2004, there are three male characters for every one female character
  • Fewer than one out of three (28 percent) of the speaking characters (both real and animated) are female
  • Fewer than one in five (17 percent) of the characters in crowd scenes are female
  • More than four out of five (83 percent) of the films’ narrators are male
g rated films
G-Rated Films

Source: SeeJane


Of the 3,039 individual speaking characters found across the films

28 percent (n=851) are female, and 72 percent (n=2,188) are male.

This is 257 males for every 100 females.

When looking at characters that comprise groups, an even more distorted picture emerges. Out of the 1,210 characters shown in groups, 83 percent (n=1,010) are male and only 17 percent (n=200) are female. Gender bias also is found in narration. Only 17 percent of storytellers are female.
what about boys
What about boys?
  • Male characters in G-rated films are only half as likely (34.6%) as females (66.3%) to be identifiable as parents. They are about half as likely (31.9%) as females (60.7%) to be identifiable as married or in a committed relationship.
“Children are influenced by what they see around them, and the repeated viewings of these movies make them a powerful force in shaping children’s developing ideas about gender. Research conducted in the 1970’s showed that when young children see someone on the screen that looks like them but engages in non-stereotyped activities, they are more likely to try out those activities themselves.”

Lawrence Cohen, PhD, psychologist and author of Playful Parenting

In a 2003 nationwide survey, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that over half (53%) of parents say that their zero to six-year olds have at least 20 videos or DVDs in the home. Further, almost half (46%) of the caregivers surveyed reported the children they care for watched at least one video or DVD per day. Content in G-rated movie videos and DVDs may have a particularly strong influence on children’s social learning about gender because children tend to watch the same movies over and over.
  • Midriff and Mook (Frontline)