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Sexy Girls, Heroes and Funny Losers

Gender Representations in Children’s TV around the World

Edited By Maya Götz and Dafna Lemish

Sexy Girls, Heroes and Funny Losers: Gender Representations in Children’s TV around the World presents the most comprehensive study to date of gender images on children’s television. Conducted in 24 countries around the world, the study employed different methodologies and analyses. The findings illustrate how stereotypes of femininity and masculinity are constructed and promoted to children. It presents findings that may well require even the most cynical observer to admit that, despite some great strides, children’s television worldwide is still a very conservative force that needs to be reimagined and transformed!


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Maya Götz and Dafna Lemish Children’s television functions as a storyteller, providing the basic materials of fantasies and images of the world beyond viewers’ immediate environment. Complimentary learning from storytelling occurs when viewing images or ideas, as viewers learn what it means to be a girl or boy, a man or woman. While children’s identities and performance of gender are shaped, primarily, through children’s experiences in their direct social environment, the media – and particularly the @ % @ Q in regard to gender-oriented learning (Götz, Lemish, Aidman, & Moon, 2005). Yet a closer look at the images broadcast on television reveals a major social imbalance in the way children’s programs construct femininity and masculinity: & % sphere that is associated with characteristics such as action, rationality, forcefulness, aggressiveness, independence, ambitiousness, competitiveness, achievement, higher social status, and humor. Girls, like adult women, are associated with “being” in the private sphere and are characterized, generally, as passive, emotional, caregiving, childish, sexy, subordinate to males, and of lower social status. (Lemish, 2010, pp. 1/2) | consumerism. Many girl characters, such as the Bratz dolls, seem to have mainly ˆ {>  +:: in consultation with partners from the respective countries who also supplemented # Due to the fact that the study was undertaken in 24 countries and in different languages, reliability pre-tests with all coders involved was impossible to organize. Each country ensured that training of coders was undertaken and internal reliability measures secured. An additional post-research reliability of the coding of the characters was tested following Lienert and...

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