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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, Gunter Neubauer and Reinhard Winter © Q unequivocal: First, boy characters appear much more frequently than girl and families. Second, this has been the case for decades (Smith & Cook, 2008). Third, boys are more active, dominant, capable, and hold more responsible positions in the stories. They are more aggressive, louder; they laugh, insult and threaten more; and are more often rewarded within the storyline (Aubrey & Harrison, 2004; Barcus, 1983; Levinson, 1975; Sternglanz & Serbin, 1974; Streicher & Bonney, 1974; Thompson & Zerbinos, 1995). While male aggression is mainly physical in nature, female protagonists tend more towards social violence, such as malicious gossip (Luther & Legg, 2010). If they are superheroes, males are much more numerous than female superheroes; more likely to be muscular, less emotional; more likely to be “tough”; and more inclined to make threats than ask questions. True, not all male characters are portrayed through stereotyped traditional gender roles, but a trend is nonetheless ]> capable of holding positions of power and more able to save the world (Baker & Raney, 2007). > +‰ >„ Q television. Interestingly, gender-oriented research has undertaken surprisingly few $Ÿ %*$ > ] “There has been a bevy of research on construction of femininities across popular media; however, emphases on the construction of masculinities have, most often, been an afterthought or implied by default” (2011, p. 59). 108 >|} $| ¤© * In books about gender and media in general (e.g., Carter & Steiner, 2004; Gauntlett, 2002; Nayak & Kehily, 2008), there are individual chapters that discuss new forms of masculinity or the crisis of masculinity, largely in...

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