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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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7“WITHOUT A FAMILY1”: REPRESENTATION OF FAMILIES IN CHILDREN’S TV AROUND THE WORLD Dafna Lemish One of the main social trends characterizing late modernity is the transformation of the concept of family. Structured as two heterosexual parents raising their biological children, the nuclear, private family has been challenged by a variety of forms and structures: single parent families, divorced and second marriage families, uni-sex families, adaptive and foster families, multi-racial families, and the like. New bio- technologies are breaking the bond between the biological parent (the one who passes on the genes), the one conceiving and carrying of the pregnancy (e.g., surrogate mother) and the social parent (the person raising the child), allowing for new modes of parent-child relationships and family arrangements (Collins & Rodin, 1991). One arena through which we learn about these changes is screen- representations of families. The media provide us with a host of images of diverse family forms and allow us to peek into their private and intimate lives. In doing so, we see, for example, how they handle the stresses often involved in raising children ˆ @ hardships and crises. Through watching television programs and movies, we and our children compare ourselves to other families presented in dramas, comedies, newscasts and talk shows, advertising and reality shows. We also learn about the normative family by digressions from it, such as: new, non-conventional family structures and modes of behavior; those who experiment with more egalitarian parent-child relationships or those who breed domestic violence, sexual abuse, or  social expectations...

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