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Abstract

Despite the progress television has made since its creation, the medium unfortunately still portrays subtle, and not so subtle, gender stereotypes, especially in children’s television shows. Content analyses have documented the pervasive stereotypes set forth on TV that not only portray strict behaviors for both males and females, but that also often depict the female behaviors and characters as inferior (Calvert, 1999). In a wave of advocacy and regulation, parents, teachers, and children have demanded shows that better promote inclusivity and appropriate, family-friendly values. The Children’s Television Act of 1990 required broadcasters to provide educational children’s programming that would teach prosocial values and educational tools. However, even these educational programs still foster gender-stereotyped content (Barner, 1999; Calvert, Stolkin, & Lee, 1997). While research has proven that these programs depict stereotyped behavior, studies have also shown how children are actually affected by this content. This paper will look at key studies conducted over the years that have observed children’s development of gender stereotypes in correlation with their total TV consumption and the nature of the programs watched.

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