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“What is the gender of heroes?”

Gender-specific examination of the main characters in children's television (IZI 1999)

On the basis of the annual test sampling "Bestandsaufnahme zum Kinderfernsehen" (in German) 474 programmes explicitly aimed at children were examined with respect to the gender-specific allocation and bias of principal roles. It emerged that men, or masculine characters, predominate in children's television. In the fiction sector, the principal characters are 63.9% masculine. In 25.8% of cases they share the main role with a female character, and in only 10.4% are girls or women the central figures. If the spotlight does fall on girls, they appear for the most part in the form of two stereotypes. Aside from the cheeky redheads, girl characters are distinguished by three features in particular: they are beautiful, remarkably slim, and for the most part have long, blonde hair.

The separate media analytical observation of gender roles in children's television is in an ongoing process of being updated.

Previous publications include:

Götz, Maya: Männer sind die Helden: Geschlechterverhältnisse im Kinderfernsehen. In: TELEVIZION 12/1999/1, pp. 33-35. Reprinted under the title: Von Heldinnen und Helden im Kinderfernsehen. In: Forum Frauen und Gesellschaft 3/1999/4, pp. 28-35 (only available in German).

Götz, Maya: Harte Kerle, schöne Frauen. Entwicklung der Geschlechterstereotypen in Film und Fernsehen. CD-Rom zu den Medientagen München '99. Herausgegeben von der DVB Multimedia Bayern GmbH, München (only available in German).