IZI-Research
 
Gender in children's and youth television

>> Overview research

 

When it is a question of how television characters and their stories are dramatised and received, gender is one of the most universal categories. In this main research area, on the one hand the mechanisms and interrelations of gender representation in the medium are specifically analysed. On the other, the ways in which girls and boys deal with the programmes offered – how they interpret them, evaluate them, and integrate them into their life world – are analysed from the recipients‘ point of view. In this way, against the background of the current state on gender, boys and girls research, new perspectives and suggestions for quality television for children and young people are offered to those responsible for the medium around the world.

Literature:
 
TelevIZIon 21/2008/E „Girls and Boys and Television”
Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna (eds.): Sexy girls, heroes and funny losers. Gender representations in children's TV around the world. Frankfurt, Main u.a.: Lang 2012 
Reminder: Guidelines for Gender Sensitivity

 

Annedroids – International Reception Study on Promoting Interest in MINT Subjects (Mathematics, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Technology)

The successful children’s programme Annedroids was produced by the Canadian production company Sinking Ship on behalf of Amazon US and the German public service children’s channel KiKA. The programme focuses on 11 year-old Anne, who builds robots and androids and has various adventures with her friends and technological companions. At the same time, each episode conveys specialist knowledge in the field of natural sciences and technology. The programme’s objective is to promote interest in the MINT subjects (mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and technology), particularly among girls.  The study by the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) asks what influence a programme such as Annedroids can have on girls’ and boys’ attitudes towards MINT. In addition, the study investigates whether the programme – which, from the point of view of current reception research, is put together in an optimal way – is helping to change attitudes in relation to gender stereotypes and MINT subjects. To this end, the IZI interviewed 488 children between the ages of six and twelve (203 in the USA, 98 in Canada and 187 in Germany). 
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Literature:
Götz, Maya; Mendel, Caroline; Pritscher, Sophia; Eckhardt Rodriguez, Ana: Can a children's TV show change cliches? A study on girls and STEM issues before and after watching Annedroids. TelevIZIon, 29/2016/E, 52-54.

 

Gender Distribution among Head Authors, Directors and Producers in Children’s Television on the International Market – Analysis Based on the MIPJunior Catalogue (2010-2012)

Children’s television is a product made by people. They work in teams, but they have clearly structured hierarchies. The producer is responsible for the organisation and usually also the marketing of the overall product. Generally, several authors work on serial programmes, but there is always a head author who either writes the books him/herself – where these tend to be small in number – or who coordinates with and briefs the other authors. Finally, each episode has a director who stages the final product in line with the producer’s requirements and based on the screenplay. 
The question from a gender-specific perspective is now: who produces children’s television, and is the legally proclaimed equality of men and women also reflected in the distribution of power across production? In order to address this question, the IZI studied the catalogue of the MIPJunior programme trade fair across 3 years, identifying and analysing gender distribution in the production of children’s television.   

Germany’s next Topmodel (2009)
With a weekly market share of almost 50% of 12- to 17-year-olds, Germany's next Topmodel is currently one of the most successful programmes with girls. What makes girls so excited about this talent show? What do they pick up from it, both consciously and unconsciously? 

Literature

Götz, Maya: “To See How They Progress and Develop” The Fascination with Germany’s next Topmodel. In: TV-Hero(in)es of boys and girls. Reception studies of favorite characters. Frankfurt, Main: Lang 2014. pp. 379-413.

 

Learning about Being a Girl from the Disney Exotic Princesses (2009-2010) 

In children's classics such as AladdinPocahontas and Mulan, princesses of a foreign country provide the material for exotic leading characters. How do girls deal with these images, particularly when they themselves are “exotic others”? This question was asked of girls with diverse ethnic backgrounds in the USA, China, India, and Fiji. 

Literature
:
Nastasia, Diana / Uppal, Charu: TV princesses in the eyes of Western and non-Western girls TelevIZIon, 23/2010/E, 34-37.

 

Boy's Heroes, Great and Small: Images of Masculinity in Children's Television (2009–2010)

Successful heroes of children's television enjoyed by boys – such as Avatar, Yugi, and Spongebob – and selected films are analysed in terms of the implicit correspondences to typical boys' preoccupations. 

Literature

Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna (eds.): Sexy girls, heroes and funny losers. Gender representations in children's TV around the world. Frankfurt, Main u.a.: Lang 2012 

 

Quality for Boys and Girls (2008)

Current research findings on gender, boys and girls are explained in terms of what they signify for quality children's and young people's television productions. In small group discussions, and in collaboration with television professionals, the practical implementation of these insights is worked out

Literature
Reminder: Guidelines for Gender Sensitivity

 

The Globalisation of Girls' and Boys' Bodies: Analysis of the Bodies of Girl and Boy Characters (2008–2009)

Using an international sample, the bodies of globally marketed cartoon film characters were measured in terms of waist-hip-shoulder proportions. The results clearly indicate gender-specific bias and a hypersexualisation of girl characters.

Literature

Margit Herche/Maya Götz: The global girl's body. In: TelevIZIon, 21/2008/E, 18-19
Götz, Maya, Herche, Margit: „Wasp Waists and V-Shape Torso“ Measuring the Body of the „Global“ Girl and Boy in Animated Children’s Programs. In: Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna (eds.): Sexy girls, heroes and funny losers. Gender representations in children's TV around the world. Frankfurt, Main u.a.: Lang 2012, pp. 49-68.

 

Consumption Orientation and Gender in Children's Television around the World (2008–2009)

With the aid of an international sample of children's TV programmes, distinctive features of consumption-oriented behaviour by characters in children's television were examined and, in particular, analysed in terms of gender bias, both quantitatively and qualitatively. 

Literature

Chan, Kara: Consumerism and Gender in Children’s Television. In: Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna (eds.): Sexy girls, heroes and funny losers. Gender representations in children's TV around the world. Frankfurt, Main u.a.: Lang 2012, pp. 169-180.

 

The Eroticisation of Children's Television (2008–2009)

With the aid of an international sample of children's TV programmes, the specific features of the eroticisation of girl characters, and their interaction with the plot, were examined, for example, in the series Winx Club and Bratz

Literature
:
Prinsloo, Jeanne: Seductive Little Girls on Children’s TV: Sexualization and Gender Relations. In: Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna (eds.): Sexy girls, heroes and funny losers. Gender representations in children's TV around the world. Frankfurt, Main u.a.: Lang 2012, pp. 69-90.

 

Mum Is a Housewife and Dad Goes to Work: Gender Relationships in Family Representation on Children's Television (2008–2009) 

With the aid of an international sample of children's TV programmes, the representation of families in children's television was investigated from a gender-specific perspective in particular. 

Literature

Lemish, Dafna: "Without a Family". Representations of Families in Children’s TV around the World. In: Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna (eds.): Sexy girls, heroes and funny losers. Gender representations in children's TV around the world. Frankfurt, Main u.a.: Lang 2012, pp. 151-168.

 

Anime and Gender (2008–2009)

Using an international sample of children's TV programmes, the specific features of, and background to, the hypersexualisation of girl characters in anime are examined and contextualised. 

Literature

Spry, Damien. "Make her skinnier, make her curvier": Sexualised girlhood in Japanese cartoons.. In: Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna (eds.): Sexy girls, heroes and funny losers. Gender representations in children's TV around the world. Frankfurt, Main u.a.: Lang 2012, pp. 61-106.

 

Children’s Television Worldwide: Gender Representation (2007–2008)

In 2007, a representative sample of relevant, free-TV children's programming was drawn in 24 countries and evaluated using content analysis. The central focus of this, the world's largest study of children's television to date, were the gender images in fictional children's programmes.

Literature

Maya Götz u.a.: Gender in children’s TV worldwide. TelevIZIon, 21/2008/E, 4-9,
Website: www.childrens-tv-worldwide.com
Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna (eds.): Sexy girls, heroes and funny losers. Gender representations in children's TV around the world. Frankfurt, Main u.a.: Lang 2012

 

Quality Television and Boys (2008)

In this study boys evaluate programmes with male protagonists that have been awarded prizes at the PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL, such as GirlsSecret Thoughts, or Stark! Kevin and compare them with successful series such as Kim PossibleYu-Gi-Oh! or SpongeBob SquarePants

Literature
Reinhard Winter/Gunter Neubauer: Quality from a boys' perspective. TelevIZIon, 22/2009/E, 32-36.

 

Do Children Want Sexualised Television Characters? (2008)

Using retouched variants of the characters Bibi Blockberg and Cloe from Bratz, girls and boys aged between 3 and 12 were tested at a representative level to discover which shape form they prefer. 

Literature
:
Maya Götz: Do children want skinny cartoon characters? TelevIZIon, 21/2008/E, 20-21.

 

What Annoys Children around the World about the Portrayal of Girls and Boys on TV? (2008) 
Over 1,000 children in 21 countries produced paintings to illustrate what annoyed them about the way girls and boys are portrayed on television. 

Literature

Christine Bulla/Margit Herche: “They are skinny and boring”. TelevIZIon, 21/2008/E, 28-29.

 

How Do Children and Young People Deconstruct Dramatic Representations of Gender?
(2007–2009)

Gender stereotypes are characterised, among other things, by typical gestures and body postures. Using photographs and programme clips, children and young people in 12 countries are asked whether they interpret these stereotypes in stereotypical ways and how they use their own body language.

Literature

Corinna Kramp: Performing gender in postures. TelevIZIon, 21/2008/E, 52-53.

 

Girls' and Boys' Favourite Characters (2004–2010)

In this broadly conceived study, girls and boys are asked about their favourite television characters and their significance. Starting with 40 case studies each of girls and boys, typical varieties of significance of characters for life skills were extrapolated and interpreted in the light of gender research. On a representative level, quantitative data about girls' and boys' favourite television characters and the utility value of each were obtained by means of several samplings.

Literature:
TelevIZIon 21/2008/E 
Götz, Maya: TV-Hero(in)es of boys and girls. Reception studies of favorite characters. Frankfurt, Main: Lang 2014.