Boys are … girls are …

How children’s media and merchandizing construct gender

Authored by: Dafna Lemish

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955


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A large portion of children’s media and related merchandizing traveling around the world is promoting a highly gender-segregated world, along traditional and stereotypical constructs of femininity and masculinity and the continuing marginalization of girlhood. This chapter explores the representations of gender in children’s culture, demonstrating how the same issues that dominate critiques of adult media are equally relevant to those targeting children. I explain the political economy that is largely driving this segregation and the restrictive narratives it offers boys and girls for their own construction of gender identity. I conclude by exploring possible directions for changing this reality based on an international study of professionals of children’s media. 1

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