A Common Sense survey which investigates how on-screen stereotypes affect kids' development found that many of the movies and TV shows children watch reinforce rigid and stereotypical gender roles, and parents worry about the influence those stories can have on their kids' ideas about what counts as acceptable behavior, how relationships work, and even what jobs they can have.
Some of the key findings include:
- The media reinforces the idea that masculine traits and behaviors are more valued than feminine traits and behaviors, and boys who consume these media messages are more likely to exhibit masculine behaviors and beliefs.
- In adolescence, media use is associated with more tolerant views of sexual harassment and more support for the belief that women are at least partially responsible for their own sexual assaults.
- The television programs and films that children and adolescents watch reinforce traditional gender stereotypes.
- Heavier viewing of gender-traditional TV and film content is linked to the expression of more rigid beliefs about what men and women do and are and how they behave.
- As children enter adolescence, media provide lessons on how they are expected to behave in romantic and sexual situations, and these lessons are strongly gendered.
Common Sense Media (2017). Watching gender: How stereotypes in movies and on TV impact kids’ development. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/commonsense_watchinggender-topline_release.pdf