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U84055171 Review on Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princesses

Dawn Elizabeth England- Department of Family and Human Development, Arizona State University, Tempe AZ, 85287, USA Lara Descartes- Division of Sociology and Family Studies, Brescia University College, London, ON, Canada Melissa A. Collier-Meek- Department of Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA

Sex Roles, Volume 64, Numbers 7-8, 2011, pages 555-567 Hypothesis: The researches had three separate hypotheses when conducting their research on the gender role portrayals with Disney princesses. Their firs hypothesis was that the gender role portrayals for the male and female characters would differ. Their second hypothesis was that in the stories, the princes would do more rescuing than the female characters and also that the princesses would be rescued more than the men. Finally, their third hypothesis was that the gender role portrayals would change and become more egalitarian over time. (England, Descartes, Collier-Meek, 557) Method: A coded content analysis approach was used as it has been seen successful in other studies. This approach allowed the researchers to gather quantitative info about the

different behavior types in the male and female characters and see how it is all connected to gender. The codes and the procedures were informed by previous research done on gender in animated films. Different themes that emerged during viewings of the films also contributed to the determination of several coding characteristics. The guidelines for the coding were established by the first author. The male and female characters were coded separately. A code was assigned every time they were mentioned as possessing a certain characteristic or exhibited the characteristic in their behavior. And each time a new behavior was exhibited, the behavior was coded. A new behavior was also coded every time the scene changed, even if the same behavior was in previous scenes. There were two coders to ensure reliability comparison. Their results were compared using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). The average ICC for the characteristics of the princesses were .96, and the average for the princes were .96 as well. The characteristics that were discovered for masculinity were curious about princess, wants to explore, physically strong, assertive, unemotional, independent, athletic, engaging in intellectual activity, inspires fear, brave, described as physically attractive, gives advice and leader. The feminine characteristics that were coded for the films were tends to physical appearance, physically weak, submissive, shows emotion, affectionate, nurturing, sensitive, tentative, helpful, troublesome, fearful, ashamed, collapses crying, described as physically attractive, asks for or accepts advice or help and victim. In conclusion for the method of research in this study, the content of the films was coded for the different gendered characteristics of the princess and prince characters, the

performance in climatic rescues by the characters, and the romantic resolutions at the end of the movie. Results: The results of the research confirmed the hypothesis made by the researchers. The first three movies, which were produced between the 1930s and 50s depicted more general gender attributes than the films made after the 1980s. The movies employed more traditional gender characteristics. In contrast with the earlier films, the princesses in the most current films were more assertive toward both people and animals. The princes in the earlier movies showed more traditional characteristics, as well. Gender stereotypes are still prevalent in the Disney films, and their characteristics have become more complex over the years. The expectations in the earlier films were also less complex than today. With the increasing complexity of gender roles in these movies, it could be argued that a child viewing these films is exposed to more balanced gender role portrayals. Mixed gender roles have been very prevalent in the most current films. There is also less stereotyping due to this. Relevance: The Disney Princess line, as well as other film series, is very influential on our children today. These ideas of different gender roles are being exposed to children at a young age when they are developing mentally still, and at a rapid pace. I agree with this research that, the films, the newer especially, give children a balanced idea of gender roles in our society.