APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Founded in 2004 by Academy Award winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Institute and its programming arm, See Jane, are at the forefront of changing female portrayals and gender stereotypes in children's media and entertainment. The Institute is uniquely positioned to spotlight gender inequalities at every media and entertainment company through cutting-edge research, education, training, strategic guidance and advocacy programs. Our mission is to work within the entertainment industry to dramatically alter how girls and women are reflected in media.
The Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need for gender balance, reducing stereotyping and creating a wide variety of female characters for entertainment targeting children 11 and under. We have amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment, which spans more than 20 years.
This study will analyze and examine occupational portrayals, domesticity, and gender of speaking characters in popular films (2006-2010), prime-time shows, and children's TV programming.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
The research study is being conducted by Dr. Stacy Smith, USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. August 1, 2011 and concluding on July 31, 2012. There will be three deliverables associated with this study: An outline detailing variables to be coded - demographics, occupational codes, STEM measures - mid-to-late September 2011; A timeline for evaluating the different media on October 3, 2011; and an executive summary and final report by July 31, 2012.
Previous research has shown repeatedly that gender roles are still stereotyped in entertainment popular with children. In feature family films, male speaking characters outnumber female speaking characters by a ratio of over 2 to 1. Not only are females presented less often than their male counterparts, they are often sexualized, domesticated, and sometimes lack being gainfully employed.
To illustrate, recent analysis of every first run general audience film (n=21) theatrically released between September 2006 and September 2009 revealed that a higher percentage of males (57.9%) than females (31.6%) are depicted with a job. While females held marginally more professional jobs than their male counterparts (24.6% vs. 20.9%), women were noticeably absent in some of the most prestigious occupational posts. Across more than 300 speaking characters, not one female was depicted in the medical sciences (e.g., doctor, veterinarian), executive business suite (e.g., CEO, CFO), legal world (e.g., attorney, judge), or political arena. More optimistically, 6 females were shown in the hard sciences or as pilots/astronauts.
These recent data suggest that females may not have shattered as many glass ceilings occupationally in the 'reel' world as one might have suspected. If recent film content stereotypes aspirations and occupations along gender lines, how is current children's TV programming performing? What about prime time TV? These questions are important as media exposure can not only contribute to children's occupational socialization (Smith & Granados, 2009) but also sex-role stereotyping (Herritt-Skjellum & Allen, 1996)