Children’s perceptions of gender roles as portrayed in Disney films

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Ebere-Anaba, Cynthia Chioma
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
Researchers have found that young children create and internalize their own meanings of gender, based on the social cues of adults, their environments, and media around them (Derman-Sparks, 2001). The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of gender role portrayals in Disney films on children’s gender role perceptions. It was hypothesised that there would be a significant difference in children’s gender role perceptions depending on the Disney film they watched. The Children’s sex role inventory (CSRI) was given out to a total sample of 51 participants, both male (N= 15) and female (N= 36). Participants were randomly allocated to a group, the experimental group viewed Frozen while the control group viewed Cinderella. Analysis of the data showed that there was a significant difference between children’s perceptions of gender role in relation to the CSRI scale. Results supported the belief that Disney films can “inspire at least as much cultural authority and legitimacy for teaching specific roles” to young children (Giroux, 1995, p.25). Author keywords: Children, Disney, perceptions, gender roles