Essay What Influences Gender Roles

Gender Roles Essay

“It’s natural for her to act that way,” I don’t think so.

In order for someone’s behavior to be accepted as natural, they would have to be born that way. Unfortunately, many of the behaviors that are seen in men and women are the results of continuous influences they have been exposed to throughout their lives. Many roles determine how a person might act into adulthood. These influences come from many different places such as the family, toys, and the differences of responsibility given to the child.

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When a child is born, the first thing they are exposed to is a colored blanket and their first toy. The influence of these two things will follow this person into adulthood. Throughout their infancy, the baby is referred to differently depending on its sex. If it is a boy the adjectives to describe his range from handsome to brave and strong. Whereas if it is a girl, she is automatically classified as sweet, gentle and kind. These words have a lot of influence in what a child is given as a toy and the clothing he or she is dressed in. Little girls are dressed in pink and purple, soft and gentle colors. On the other hand, boys are dressed in blue.

Let’s see how it is presented in mass culture.

Gender Roles in Disney’s Brave

Disney has always been popular among the masses, its reaches extending far beyond the originally intended audience of young children to adolescents and adults, as well. Over the years, their films have changed greatly in regards to animation, plot, character development, and settings, but one thing has remained the same: Disney princesses. These charming ladies are a common reoccurrence in Disney films and serve as role models for the children that adore their movies. However, according to England, Descartes, and Collier-Meek (2011) in their article, “Gender Portrayal and the Disney Princesses,” the princesses also model stereotypical representations of gender, as found out through content coding analyses.

“Disney films specifically have been shown to portray some stereotypical depictions of gender,” and by marking down each time the princess displays a masculine or feminine trait, these gendered characteristics can become data for comparison as to how the princesses have changed, or not changed, over the years (England, Descartes, & Collier-Meek, 2011, p. 558). By following the operational definitions of coding characteristics, we find that the masculine characteristics are curiosity about the princess, wants to explore, physically strong, assertive, unemotional, independent, athletic, engaging in intellectual activity, inspire fear, brave, described as physically attractive (masculine), give advice, and leader, while the feminine characteristics tend to physical appearance, physically weak, submissive, shows emotion, affectionate, nurturing, sensitive, tentative, helpful, troublesome, fearful, ashamed, collapses crying, described as physically attractive (feminine), asks for or accepts advice or help, and victim.

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