Kindergarten Children's Gender-Role Expectations for Television Actors1

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Abstract

This study examined four- and five-year-old children's predictions concerning the sexof persons carrying out a variety of common activities and occupations on television. The purpose of the study was to investigate the possibility that young children may have stereotyped beliefs and expectations which can be applied in the course of television viewing. Preschoolers of European Australian background viewed short scenes establishing the need for a variety of activities and in each case were asked to indicate who would perform the activity: a man, a woman or both. The children's responses revealed strong gender stereotyped expectations, and these were strongest in the case of masculine stereotyped activities. With age, children were more likely to make stereotyped judgments about the ability of males and females to perform the activities. The children's estimates of their own future competence in the activities also indicated stereotypical beliefs, with the older girls more likelyto rejectmasculine activities. It is argued that children's preconceived expectations furnish an organizational basis for their interpretation of gender related information in television.

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