TV producers think boys won’t watch girl heroines. Turns out that’s not true. (Slate)Image courtesy of Disney Junior.

TV producers think boys won’t watch girl heroines. Turns out that’s not true. (Slate)

Originally Published: Slate.com • July 21, 2014 

It’s 2013, not 1985, but it’s still considerably harder for my preschool-age daughter to find representations of herself onscreen than it will be for our newborn son, once he starts watching TV.

We’ve come a long way from the days when Katha Pollitt coined the term “Smurfette Principle” to describe children’s fare that offered just one, wholly stereotyped female in a vast sea of male characters, but still, studies have found that, on average, children’s television and family films offer about one female with a speaking part for every two males. While it’s tempting to think that strong girl characters like Brave’s Merida are changing things, the data shows that in family films, at least, the unbalanced gender ratio has been stagnant for more than 20 years, according to Stacy Smith, a USC communications professor.

Why? Supposedly, girls will watch so-called boy’s content, with male leads and action-packed adventures, but boys won’t watch girls’ shows, starring girl protagonists and girl-friendly story lines. And research suggests that this assumption still influences the choices of those making children’s fare…But is it true?

Read the Full Article.