The media offer plentiful opportunities for models and observational learning for gendered behaviors, including those that appear in cartoons. Media analysts (Thompson & Zerbinos, 1995, 1997) concluded that changes have occurred in portrayals of girls, but television programming remains oriented toward boys. Watch several hours of cartoon programs and collect information about the gender of the characters, what each character does, and what role the characters have in the cartoon. This information will allow our class to do a gender analysis of current cartoon programming, which we can compare to earlier analyses. What percentage of characters is female? How prominent are female roles? Are female characters positive or negative? How many minutes of programming includes each gender? Are there differences among the various types of cartoons, such as action versus comedy? What messages do these cartoons send to girls and to boys?
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