The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Role Models, Representation and Gender Skew

The second in the CMF Evening Events series saw a spirited discussion on gender imprinting in the younger viewer.
Olivia Dickinson (Event Producer for CMF) reports...

For the full article, including panel biographies and audience remarks, click here.

On 27th November five professionals in children’s media and education came together to try to unpick the effects of gender-skewed media, marketing and products on children.  Are gender-stereotyped media and products stifling boys’ and girls’ expectations, limiting their skills and aspirations and ultimately affecting their career choices? The panel, chaired by CMF Patron Paul Shuttleworth, came to the meeting with various opinions. Campaign group Let Toys be Toys think the answer is probably yes, Professor Carrie Paechter isn’t sure, as most relevant evidence-based research is about children’s responses to stereotypes in picture books, while the mantra of Beth Cox (from Inclusive Minds) is to create for children, not to create difference by creating for boys and girls.

And does it really matter?

[The event was] a thoughtful examination of the increasing 'pinkification' of girls' toys at retail, and what to do about it. I was particularly impressed by the campaign Let Toys Be Toys which, although only a year old, has already persuaded a number of retailers to re-think the boys' aisles / girls' aisles in shops.’ Rachel Murrell, children’s writer.

The panel, which also included Julia Posen, Commercial Director at Walker Books, and Kay Benbow, Cbeebies Controller, discussed their own experience of gender skew and gender-neutral media. Although many questions were left unanswered, and there wasn’t always a general consensus in how less gender-skewed media was to be achieved, everyone agreed that change is needed.

As Fen Coles from Letterbox Library pointed out, ‘TV and publishing are creative industries, there’s nothing creative about limiting children.

For the full article, including panel biographies and audience remarks, click here.

The next Evening Event will be announced shortly.

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