Where is Rey? An exploration into assumptions regarding female characters in action films.
LIddell, Tess Aurora
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Whilst female characters in action films have increased in numbers over the years, they remain marginalised in the marketing and merchandise of such films. This has important implications for childhood development, as it encourages traditional gender stereotypes and societal expectations of boys and girls, and thereby restricts opportunities that should be available to all regardless of gender. Nevertheless, the decision to marginalise female characters has been attributed to the belief that girls do not engage with action films and boys do not identify with female characters. However, empirical research exploring this belief has not yet been carried out. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to qualitatively explore children’s assumptions regarding female characters in actions films. In doing so, children between the ages of 7-12 were provided with a story-completion task, and a thematic analysis of the completed stories resulted in two core themes: Female Action Figure as Desirable, and Action Figure Affords Opportunities. These findings, which are incongruent with the belief that has reinforced gender stereotypes, are discussed in terms of their relevance to the marginalisation of female characters in action films, and the persistence of gendered marketing in today’s consumer market. Directions for future research are also discussed.
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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