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Common Sense Media Tackles Gender Stereotyping

Common Sense Media, which advocates for kid and family-friendly media, has come up with new tools for parents and content-raters—it is one of the latter—to evaluate media based on "positive gender representations" and to help programmers provide more "healthy, balanced and diverse" portrayals.

Those were based on conversations with parents and a survey of 933 parents of children 2-17 from March 28 to April 18, 2017.

Among the takeaways are that media generally reinforces that masculine traits and behaviors are more valued, that girls should be concerned about appearance and treat themselves as sexual objects "for others' consumption," and that children of color "may be particularly vulnerable" to the impact of media portrayals on gender role development. 

"Most U.S. families depend on a woman's paycheck, and many men enjoy family responsibilities, yet that is not what's portrayed on TV and at the movies," said Olivia Morgan, director of the "Gender Equity Is Common Sense" initiative.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.