In today’s world, the media has a great rein on youth as opposed to 10 or 20 years ago. Now a day we see children as young as 6 are able to get their hands on iPhones, iPads and other media devices that are available to them. Perhaps it is to play games, take a picture, or pass the time while they wait for something. But, no matter what it is, it has an influence on them.
A factor that is played in today’s media that influences youth is that of gender stereotyping. It is the behavioral norms that are thought to be appropriate in today’s world. For example, one stereotype is for the man of the house to go to work while the women stay home with the children. Another is for a woman to instantly fall in love with a man and then marry him. This particular example is portrayed in many children’s movies now a days. There seems to be one typical gender role for the women in children movies, and that is for them to fall in love with the first person they meet.
In the Disney movie Frozen, which premiered in late 2013, we see two sisters who are distant from each other due to an incident that occurred in their youth. Elsa, the older of the two, stays in her room, with the fear that she will do no good to the people around her. Anna, the youngest, is more open minded then Elsa. She feels lonely, and wants find adventure. During Elsa’s coronation Anna meets Prince Hans from another kingdom. She is instantly swooning, and they are engaged within a matter of hours. When they go to tell Elsa about their engagement she goes ballistic and tells Anna that you cannot marry someone that you have just met.
Anna is an example of gender stereotyping. In other Disney movies we see the same thing; the princess instantly falls in love with her savior without any knowledge of who the person is. In the case of Frozen, Anna falls in love with Hans, who saves her from falling into a sailboat. In the end Hans turns out to be the bad guy, he only pretended to fall in love with Anna so he could take over Anna’s kingdom.
What Anna wants is to live happily ever after. She expects to have the perfect love, with no struggle and no hard work. This is how women are being portrayed in movies now days. Generally this is influential on children because it gives them unrealistic expectations on what finding a spouse in the real world will be like. Surely it is not as simple as they make it seem, just as Elsa says, you cannot marry someone that you have just met.
Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf, historic female writers would not have approved of Anna’s wanting to get married. They both were strong believers in getting an education and making something of yourself before considering marriage. “It is vain to expect virtue from women till they are in some degree independent of men.” This means that it is not wise to accept wisdom from a woman unless they are capable of being independent from a man.
Gender stereotyping can begin as early as birth. Once parents find out the...