Children's Television

Professor Dafna Lemish, editor of the Journal of Children and Media, incoming Chair of the Department of Radio-Television in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at Southern Illinois University, and visiting scholar at CMCH, has published a new book, Screening Gender on Children’s Television: The Views of Producers Around the World (Routledge, 2010).

The book offers readers insights into the transformations taking place in the presentation of gender portrayals in television productions aimed at younger audiences. It goes far beyond a critical analysis of the existing portrayals of gender and culture by sharing media professionals’ action-oriented recommendations for change that would promote gender equity, social diversity and the well-being of children.

Incorporating interviews with 135 producers of children’s television from 65 countries, this book discusses the role television plays in the lives of young people and, more specifically, in developing gender identity. It examines how gender images presented to children on television are intertwined with important existential and cultural concerns that occupy the social agenda worldwide, including the promotion of education for girls, prevention of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence, and caring for “neglected” boys who lack healthy masculine role models, as well as confronting the pressures of the beauty myth.

The book also explores how children’s television producers struggle to portray issues such as sex/sexuality and the preservation of local cultures in a profit-driven market which continually strives to reinforce gender segregation. The book documents proactive attempts by producers to advance social change, illustrating how television can serve to provide positive, empowering images for children around the world.

Learn more about Professor Lemish’s research exploring the role of media in children’s lives.

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