If you want to raise the next generation of kinder,
gentler boys, cut back on the punching, kicking superhero
A new study looking at the media finds today's superheroes
are aggressive, sarcastic, exploit women, flaunt bling and convey
their manhood with high-powered guns-not like the good guys of the
"They're no longer the sweet, vulnerable superheroes. Most
often they're action heroes who are stereotypes of masculinity,"
says psychologist Sharon Lamb, co-author of the study.
And it's not just messages of aggression little boys are
watching. Plenty of media heroes hate school, get as many girls as
they can and party. "Some of the bonding you see in these cartoon
movies, like in 'Open Season'-he and his best friend get closer by
breaking into a store and bingeing on soda pop," Lamb
It's impossible to completely shield kids from these media
messages, so parents' best bet is to minimize exposure and talk
about what they see, she says. Point out examples in their life
where the stereotypes they see on TV don't hold true.
"When you make someone aware of something, they can fight
against it," Lamb says.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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