Research 5: Beyond Pink or Blue – Report

Posted on: Friday 03 July 2015 7:38am by Tracy Warren


  • Boys don’t like too much talk or emotion
  • Girls don’t like violence, but love aesthetics.


Dr Maya Götz, Head of theInternational Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) at the Bayerische Rundfunk, presented interesting findings from a German television channel on the appeal of characters and the social construction of gender.

They researched 40 girls and 40 boys aged 8-11 and it was humorous to see the stereotypes really do exist.

It starts with pink or blue clothing, interest level in girls and boys watching soccer, pink rabbits with ribbons in their hair.

When creating content it’s important to keep in mind the way boys work:

  • Boys dream of star wars outfits, driving a Batman car and having Spiderman’s powers.
  • Start with their competence not weakness.
  • Be careful with too much talk.
  • Be careful with sensitive themes like kissing.
  • Don’t force them to feel deep sad emotion.

Their connecting character is Spongebob. He is the ideal self, he wants everything good and it all goes wrong (not his fault) then he still has fun. He has an ideal friend and a ‘girl’ friend that wears a helmet so she cannot kiss you.  Traditional heroes do not have huge appeal. A prince, for instance, would have to kill at least 3 dragons to earn his title!

and the minefield of understanding girls..

  • Start with being on the right moral side.
  • Allow harmony to happen.
  • No violence.
  • Use the world of pink princesses and fairies.
  • What does it mean to be a princess? – To be valuable just because you are born!
  • Girls are really proud of being a girl like their mummy.
  • They love aesthetics.

How children generally use their tv heroes.

To fulfill the wish to be loved, be proficient, to decide on one’s own what is right and wrong, to have ones own will, to be seen.

Research showed that children want a character with a normal shape body or one that looks like them or someone they can relate to and you can de-gender a character by using neutral colours, abilities etc.

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Tracy Warren

About the author

Tracy Warren

Tracy Jayne Creative, Freelancer

Tracy spends her days photographing young people and writing children’s books.  She is currently working on a long list of tv programme ideas and collaborating with others on factual impactful programming.  She has recently discovered a love of blogging, food photography, children’s fashion photography, cinematography and editing.  She has been living in… Read more