Honors College Thesis


Gender Stereotypes in Halloween Costumes Public Deposited

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  • Previous research has shown that gender stereotypes are present in advertisements and in popular culture items. We conducted a content analysis of Halloween costumes to examine the presence of gender stereotypes in the poses of the models, weapons, and costume role (e.g. hero, counter authority, mythical creature, royalty). A sample of 990 costumes was randomly selected from a larger pool of costumes from four different U.S. costume retailers. An exploratory analysis for Spanish costumes was also conducted with a sample of 100 randomly selected costumes from the Spanish website Party Fiesta. Chi-square analyses revealed that in both datasets, men were more frequently posed actively, had active hands, stable/grounded stance, and stable/grounded feet. Women were more frequently posed with decorative hands, with a curved spine, off-balanced or displayed stance, and off-balanced or displayed feet. Male models were twice as likely to be pictured with a weapon as female models, though this did not reach significance in the Spanish dataset. Female models were more likely to take on costume roles of princess and mythical creature, while male models were more likely to take on costume roles of heroes and counter authorities. The results of this study indicate that gender stereotypes are present in Halloween costumes. Gender socialization consequences are discussed.
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