Hetero-romantic love and heterosexiness in children's g-rated films

Karin A. Martin, Emily Kazyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations


In this article, the authors examine accounts of heterosexuality in media for children. The authors analyze all the G-rated films grossing $100 million dollars or more between 1990 and 2005 and find two main accounts of heterosexuality. First, heterosexuality is constructed through hetero-romantic love relationships as exceptional, powerful, magical, and transformative. Second, heterosexuality outside of relationships is constructed through portrayals of men gazing desirously at women's bodies. Both of these findings have implications for our understanding of heteronormativity. The first is seemingly at odds with theories that claim that heterosexuality's mundane, assumed, everyday ordinariness lends heteronormativity its power. In fact, the authors suggest heterosexual exceptionalism may extend the pervasiveness of heterosexuality and serve as a means of inviting investment in it. The second offers ways to begin to think about how heteronormativity is gendered and racialized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-336
Number of pages22
JournalGender and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Adolescence/children
  • Media/mass communications
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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