As children and adolescents grow and develop, their personalities and worldviews are being increasingly influenced by that to which they are exposed. One such exposure that potentially holds particular sway over children is popular culture, and one of the largest and most prominent facets of popular culture is the superhero genre. This presentation will examine preexisting research and literature discussing how gender psychology and development in children influences depictions of superheroes and how depictions of superheroes influence gender psychology in children through the lens of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, three of the most popular and long-lasting superheroes. More specifically, the presentation will address, via specific depictions of the aforementioned superheroes, issues falling under the umbrella of children’s perception of gender psychology such as stereotypes, body image, self-esteem, masculinity, femininity, cross-gender interactions, make-believe/fantasy-play, and toy-play. Beyond that, the presentation will close with future application of these ideas.
Bradyn Shively is a senior at Kent State Stark majoring in psychology and minoring in English. After graduating this December, he hopes to obtain a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling in order to become a counselor. Beyond that, he works as a lab assistant at the Computer Lab HelpDesk, as a junior tutor at the Writing Center, and is involved with BrainStorm. His hobbies include spending time with his friends and family, Batman, movies, television, books, Batman, video games, Batman, and Batman.