Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Internet Marketing of Disney Theme Parks - An Analysis of Gender and Race

It's been a while since I posted a Disney-related academic papers/research on here. So it's about time to post another one.

This one examines the online marketing of Disney theme parks:

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to analyze the portrayal of gender and race in the images on the official Disney websites used to market five theme parks: the Disneyland Parks in California, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. This is important because of the growth of e-commerce, Disney’s global influence, and the potential impact on those who view the images. The 452 images that had Disney human characters, human-like characters, animals, cast members, or guests were coded for gender. The main gender hypothesis, that the percentage of male-dominated images would exceed the percentage of female-dominated images, was tested using gender disparity values, which measured the gap between the percentage of male-dominated and female-dominated images. The hypothesis tended to be supported overall, and for most of the resorts (e.g., Florida), lands (e.g., Adventureland), and activities (attractions, entertainment, dining) for human characters, human-like characters, animals, and cast members, but not for guests. Furthermore, the hypotheses that gender disparity values would be highest for images of animals and lowest for images of guests was supported for all five resorts, six of eight lands, and all three activities. Additional analysis also revealed the preponderance of same-sex pairings in parent–child combinations in the images. With regard to race, while the images of some theme parks displayed more racial diversity among their guests than others, in some images, individuals of different races were shown interacting whereas in others they were not. Explanations for these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed. 

The paper is open-access, so you can download it and read it for yourself.


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