5. Go, Go, Power Rangers: Tradional Gender Roles

May 6, 2009

While the 90’s hit show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers borders more on race than on gender, but the gender representations in just the opening credits exemplify typical male/female stereotypes.

View the opening credits here.

Chapter 3 describes language and sex role stereotypes for both men and women, and they can be seen in the set-up for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Chapter 3 says that men “are portrayed as independent and serious,” and “are defined and described by activities and accomplishments” (p.63), and says that women “are portrayed as decorative and emotional,” and “are defined and described by appearance and relationship to others” (p. 63).

So what are the Power Rangers doing? Jason is doing a roundhouse kick. Trini seems to be stretching in a food court, surrounded by people. Zack is bustin’ a move. Kimberly is doing gymnastics while other people watch. Billy is fighting some aliens and winning.

The women were surrounded by people. Even though they were moving, they were around lots of other people, and were more “decorated” (Trini’s hip 90’s outfit and Kimberly’s bright pink spandex). It is evident that their appearance mattered.

The men were all action-oriented. Jason and Billy were being very masculine and Zack was being very awesome. Even though Zack seemed to be hanging out with some kids, all three men were represented as largely independent.

The introduction to the show gives the audience what to expect: five awesome teenagers, but two distinctly feminine teens and three distinctly masculine teens. By playing up the gendered stereotypes in the beginning, the opening credits set a clear, gender-traditional tone for the rest of the show.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Levy, S., & Saban, M. (Producers). (1993). Mighty Morphin Power Rangers [Television broadcast]. FOX.

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