The Cinderella Complex: Word embeddings reveal gender stereotypes in movies and books

Autoři: Huimin Xu aff001;  Zhang Zhang aff002;  Lingfei Wu aff003;  Cheng-Jun Wang aff001
Působiště autorů: School of Journalism and Communication, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China aff001;  School of Systems Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China aff002;  School of Computing and Information, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225385


Our analysis of thousands of movies and books reveals how these cultural products weave stereotypical gender roles into morality tales and perpetuate gender inequality through storytelling. Using the word embedding techniques, we reveal the constructed emotional dependency of female characters on male characters in stories. We call this narrative structure “Cinderella complex”, which assumes that women depend on men in the pursuit of a happy, fulfilling life. Our analysis covers a substantial portion of narratives that shape the modern collective memory, including 7,226 books, 6,087 movie synopses, and 1,109 movie scripts. The “Cinderella complex” is observed to exist widely across periods and contexts, reminding how gender stereotypes are deeply rooted in our society. Our analysis of the words surrounding female and male characters shows that the lives of males are adventure-oriented, whereas the lives of females are romantic-relationship oriented. Finally, we demonstrate the social endorsement of gender stereotypes by showing that gender-stereotypical movies are voted more frequently and rated higher.

Klíčová slova:

Careers – Culture – Emotions – Happiness – Linguistic morphology – Sense of agency – Sexual and gender issues – Word embedding


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2019 Číslo 11