Television and Sex Role Stereotyping

Television and Sex Role Stereotyping

by Barrie Gunter
     
 

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The observation of male and female models in the child's environment has been postulated as a major source of sex-role information, while the audio-visual mass media is one of the two principle sources of models for the developing child.
Research which has examined the way the sexes are portrayed on television has noted a pronounced stereotyping of women in adult… See more details below

Overview

The observation of male and female models in the child's environment has been postulated as a major source of sex-role information, while the audio-visual mass media is one of the two principle sources of models for the developing child.
Research which has examined the way the sexes are portrayed on television has noted a pronounced stereotyping of women in adult daytime, peak-time and children's programming and in advertisements, which has led writers interested in the elimination of sex stereotypes to request an enforced balance in the portrayal of social and occupational roles which have traditionally been presented as exclusively or predominantly associated with one or other sex.
According to the conclusions of this work, stereotyping has been characterized by two principal features: firstly, there is a gross under-representation of women in action-drama programmes in terms of actual numbers relative to the presence of men, something which has been referred to by one writer as the "symbolic annihilation of women".
Secondly, even when women do appear, they tend to be portrayed only in a very narrow range of roles. In television's fictional life, women tend to be most often found in the home, and much less often at work. Television has also been accused of portraying women as incompetent, especially when they appear in anything other than marital or familial roles. One major series of US research studies has indicated that whenever women in television drama programmes are involved in violence, they are more likely than men to be helpless victims.
The serious implication of this apparent tendency towards sex-role stereotyping of television lies with the possible impactthis content may have on the public's beliefs about men and women. The greatest concern is for the effects on young children at the stage when they are just beginning to learn sex-appropriate attitudes and behaviours. Several studies have indicated that a heavy diet of television viewing at an early age is associated with exaggerated stereotyping of sex role beliefs among boys and girls. This and other research is examined in this book to see what evidence there is for an influence of television on people's beliefs about the sexes.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780861960989
Publisher:
Libbey, John & Company, Limited
Publication date:
12/31/1986
Series:
IBA Television Research Monograph Series
Pages:
89

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