, Volume 26, Issue 7-8, pp 243-259

Sex role stereotyping in Australian television advertisements

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Television has attracted considerable attention in recent years because of alleged bias in its sex-role content. Studies of television in Great Britain and the United States have generally fuelled concerns that the medium presents male and female characters in traditionally stereotyped ways. Comparatively little research has focused on the way men and women are depicted in other nations' television. Such analyses contribute towards a more comprehensive account of sex role stereotyping and to cross cultural investigation. The present study examined the portrayal of male and female characters in a sample of contemporary Australian television advertisements. A sample of evening commercials was analyzed using measures developed in North American and British work. Strong evidence of differences in the presentation of male and female characters was obtained, and the differences were consistent with those reported in studies of television content in the northern hemisphere. There is little reason to suppose that this area of Australian media is changing substantially in response to public debate. The implications of possible differences between nations in terms of sex role stereotyping in commercials are discussed.