Sex Roles

, Volume 46, Issue 11, pp 429-437

First online:

You Look Mahvelous: An Examination of Gender and Appearance Comments in the 1999–2000 Prime-Time Season

  • Martha M. LauzenAffiliated withSchool of Communication, San Diego State University
  • , David M. Dozier

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The purpose of this study was to examine the number and type of appearance comments made and received between female and male characters and whether the employment of women writers mitigated verbal interactions about appearance in the 1999–2000 prime-time season. The results show that although male and female characters comment equally on other characters' appearance, female characters are twice as likely to be the recipients of those comments. The gender of the receiver also influences the type of appearance comment made. Male characters are more likely to insult males than females and to compliment females than males. In contrast, female characters insult and compliment female and male characters with equal frequency. Overall, the employment of women writers is related to a significant increase in the overall number of appearance comments made and a significant decrease in the number of insults.

appearance beauty compliments content analysis insults occupational roles politeness television