Content Analysis of Gender Roles in Media: Where Are We Now and Where Should We Go?
- 39k Downloads
This paper provides a commentary regarding the quantitative content analyses of gender roles in media published in the two special issues of Sex Roles (Rudy et al. 2010a, 2011). A few themes and some overarching lessons emerge from the wide variety of data presented. First, it is clear that women are under-represented across a range of media and settings. Second, when women are portrayed, it is often in a circumscribed and negative manner. Women are often sexualized—typically by showing them in scanty or provocative clothing. Women are also subordinated in various ways, as indicated by their facial expressions, body positions, and other factors. Finally, they are shown in traditionally feminine (i.e., stereotyped) roles. Women are portrayed as nonprofessionals, homemakers, wives or parents, and sexual gatekeepers. Although the studies generally support these conclusions, some interesting moderating factors are identified, such as race. It is suggested that next steps involve the development of theory and a body of empirical evidence regarding the effects of exposure to under-representation of women. Data concerning the effects of exposure to sexualized or stereotypical portrayals on young audiences is also lacking. Finally, content analyses of new media, including those created and distributed by users, are recommended as a next step. It is concluded that, while increasing the representation of women in media may be valuable, it is also critical that the manner in which they are portrayed be simultaneously considered to avoid increasing negative or stereotypical depictions that may be particularly harmful to viewers.
KeywordsMedia effects Content analysis Gender roles Sex
- American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2010). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report-full.pdf.
- Bandura, A. (2002). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 121–154). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Brown, J. D., L’Engle, K. L., Pardun, C. J., Guo, G., & Jackson, C. (2006). Sexy media matter: Exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines predicts black and white adolescents’ sexual behavior. Pediatrics, 117, 1018–1027. doi: 10.1542/peds.2005-1406.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Calvert, S. L., & Huston, A. C. (1987). Television and children’s gender schemata. In L. S. Liben & M. L. Signorella (Eds.), Children’s gender schemata (pp. 75–88). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
- Dal Cin, S., Zanna, M. P., & Fong, G. T. (2004). Narrative persuasion and overcoming resistance. In E. S. Knowles & J. A. Linn (Eds.), Resistance and persuasion (pp. 175–191). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Fox News (2007). Report: Sexual images psychologically damaging young girls. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,252859,00.html
- Fullerton, H.N. Jr. (1999). Labor force participation: 75 years of change, 1950-98 and 1998–2025. Monthly Labor Review, 122.Google Scholar
- Gerbner, G., & Signorielli, N. (1979). Women and minorities in television drama 1969–1978. Philadelphia: The Annenberg School of Communications, University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
- Greenberg, B. S., & Atkin, C. (1982). Learning about minorities from television: A research agenda. In G. Berry & G. Mitchell-Kerman (Eds.), Television and the socialization of the minority child (pp. 215–243). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
- Greenberg, B. S., Mastro, D., & Brand, J. E. (2002). Minorities and the mass media: Television into the 21st century. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 333–351). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- LifesiteNews.com. (2007). Boycott of Dove products urged as nude ads air prime time. Retrieved from http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2007/mar/07030501
- McDermott, S. T., & Greenberg, B. S. (1984). Parents, peers and television as determinants of Black children’s esteem. In R. Bostrom (Ed.), Communication yearbook 8 (pp. 164–177). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
- Oatley, K. (1996). Inference in narrative and science. In D. R. Olson & N. Torrance (Eds.), Modes of thought: Explorations in culture and cognition (pp. 123–140). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- RAND National Defense Research Institute. (2010). Sexual orientation and U.S. military personnel policy: An update of RAND’s 1993 study. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
- Rideout, V. J., Foehr, U. G., & Roberts, D. F. (2010). Generation M2 media in the lives of 8- to 18-year olds. Menlo Park: Kaiser Family Foundation.Google Scholar
- Rudy, R. M., Popova, L., & Linz, D. G. (2011). Content analysis II [Special issue]. Sex Roles, this issue.Google Scholar
- Simmons New Media Study (2009). New media study discovers Americans need 38 hours per day to complete their tasks. Experian Simmons Press Center. Retrieved from http://www.smrb.com/web/guest/press-release-new-media-study-discovery.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control, MMWR. (2009). Differences in prevalence of obesity among Black, White, and Hispanic Adults—United States, 2006–2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, 58, 740–744.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2000). Changes in women’s labor force participation in the 20th century.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2009). Women in the labor force: A databook. (Report No. 1018).Google Scholar