Sex Roles

, Volume 65, Issue 3–4, pp 208–222 | Cite as

Gender and Race Portrayals on Spanish-Language Television

  • Rocío Rivadeneyra
Original Article


Gender and racial stereotypes continue to permeate our society and one context in which these stereotypes are perpetuated are the media. Although we have a history of content analysis of gender and racial portrayals on English-language television aired in the U.S., few systematic analyses have been conducted on Spanish-language television that airs in the same country. Our team of coders analyzed 466 characters and 481 2-minute intervals on 19 episodes of Spanish-language soap operas or telenovelas that aired in the Los Angeles broadcast area of the U.S. in the summer of 2002. Telenovelas were the programming type selected as they make up the bulk of Spanish-language network television in the U.S. The programs were coded in terms of how gender and race are presented on these programs by first coding the characteristics of speaking characters (including their race and gender) and then coding what actions these characters displayed in 2-minute intervals. Although females and males were represented in equal numbers, gender stereotypes abound. Physical appearance and nurturing roles were more likely to be the focus for female characters while occupational roles were more likely to be the focus for male characters. In terms of race, the overwhelming majority of characters were light-skinned and characters with darker skin were portrayed in extremes and more sexualized. These representations replicate some of the same stereotypes found on English-language television with some notable differences in terms of number of women represented.


Spanish-language media Television Gender roles Race portrayals Content analysis 



This research was supported in part by a New Faculty Initiation Grant at Illinois State University. The author would like to thank Federico Subervi-Velez, Lourdes Palomino, Jotam Torres, Julisa Ruiz, and Rosanna Gomez for their assistance with various aspects of this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA

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