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Is She an Expert or Just a Woman? Gender Differences in the Presentation of Experts in TV Talk Shows

Abstract

In order to explore gender differences in the presentation of experts on television this study used a content analysis of 238 h of 64 Israeli talk shows from 2012 where 495 experts took part. Men experts outnumbered women experts in a 1.7:1 ratio. These men were significantly older than the women and tended to have a higher academic rank. The topics on which the experts commentated reflect familiar gender stereotypes with men more likely to talk about security and self defense, politics and economy and women more often talk about body grooming and child care. The results, which partly accord with feminist criticisms that blame the popular media with symbolic annihilation of scholarly women and partly reflect an actual over-representation of men in senior academic ranks, are also analyzed in relation to the findings of studies that looked at the gender of scientists and scholars in fictional TV programming.

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Acknowledgment

The authors express their indebtedness to Prof. Irene Frieze, editor of Sex Roles, and to several anonymous reviewers for the good advice provided throughout the review of the article.

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Correspondence to Amir Hetsroni.

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Hetsroni, A., Lowenstein, H. Is She an Expert or Just a Woman? Gender Differences in the Presentation of Experts in TV Talk Shows. Sex Roles 70, 376–386 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-014-0370-z

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Keywords

  • Television
  • Talk shows
  • Content analysis
  • Israel
  • Academic experts
  • Skirt syndrome
  • Symbolic annihilation
  • Cultural lag
  • Gender