Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Caught Between East and West? Portrayals of Gender in Bulgarian Television Advertisements

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Sex Roles Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

This study conducted a content analysis of Bulgarian television advertisements in 2004 to examine the prevailing portrayals of gender in the media environment of the postcommunist, consumer-based Bulgarian society. The study addressed the research questions of how gender was depicted in Bulgarian advertising and what possible social implications these gender portrayals can be for explaining gender relations in postcommunist societies. In examining a sample of 127 ads, the study found that content was highly stereotyped, portraying women in depending roles and in sexually suggestive appearance, similar to results from other European studies. Observations are made about the differences between the current study and previous sex roles studies, recognizing the specific cultural environment in Bulgaria.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Anachkova, B. (1995). Women in Bulgaria. In B. Lobodzinska (Ed.), Family, women and employment in Central and Eastern Europe (pp.19–27). London: Greenwood.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barber, B. (1998). Democracy at risk: American culture is a global culture. World Policy Journal, 15(2), 29–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Belch, G. E., Belch, M. A., & Villarreal, A. (1987). Effects of advertising communications: Review of research. In J. Sheth (Ed.), Research in marketing (pp. 59–117), New York: JAI.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bretl, D. J., & Cantor, J. (1988). The portrayals of men and women in U.S. television commercials: A recent content analysis and trends over 15 years. Sex Roles, 18, 595–609.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bulgarian Statistical Institute Annual Report. (2006). Retrieved March 15, 2007, from http://www.nsi.bg/Factual_e/NewE-report2006.htm.

  • Cheng, H. (1997). Holding up half of the sky? A sociocultural comparison of gender-role portrayals in Chinese and U.S. advertising. International Journal of Advertising, 16, 295–320.

    Google Scholar 

  • Courtney, A. E., & Lockeretz, S. (1971). A woman’s place: An analysis of the roles portrayed by women’s magazine advertisements. Journal of Marketing Research, 8, 82–97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Courtney, A., & Whipple, T. (1983). Sex stereotyping in advertising. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath.

    Google Scholar 

  • Culley, J. D., & Bennett, R. (1976). Selling women, selling blacks. Journal of Communication, 26, 160–174.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Einhorn, B. (1993). Imagining women: Literature and the media. In Cinderella goes to market: Citizenship, gender and women’s movements in East Central Europe (pp. 216–256). London: Verso.

  • Feick, L., & Gierl, H. (1996). Skepticism about advertising: A comparison of East and West German consumers. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 13, 227–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Funk, N., & Mueller, M. (Eds.) (1993). Gender politics and postcommunism: Reflections from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • Furnham, A. (1993). Reaching for the counter: The new child consumer. London: Social Affairs Units.

    Google Scholar 

  • Furnham, A., & Mak, T. (1999). Sex role stereotyping in television commercials: A review and comparison of fourteen studies done on five continents over 25 years. Sex Roles, 41, 413–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Furnham, A., Babitzkow, M., & Uguccioni, S. (1999). Gender stereotyping in television advertisements: A comparative study of French and Danish television. Genetic, Social and General Psychology Monographs, 1261, 79–104.

    Google Scholar 

  • Furnham, A., & Bitar, N. (1993). The stereotyped portrayal of men and women in British advertisements. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 33, 175–185.

    Google Scholar 

  • Furnham, A., & Farragher, E. (2000). A cross-cultural content analysis of sex-role stereotyping in television advertisements: A comparison between Great Britain and New Zealand. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 44, 415–434.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Furnham, A., Mak, T., & Tanidjojo, L. (2000). An Asian perspective on the portrayal of men and women in television advertisements: Studies from Hong Kong and Indonesian television. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30, 2341–2364.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Furnham, A., & Skae, E. (1997). Portrayals of men and women in British advertisements. Sex Roles, 29, 297–310.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Furnham, A., & Voli, V. (1989). Gender stereotypes in Italian television advertisements. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 33, 175–185.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilly, M. C. (1988). Sex roles in advertising: A comparison of television advertisements in Australia, Mexico, and the United States. Journal of Marketing, 52, 175–185.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goffman, E. (1979). Gender advertisements. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gunter, B. (1995). Television and gender representations. London: John Libby.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris, P. R., & Stobart, J. (1986). Sex role stereotyping in British advertisements at different times of the day: An extension and refinement of Manstead and McCulloch (1981). British Journal of Social Psychology, 25, 155–164.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hughes, D. M. (2005). Supplying women for the sex industry: Trafficking from the Russian Federation. In A. Stulhofer, & T. Sanfort (Eds.), Sexuality and gender in postcommunist Eastern Europe and Russia (pp. 209–230). New York: Haworth.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kelly-Holmes, H. (1998). The discourse of Western marketing professionals in Central and Eastern Europe: Their role in the creation of a context for marketing and advertising messages. Discourse & Society, 9, 339–362.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kostova, D. (1993). The transition to democracy in Bulgaria: Challenges and risks for women. In V. M. Moghadam (Ed.), Democratic reform and the position of women in transitional economies (pp. 92–109). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kotzeva, T. (1999). Re-imaging Bulgarian women: The Marxist legacy and women’s self-identity. In C. Corrin (Ed.), Gender and identity in Central and Eastern Europe (pp. 83–98). London: Frank Cass.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leppard, W., Ogletree, S., & Wallen, E. (1993). Gender stereotyping in medial advertising: Much ado about nothing. Sex Roles, 29, 829–838.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Levingstone, S., & Green, G. (1986). Television advertisements and the portrayal of gender. British Journal of Social Psychology, 25, 149–154.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lopez-Claros, A., & Zahidi, S. (2005). Women’s empowerment: Measuring the global gender gap. World Economic Forum.

  • Mamonova, T. (1989). Russian women’s studies: Essays on sexism in Soviet culture. Oxford: Pergamon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mamonova, T. (1994). Women’s Glasnost vs. Naglost: Stopping Russian backlash. London: Bergin & Garvey.

    Google Scholar 

  • Manstead, A. S., & McCulloch, C. (1981). Sex-role stereotypes in British advertisements. British Journal of Social Psychology, 20, 171–180.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mazella, C., Durkin, K., Cerini, E., & Buralli, P. (1992). Sex-role stereotyping in Australian television advertisements. Sex Roles, 26, 243–259.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McArthur, L. Z., & Resko, B. G. (1975). The portrayals of men and women in American television portrayals. Journal of Social Psychology, 97, 209–220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Millan, E., & Elliot, R. (2004). Offensive advertising, public policy and the law: The Rulings on the Zagorka case. Journal of Consumer Policy, 27, 475–493.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moghadam, V. (Ed.) (1993). Democratic reform and the position of women in transitional economies. Oxford: Claredon.

  • Mwangi, M. (1996). Gender roles portrayed in Kenyan television commercials. Sex Roles, 34, 205–214.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F., & Pinto, I. (1998). Gender stereotypes in Portuguese television advertisements. Sex Roles, 39, 153–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nikolic, T. (2005). Serbian sexual response: Gender and sexuality in Serbia during the 1990s. In A. Stulhofer & T. Sanfort (Eds.), Sexuality and gender in postcommunist Eastern Europe and Russia (pp.125–147). New York: Haworth.

    Google Scholar 

  • Panova, R., Gavrilova, R., & Merdzanska, C. (1993). Thinking gender: Bulgarian women’s impossibilities. In N. Funk & M. Mueller (Eds.), Gender politics and post-Communism: Reflections from Eastern European and the former Soviet Union (pp. 15–22). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rak, D. S., & McMullen, L. M. (1987). Sex-role stereotyping in television commercials: A verbal response mode and content analysis. Canada Journal of Behavioural Science, 19, 25–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reichert, T., Lambiase, J., Morgan, S., Carstarphen, & Zavoina, S. (1999). Cheesecake and beefcake: No matter how you slice it, sexual explicitness in advertising continues to increase. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 76(1), 7–20.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roman, D. (2001). Gendering Eastern Europe: Pre-feminism, prejudice, and East–West dialogues in post-communist Romania. Women’s Studies International Forum, 24(1), 53–66.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schneider, K. C., & Schneider, S. B. (1979). Trends in sex roles in television commercials. Journal of Marketing, 43, 79–84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schudson, M. (1984). Advertising: The uneasy persuasion. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sender, K. (1999). Selling sexual subjectivities: Audiences respond to gay window advertising. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 16, 172–196.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sinclair, J. (1987). Images incorporated: Advertising as industry and ideology. New York: Croom Helm.

    Google Scholar 

  • Skoric, M., & Furnham, A. (2003). Gender role stereotyping in television advertisements: A comparative study of Biritsh and Serbian television. In J. Z. Arsdale, (Ed.), Trends in social psychology (pp. 73–89). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science.

    Google Scholar 

  • Soley, L., & Kurzbard, G. (1986). Sex in advertising: A comparison of 1964 and 1984 magazine advertisements. Journal of Advertising, 15(3), 46–54, 64.

    Google Scholar 

  • Soley, L., & Reid, L. (1988). Baiting viewers: Violence and sex in television program advertisements, Journalism Quarterly, 62, 105–110, 131.

    Google Scholar 

  • Statistical Office of the European Communities. (2005, May 9). Women and Young People in the Bulgarian labor market. Retrieved March 1, 2007, from http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu.

  • Stulhofer, A., & Sandfort, T. (Eds.) (2005). Sexuality and gender in postcommunist Eastern Europe and Russia. New York: Haworth.

  • Tuchman, G. (1979). Women’s depiction by the mass media, Signs, 4(3), 528–542.

    Google Scholar 

  • TV ratings (Data supplement from TV Plan/TNS). (2004, July). Media World.

  • Uray, N. (2003). An analysis of the portrayals of gender roles in Turkish television advertisements. Sex Roles, 1, 77–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • World Association of Newspapers. World Press Trends 2004. Retrieved February 1, 2007, from http://www.wan-press.org.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elza Ibroscheva.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ibroscheva, E. Caught Between East and West? Portrayals of Gender in Bulgarian Television Advertisements. Sex Roles 57, 409–418 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9261-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9261-x

Keywords

Navigation