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Gender, Class, and Race Stereotypes in American Television

In: Business and Management

Submitted By shansimons
Words 1249
Pages 5
Gender, Class, and Race Stereotypes in American Television

A Content Analysis

Gender, class, and race stereotypes abound in contemporary society, much like they have done throughout human history. With the advent of television, however, stereotypical assumptions have become so pervasive, and so diffused, that some call for a serious and purposeful scrutiny of television's contents. On the following pages, various content analyses of television programs will be addressed, followed by discussions on the greater implications race, class, and gender stereotypes have on society. The research method most often used in studying media images is called content analysis. Content analysis is a descriptive method in which researchers analyze the actual content of documents and/or programs. By systematically counting items pertaining to a specific category, researchers are able to conceptualize a larger theoretical framework based on their observations of media content (Wiseman 1970).

Content analyses of television programming show, that during prime time hours, men make up the vast majority of characters shown. Furthermore, women characters found during that same time frame are mainly in comedies, while men predominate in dramas. Thus, the implications are that men are to be taken serious, while women should not. (Tuchman 1978). Similarly, content analyses on soap operas reveal highly stereotypical representations of the genders. In soap operas, strong, willful women are predominantly depicted as villainous, while the more benevolent women are suspect of vulnerability and naivety (Benokraitis 1986). Furthermore, another sharp gender-stereotypical contrast on television content can be seen in advertisements. In fact, 75% of all television ads using women are for kitchen or bathroom related products (Tuchman 1978) On average, women tend to be portrayed in roles in...

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