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Gender Role Portrayals in Prime-Time Television Commercials in Thailand
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender Role Portrayals 5 Assertions made about female stereotyping in Asia give further reason to believe that Ortner’s claim holds true in the region. In a report to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Tiongson (1999) stated that, in spite of the diversity in the political, economic and cultural systems in Asia, the Asian media’s stereotypes of women have been “characteristically consistent” across the region. Tiongson asserted that women are portrayed as “victims, subservient, dependent, nurturing, selfless, sacrificing mother and wife, heterosexual, sex object, prostitute, mistress” (2a. Representation of Women, ¶1). An ancient Thai proverb disparagingly describing women as “the hindquarters of the elephant” signifies the historic status of women in what continues to be considered one of the most chauvinistic societies in Southeast Asia (Kurlantzick, 2000, ¶ 4). Lorraine Corner, Southeast Asia director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, specifically cites “huge problems in Thai gender relations.” According to Corner, a common stereotype of Thai women depicts them “as weak, weaker than other Southeast Asian women, as unable to help themselves” (qtd. in Kurlantzick, 2000, ¶ 13). In light of these reports on the portrayals of women in Thailand and Asia, and in light of the body of research that supports Ortner’s claim, it is expected that female stereotyping will be found in Thai television commercials. In spite of societal changes in the status and roles of women over time, gender role research indicates that female stereotyping persists. Over the past quarter century, research in the U.S. confirms that gender role stereotyping has been “surprisingly consistent” across different nations on all five continents (Furnham & Mak, 1999, Discussion, ¶ 1). And, while Bretl & Cantor (1988) claim that sexist and unequal portrayals of females in advertising occurred less often in the 1980s than in the 1970s, Bartsch et al.’s (2000) more recent replication of O’Donnell and O’Donnell (1978) and Lovdal (1989) attests to the persistence of unequal gender

Authors: Duff, Desiree.
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Gender Role Portrayals 5
Assertions made about female stereotyping in Asia give further reason to believe that
Ortner’s claim holds true in the region. In a report to the United Nations Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Tiongson (1999) stated that, in spite of the diversity in the
political, economic and cultural systems in Asia, the Asian media’s stereotypes of women have
been “characteristically consistent” across the region. Tiongson asserted that women are
portrayed as “victims, subservient, dependent, nurturing, selfless, sacrificing mother and wife,
heterosexual, sex object, prostitute, mistress” (2a. Representation of Women, ¶1). An ancient
Thai proverb disparagingly describing women as “the hindquarters of the elephant” signifies the
historic status of women in what continues to be considered one of the most chauvinistic
societies in Southeast Asia (Kurlantzick, 2000, ¶ 4). Lorraine Corner, Southeast Asia director of
the United Nations Development Fund for Women, specifically cites “huge problems in Thai
gender relations.” According to Corner, a common stereotype of Thai women depicts them “as
weak, weaker than other Southeast Asian women, as unable to help themselves” (qtd. in
Kurlantzick, 2000, ¶ 13). In light of these reports on the portrayals of women in Thailand and
Asia, and in light of the body of research that supports Ortner’s claim, it is expected that female
stereotyping will be found in Thai television commercials.
In spite of societal changes in the status and roles of women over time, gender role
research indicates that female stereotyping persists. Over the past quarter century, research in
the U.S. confirms that gender role stereotyping has been “surprisingly consistent” across
different nations on all five continents (Furnham & Mak, 1999, Discussion, ¶ 1). And, while
Bretl & Cantor (1988) claim that sexist and unequal portrayals of females in advertising occurred
less often in the 1980s than in the 1970s, Bartsch et al.’s (2000) more recent replication of
O’Donnell and O’Donnell (1978) and Lovdal (1989) attests to the persistence of unequal gender


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