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Gender Role Portrayals in Prime-Time Television Commercials in Thailand
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender Role Portrayals 6 representation. In fact, in Bartsch et al.’s study, the only measurement showing a decrease in gender bias was voice-overs. What is perhaps more surprising is the study’s finding that commercials may have “taken a step backwards” from becoming gender neutral in some areas (Bartsch et al., 2000, Discussion, ¶ 1). On the other hand, Bresnahan, Inoue, Liu, and Nishida (2001) report that, although some measures indicate that traditional gender stereotypes continue to be prevalent, other measures show significant shifts in gender role portrayals. In Japan, Taiwan, and Malaysia, for example, a large number of characters represented nonstereotypical roles rather than traditional gender roles. Perhaps these changes reflect what Bresnahan et al. consider to be major societal changes in the roles of women in Asia. Societal changes similar to those cited in Bresnahan et al. (2001) appear to have taken place in Thailand. According to statistics from the United Nations Development Fund for Women, approximately 68 percent of Thai women were part of the workforce in the year 2000. That figure represents one of the highest percentages of women in the workforce in all of Asia (Kurlantzick, 2000, ¶ 9). Tiongson (1999) stated that if indeed there has been any change in media portrayals during the 1990s that might reflect this societal change, it may be found in the current trend “to project women as “liberated”, young, upward and mobile professionals who remain devoted to their reproductive duties and roles” (2a. Representation of Women, ¶ 6). Tiongson went on to acknowledge the “emerging images of women as super heroes, detectives, underworld thugs, iron’gloved boss ladies to counter the frail, selfless, ingratiating Madonna” (2a, ¶ 6). Tiongson pointed out, however, that these emerging images “do not offer less stereotyped roles” (2a, ¶ 6). Again, since gender role portrayal research has not been conducted in Thailand, this study cannot make predictions regarding either the persistence of certain role portrayals or the

Authors: Duff, Desiree.
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Gender Role Portrayals 6
representation. In fact, in Bartsch et al.’s study, the only measurement showing a decrease in
gender bias was voice-overs. What is perhaps more surprising is the study’s finding that
commercials may have “taken a step backwards” from becoming gender neutral in some areas
(Bartsch et al., 2000, Discussion, ¶ 1). On the other hand, Bresnahan, Inoue, Liu, and Nishida
(2001) report that, although some measures indicate that traditional gender stereotypes continue
to be prevalent, other measures show significant shifts in gender role portrayals. In Japan,
Taiwan, and Malaysia, for example, a large number of characters represented nonstereotypical
roles rather than traditional gender roles. Perhaps these changes reflect what Bresnahan et al.
consider to be major societal changes in the roles of women in Asia.
Societal changes similar to those cited in Bresnahan et al. (2001) appear to have taken
place in Thailand. According to statistics from the United Nations Development Fund for
Women, approximately 68 percent of Thai women were part of the workforce in the year 2000.
That figure represents one of the highest percentages of women in the workforce in all of Asia
(Kurlantzick, 2000, ¶ 9). Tiongson (1999) stated that if indeed there has been any change in
media portrayals during the 1990s that might reflect this societal change, it may be found in the
current trend “to project women as “liberated”, young, upward and mobile professionals who
remain devoted to their reproductive duties and roles” (2a. Representation of Women, ¶ 6).
Tiongson went on to acknowledge the “emerging images of women as super heroes, detectives,
underworld thugs, iron’gloved boss ladies to counter the frail, selfless, ingratiating Madonna”
(2a, ¶ 6). Tiongson pointed out, however, that these emerging images “do not offer less
stereotyped roles” (2a, ¶ 6).
Again, since gender role portrayal research has not been conducted in Thailand, this
study cannot make predictions regarding either the persistence of certain role portrayals or the


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