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Representations of Gender and Age in Television Commercials: A Content Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender & Age in Commercials 13 Several behavioral variables were also assessed for each character. First, the primary behavior the character engaged in during the commercial was coded into one of four categories, including "work" (character is engaged in a paid working position, either white-collar, blue-collar, or professional athlete), "domestic" (character is engaged in unpaid domestic work in the home, such as doing laundry, making dinner, or washing dishes), "recreation" (character is engaged in recreational activity in or outside the home, such as watching television, playing sports, attending a football game,) and "other" (any behavior that does not qualify as work, domestic, or recreational behavior.) The degree of physical activity of each character was rated on a five-point scale, ranging from "active" (extremely energetic, such as playing tennis) to "passive" (doing nothing physical at all, such as sleeping or lying down.) Engagement in three different provocative behaviors was also addressed (Coltrane & Messineo, 2000). Coders recorded whether characters exhibited any alluring behaviors, defined as "flirting, winking, puckering, batting eyelashes or sexual teasing, as well as the character’s involvement in sexual gazing (p. 373). Characters were analyzed to determine whether they either "received a sexual gaze" (character is recipient of sexual gaze from another character, such as being "checked out" by onlookers), "gave a sexual gaze" (character actively "checks out" another character), "both gave and received a sexual gaze," or "neither." Characters’ involvement in self-gazing was also recorded. Self-gazing referred to when characters looked at themselves, such as in a mirror or a window reflection (Coltrane & Messineo, 2000). Two variables assessed the roles characters held. Occupational role was the type of job/position a character appeared to hold. Occupational role could be observed through the behaviors characters engaged in, as well as their title (i.e., Dr. Smith) or attire (i.e., nurse’s uniform), and could be coded as "professional" (character holds white collar position, such as a business executive or banker), "non- professional" (characters holds blue collar position, such as a construction worker or fast food server), or "not a worker" (character has no apparent occupation). The job authority of each character was also assessed (Coltrane and Adams, 1997; Coltrane & Messineo, 2000). Job authority referred to the primary relationship the character had with other characters in the commercial. Categories included "order giver"

Authors: Mastro, Dana. and Stern, Susannah.
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Gender & Age in Commercials 13
Several behavioral variables were also assessed for each character. First, the primary behavior
the character engaged in during the commercial was coded into one of four categories, including "work"
(character is engaged in a paid working position, either white-collar, blue-collar, or professional athlete),
"domestic" (character is engaged in unpaid domestic work in the home, such as doing laundry, making
dinner, or washing dishes), "recreation" (character is engaged in recreational activity in or outside the
home, such as watching television, playing sports, attending a football game,) and "other" (any behavior
that does not qualify as work, domestic, or recreational behavior.) The degree of physical activity of each
character was rated on a five-point scale, ranging from "active" (extremely energetic, such as playing
tennis) to "passive" (doing nothing physical at all, such as sleeping or lying down.) Engagement in three
different provocative behaviors was also addressed (Coltrane & Messineo, 2000). Coders recorded
whether characters exhibited any alluring behaviors, defined as "flirting, winking, puckering, batting
eyelashes or sexual teasing, as well as the character’s involvement in sexual gazing (p. 373). Characters
were analyzed to determine whether they either "received a sexual gaze" (character is recipient of sexual
gaze from another character, such as being "checked out" by onlookers), "gave a sexual gaze" (character
actively "checks out" another character), "both gave and received a sexual gaze," or "neither." Characters’
involvement in self-gazing was also recorded. Self-gazing referred to when characters looked at
themselves, such as in a mirror or a window reflection (Coltrane & Messineo, 2000).
Two variables assessed the roles characters held. Occupational role was the type of job/position
a character appeared to hold. Occupational role could be observed through the behaviors characters
engaged in, as well as their title (i.e., Dr. Smith) or attire (i.e., nurse’s uniform), and could be coded as
"professional" (character holds white collar position, such as a business executive or banker), "non-
professional" (characters holds blue collar position, such as a construction worker or fast food server), or
"not a worker" (character has no apparent occupation). The job authority of each character was also
assessed (Coltrane and Adams, 1997; Coltrane & Messineo, 2000). Job authority referred to the primary
relationship the character had with other characters in the commercial. Categories included "order giver"


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