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Representations of Gender and Age in Television Commercials: A Content Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender & Age in Commercials 15 Support was also found for Hypothesis 2, which predicted that female characters would be younger than male characters and less evenly distributed across the age spectrum. Male characters (n = 729, 54.4%) were most commonly middle-aged adults, whereas females (n = 425, 45.3%) were most likely to be young adults χ 2 (4, N = 2278) = 71.15, p < .001. Among children, boys (n = 90, 68.7%) were depicted more than twice as frequently as girls (n = 41, 31.3%). Teen females (n = 56, 55.4%) slightly outnumbered teen males (n =45, 44.6%), but young adult males (n = 425, 50.0%) were equal in number to young adult females. Among middle-aged adults, males (n =729, 66.6%) outnumbered females (n = 366, 33.4%) by a two to one ratio. Among senior citizens, virtually equal numbers of men (n= 51, 50.5%) and women (n =50, 49.5%) were portrayed. Hypothesis 3 The data partially supported the prediction that females would be more commonly associated with aspects of home and domestic life than males. Females were most likely to be associated with home products (n=414, 53.4%), while males most commonly appeared in advertisements for products used away from the home (n = 609, 64.3%) χ 2 (2, N = 2297) = 70.90, p < .001. Age did not appear to make any significant difference in terms of product association for males; rather, in all age groups, males were most commonly associated with products used away from home. Among female characters, children (n = 20, 47.6%), young adults (n = 192, 45.1%) and middle-aged adults (n = 162, 43.7%) were overwhelmingly associated with home products. Teen females were comparably associated with all types of products, and senior females were typically associated with either products used in the home or away from the home, but not both χ 2 (8, N = 948) = 20.64, p < .01. Age did not make a significant difference in how males were portrayed. In contrast with this hypothesis, both females and males were unlikely to engage in domestic activities χ 2 (3, N = 2273) = 106.53, p < .01. Both were most likely to be shown engaging in activities other than domestic pursuits, work, or recreation. Proportionately, however, females were more frequently depicted in domestic activities as their primary behavior than males.

Authors: Mastro, Dana. and Stern, Susannah.
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Gender & Age in Commercials 15
Support was also found for Hypothesis 2, which predicted that female characters would be
younger than male characters and less evenly distributed across the age spectrum. Male characters (n =
729, 54.4%) were most commonly middle-aged adults, whereas females (n = 425, 45.3%) were most
likely to be young adults
χ
2
(4, N = 2278) = 71.15, p < .001. Among children, boys (n = 90, 68.7%) were
depicted more than twice as frequently as girls (n = 41, 31.3%). Teen females (n = 56, 55.4%) slightly
outnumbered teen males (n =45, 44.6%), but young adult males (n = 425, 50.0%) were equal in number to
young adult females. Among middle-aged adults, males (n =729, 66.6%) outnumbered females (n = 366,
33.4%) by a two to one ratio. Among senior citizens, virtually equal numbers of men (n= 51, 50.5%) and
women (n =50, 49.5%) were portrayed.
Hypothesis 3
The data partially supported the prediction that females would be more commonly associated
with aspects of home and domestic life than males. Females were most likely to be associated with home
products (n=414, 53.4%), while males most commonly appeared in advertisements for products used
away from the home (n = 609, 64.3%)
χ
2
(2, N = 2297) = 70.90, p < .001. Age did not appear to make
any significant difference in terms of product association for males; rather, in all age groups, males were
most commonly associated with products used away from home. Among female characters, children (n =
20, 47.6%), young adults (n = 192, 45.1%) and middle-aged adults (n = 162, 43.7%) were
overwhelmingly associated with home products. Teen females were comparably associated with all types
of products, and senior females were typically associated with either products used in the home or away
from the home, but not both
χ
2
(8, N = 948) = 20.64, p < .01. Age did not make a significant difference
in how males were portrayed.
In contrast with this hypothesis, both females and males were unlikely to engage in domestic
activities
χ
2
(3, N = 2273) = 106.53, p < .01. Both were most likely to be shown engaging in activities
other than domestic pursuits, work, or recreation. Proportionately, however, females were more
frequently depicted in domestic activities as their primary behavior than males.


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