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Representations of Gender and Age in Television Commercials: A Content Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender & Age in Commercials 20 Schupak-Neuberg, Shaw & Stein, 1994), possible influencing such behaviors as dieting, over-exercising, and disordered eating. The importance of being physically attractive is even further reinforced by costumes and behaviors. This study found that female characters were significantly more suggestively dressed than males. Moreover, although not statistically significantly, the findings showed that females were more likely to engage in alluring behaviors than males. These findings replicate those of several past scholars (Fullerton & Kendrick , 2000; Riffe, Place & Mayo, 1993; Signorelli, 1997; Signorelli, McLeod, & Healy, 1994). Ultimately, female viewers may be getting a very clear sense of what they are supposed to look like, act like, and care about (e.g., beauty). The only arena in which female characterizations appear to be making some headway is in terms of their activity and authority. In this study, females and males were equally active, perhaps implying to viewers that both sexes lead similarly energetic lifestyles. Females and males were also equally unlikely to give or receive orders. Thus, not only were men depicted as less authoritative than in years past (Coltrane & Adams, 1997), but females were portrayed as less subservient as well. Such depictions bode well for both sexes, who are offered a more equitable view of power relations in commercials than previously. Age Differences in Portrayals of Females Given the proclivity for past studies to comment on the limited age representations of females in commercials without delving deeper into the matter, this study was particularly concerned with how characterizations of females in television advertisements varied by age. Overall, the study showed that while gender stereotypes persist across the age span, different age groups fare better or worse depending on which stereotypes are in question. On the whole, girls and senior women tend to be more gender- stereotyped than females in other age groups. This finding may be particularly problematic when considering younger viewers limited real world experience. Without such a knowledge base, commercial images may wield greater influence.

Authors: Mastro, Dana. and Stern, Susannah.
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Gender & Age in Commercials 20
Schupak-Neuberg, Shaw & Stein, 1994), possible influencing such behaviors as dieting, over-exercising,
and disordered eating.
The importance of being physically attractive is even further reinforced by costumes and
behaviors. This study found that female characters were significantly more suggestively dressed than
males. Moreover, although not statistically significantly, the findings showed that females were more
likely to engage in alluring behaviors than males. These findings replicate those of several past scholars
(Fullerton & Kendrick , 2000; Riffe, Place & Mayo, 1993; Signorelli, 1997; Signorelli, McLeod, &
Healy, 1994). Ultimately, female viewers may be getting a very clear sense of what they are supposed to
look like, act like, and care about (e.g., beauty).
The only arena in which female characterizations appear to be making some headway is in terms
of their activity and authority. In this study, females and males were equally active, perhaps implying to
viewers that both sexes lead similarly energetic lifestyles. Females and males were also equally unlikely
to give or receive orders. Thus, not only were men depicted as less authoritative than in years past
(Coltrane & Adams, 1997), but females were portrayed as less subservient as well. Such depictions bode
well for both sexes, who are offered a more equitable view of power relations in commercials than
previously.
Age Differences in Portrayals of Females
Given the proclivity for past studies to comment on the limited age representations of females in
commercials without delving deeper into the matter, this study was particularly concerned with how
characterizations of females in television advertisements varied by age. Overall, the study showed that
while gender stereotypes persist across the age span, different age groups fare better or worse depending
on which stereotypes are in question. On the whole, girls and senior women tend to be more gender-
stereotyped than females in other age groups. This finding may be particularly problematic when
considering younger viewers limited real world experience. Without such a knowledge base, commercial
images may wield greater influence.


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