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Representations of Gender and Age in Television Commercials: A Content Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender & Age in Commercials 22 Young adult women earned a mixed score for gender-stereotyping in this sample. This age group was most likely to be shown working and was most likely to be depicted as a professional -- one out of four young women were shown as professionals. Young adult women were most commonly found in the outdoors, rather than at home, and they were relatively active in comparison to other female characters. On the other hand, this group was overwhelmingly bound to traditional beauty standards. Female young adults were by far the thinnest, most attractive, and most suggestively dressed of any other age group, male or female. Moreover, fully one-quarter of female young adults engaged in some type of alluring behavior. By middle-age, the portrayals of females seems to be more moderate. Like young adults, middle aged women were more likely to be shown working than engaging in domestic behaviors. Down slightly from young adulthood, one-fifth of middle aged women were shown in a professional occupation. Although significantly more so then men, middle age females were not as thin, attractive, suggestively dressed, or slender as young adult women. They were also far less likely to engage in alluring behavior, and were considerably more passive than younger females. The bag was less mixed for female child characters, whose portrayals primarily tended to promote traditional stereotypes. Girls were infrequently shown and were most associated with home products (as were boys). Unlike boys, however, girls were overwhelmingly found indoors, and they were the most passive of all groups except the seniors. Overall, the trajectory for female commercial characters across the life span is fairly well- delineated, showing a marked decrease of stereotypical behaviors among the teen and young adult years. That is, female children are portrayed in a rather traditional gender-stereotypic fashion. By the teenage and young adult years, female characters appear to break away somewhat from the traditional norms (although they still are more connected to domesticity than males). But middle-age reigns female characters back in line with tradition, culminating in the senior years, when women are most stereotyped of all.

Authors: Mastro, Dana. and Stern, Susannah.
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Gender & Age in Commercials 22
Young adult women earned a mixed score for gender-stereotyping in this sample. This age group
was most likely to be shown working and was most likely to be depicted as a professional -- one out of
four young women were shown as professionals. Young adult women were most commonly found in the
outdoors, rather than at home, and they were relatively active in comparison to other female characters.
On the other hand, this group was overwhelmingly bound to traditional beauty standards. Female young
adults were by far the thinnest, most attractive, and most suggestively dressed of any other age group,
male or female. Moreover, fully one-quarter of female young adults engaged in some type of alluring
behavior.
By middle-age, the portrayals of females seems to be more moderate. Like young adults, middle
aged women were more likely to be shown working than engaging in domestic behaviors. Down slightly
from young adulthood, one-fifth of middle aged women were shown in a professional occupation.
Although significantly more so then men, middle age females were not as thin, attractive, suggestively
dressed, or slender as young adult women. They were also far less likely to engage in alluring behavior,
and were considerably more passive than younger females.
The bag was less mixed for female child characters, whose portrayals primarily tended to
promote traditional stereotypes. Girls were infrequently shown and were most associated with home
products (as were boys). Unlike boys, however, girls were overwhelmingly found indoors, and they were
the most passive of all groups except the seniors.
Overall, the trajectory for female commercial characters across the life span is fairly well-
delineated, showing a marked decrease of stereotypical behaviors among the teen and young adult years.
That is, female children are portrayed in a rather traditional gender-stereotypic fashion. By the teenage
and young adult years, female characters appear to break away somewhat from the traditional norms
(although they still are more connected to domesticity than males). But middle-age reigns female
characters back in line with tradition, culminating in the senior years, when women are most stereotyped
of all.


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