Advertising as a Medium of Gender-Biased Communication — страница 3

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is as a socializing agent that television is particularly powerful. Because viewing television involves the observation of others' behaviour and its reinforcement contingencies, television is considered to be a major vehicle through which the viewers learn about behaviours, particularly gender-appropriate behaviours, and about the relative desirability of performing those behaviours.14 McArthur and Resko15 found that overall men appeared more often than women in television advertisements and that men and women differed in terms of credibility (men being authorities and women users), role (women portrayed in terms of their relationship to others and men in a role independent of others), location (men shown in occupational settings and women in the home), persuasive arguments (men

gave more `scientific' arguments than women), rewards (women were shown obtaining approval of family and males, while obtained men social and career advancement) and product type (men were authorities on products used primarily by women). Despite improvements since the seventies in the status of female characters, the TV commercials of the early eighties still revealed stereotypical gender roles. Male characters for example, were still more likely to be portrayed as employed outside the home while women were typically found working in the home. Males were also given greater credibility than were females. Male and female adult characters were also still clearly associated with activities traditionally associated with their gender (i.e. men were associated with mowing the lawn,

while women were associated with doing the dishes). Finally, they discovered that ninety percent of commercials had male narrators, and that this was true even in the case of commercials for stereotypically female products. Also, there was a clearly gendered association of loud music and dark settings with male characters. This is of importance, as the narrator is considered the voice of authority. By selecting predominantly male narrators, advertisers are identifying males as the most deserving of respect. They are working from the assumption that viewers are more likely to believe what they are told by a male voice. Finally, male characters were most often shown alone, participating in stereotypically male behaviour.16 Manstead and McCulloch17 assessed the situation in Great

Britain using 170 television commercials so legitimate comparisons could be made. The overall results were unambiguous and comparable to those of the American study, but the portrayal of men and women on television showed British advertisements at the time to be more gender role stereotyped. More recent studies have been done, specifically on television advertisements, in Australia18, Kenya19, as well as America20, Canada21, Italy22 and Great Britain23. Replications over time have shown surprisingly few differences. The researchers regarded six features: the product advertised, gender of the voice-over announcer, gender of the on-camera product representative, setting, age, and occupation of the characters. The results of studies indicate that men and women appearing in

television commercials were portrayed in not independent ways. The nature of these associations were systematic and in line with traditional gender-role stereotypes. These findings reveal that television commercials manifest traditional gender role stereotypes.24 The male figures' typical credibility basis as an authority of the advertised product complements previous findings. Men were most likely to be portrayed as interviewers, narrators, or celebrities in occupational settings or in unspecified locations, while women were most likely dependent on others. However the difference between the two (males and females) was not as great as expected concerning the professional role. Location is still a significant predictor of gender stereotyping. Females are more often portrayed at

home while males are more frequently portrayed during leisure/outdoor. Age is often one of the best indicators of sex-role stereotyping. Although studies define "young," "middle-age," and "old" on slightly different scales, a prevalent picture is indicated: females are consistently shown as younger than males. Most studies show that central figures are dominated by middle-aged males and young females. The depiction of female figures as young is a typical feature of advertisements from Australia and United States25. This implies that advertisers consider it important for women to be portrayed as youthful and consequently attractive, whereas this is not as important for men. Instead male figures are depicted as being older - most male figures are