Gender Stereotyping in Tv Commercials


While women, who were “traditionally more isolated than men” were given equal opportunity to consume shows about more “manly” endeavors, men’s feminine sides are tapped by the emotional nature of many television programs. Television played a significant role in the feminist movement. Although most of the women portrayed on television conformed to stereotypes, television also showed the lives of men as well as news and current affairs. These "other lives" portrayed on television left many women unsatisfied with their current socialization. The representation of males and females on the television screen has been a subject of much discussion since the television became commercially available in the late 1930s. In 1964 Betty Friedan claimed that “television has represented the American Woman as a “stupid, unattractive, insecure little household drudge who spends her martyred mindless, boring days dreaming of love—and plotting nasty revenge against her husband.” As women started to revolt and protest to become equals in society in the 1960s and 1970s, their portrayal on the television was an issue that they addressed. Through television, even the most home bound women can experience parts of our culture once considered primarily male, such as sports, war, business, medicine, law, and politics. For the last since at least the 1990s there has been a trend of showing males as insufferable and possibly spineless fools.

Prime time television since the 1950s has been aimed at and catered towards males. In 1952, 68% of characters in prime time dramas were male; in 1973, 74% of characters in these shows were male. In 1970 the National Organization for Women (NOW) took action. They formed a task force to study and change the “derogatory stereotypes of women on television.” In 1972 they challenged the licenses of two network-owned stations on the basis of their sexist programming. In the 1960s the shows I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched insinuated that the only way that a...
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