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TV Commercials Color Gender Choices for Careers
Date:5/28/2008

Study finds stereotypes remain, men more influenced by scenes about jobs

WEDNESDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- The way that men and women are portrayed in television commercials can have a major impact on how people behave in their daily lives, suggests a University of New Hampshire study.

It found that men, in particular, are influenced by commercials that more often depict them in a career setting than doing domestic chores.

"Gender is one of the most studied social concepts, as it is the main standard that people use in determining how to act and interact with others. Because television advertisements transmit cultural ideas about gender, they help to socially construct gender. Commercials may affect the way that people think about their own gender, and contribute to the ongoing social stratification of genders in our society," study author Valerie Hooper, a graduating senior in sociology, said in a prepared statement.

She analyzed 1,538 commercials shown on four channels over one week during primetime viewing (8 to 10 p.m.).

Among Hooper's findings:

  • Men are portrayed as the main character of commercials more than women -- 55. percent vs. 44.5 percent.
  • Most commercials featuring women focus on selling home products, such as food, cleaners, personal care items and furniture (51.1 percent).
  • Men are most likely to be engaged in work behavior in commercials (34.2 percent), while women are least likely to depicted working outside the home (13.1 percent).
  • Only 2.1 percent of commercials showed men doing domestic chores, such as cooking, cleaning or caring for children.

"These stereotypes are considered outdated by many members of American society, yet still continue to pervade the media. These depictions not only defy the idea that diversity is becoming more accepted in society, but also completely ignore the fact that it is now a material ne
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