This week you are going to examine the use of stereotypes in the media; specifically, you will evaluate ten television commercials paying particular attention to the role of the primary figures. Select commercials that have only two central figures and complete the following rating sheet (click here (Links to an external site.) for a downloadable version of the tally sheet):
Name of Product
Time of Commercial
Location of Scene
Type of Product
Gender of Figure
Role of Figure
Type of Argument
Focus of Figure
(morning, afternoon, primetime, late night) (home, office, store, other) (home, food, body, other)
(male, female) (spouse, parent, homemaker, boyfriend, girlfriend, worker, celebrity, professional, other) (scientific – facts, research, nonscientific – testimonials, opinions, none) (narrator, product user, authority, other)
At the conclusion of your observations, tally your results according to gender. Submit your tally sheet and your answers to the following questions:
Which gender was more likely to be depicted as the product users?
Which gender was more likely to be depicted as homemakers?
Which gender was more likely to be seen in homes?
Which gender was more likely to be seen in an office?
Which gender was more likely to use scientific arguments?
Which gender was more likely to be a narrator?
Which gender was more likely to be depicted as an authority?
Based on your results, what type of message are we receiving from the media concerning gender roles?
If previous patterns hold, women should be more likely to play the roles of product users, spouses, parents, and homemakers. Women depicted in commercials tend to be seen in the home or in stores and they tend to make nonscientific arguments. Men tend to be depicted in commercials as narrators, authority figures, workers, and professionals. They tend to be seen in offices and they are more likely to make scientific arguments. Did your findings support these conclusions? Explain.