English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Category: Research Question

How the genders are represented in primetime and children’s television throughout the decades 1950s-2010s

Our research question is: How has gender representation evolved in children’s and adolescents’ TV from the 1950s to the 2010s? Our background research allowed us to integrate the different components of this question into one particular topic. In the process of reading the already-existing literature, we found research on how gender representation has evolved in TV and TV commercials across several decades, the most common ones being the 1950s, 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s/2010s. We found research on the current state of gender representation in children’s TV and associated TV commercials, and how this is relevant not just to the development of children but, more broadly, to society.

After compiling all our sources, two major groups of research emerged: one evaluated gender representation by the variable of generational change, and the second evaluated gender representation specifically in terms of children’s TV. Our research question, then, aims to fill the field’s gap of changes in gender representation in terms of both generational change and children’s TV. Put simply, our research aims to bridge together the two distinct topics from our background research.


This is important because of how television influences children. Children are at a stage of development where their personalities and values are more malleable than adults; our background research found that children that watch TV tend to follow the lead of what’s portrayed, which influences today’s policies. For example, children who view LGBT couples as normal in television may view them as normal in their daily life as they grow older. By analyzing the changes in gender representation throughout time, we can gauge not only the roles portrayed in prior years but also potential future norms created from today’s children.

As for how we will be conducting research on this question, we will watch several TV shows, each being from one of the aforementioned decades. To fit the qualifier of “children’s TV,” the shows we select will all either be primetime TV shows or TV shows specifically marketed toward children ages 0-18, since our research examined several different age groups that we will combine into one. Our first method will be looking at the cast list for all episodes of each show to determine the overall representation of male and female characters. Our second method will be watching several episodes, selected based on the episode’s synopsis and cast, from each series and identifying the presence or absence of portrayed behaviors and trends. This checklist will be made based on the methods used in the sources from our, and potentially other groups’, background research. After collecting this data, we will then perform statistical tests to determine whether the differences in gender representation, if any, are significant.

Each of us will focus on one or two television shows that demonstrates this change, and we will run statistical analyses on our results and compare what we have seen.

Female Host Frequency on Prime-Time TV News

Of the “Big Three”, CNN, FOX, and MSNBC, which network currently has the most shows with female hosts during weekday prime-time hours of 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.?

This research question aims to understand which major television news network has the most female hosted shows during prime-time TV during the week.  The question goes deeper than female representation on these networks, or even female anchors. Instead, the research question inquires which network gives female personalities their own show during the time when a network receives maximum viewing.  Thus, not only does the female personality report the news cycle, but they are also entitled to share their opinion and dictate their program. The way to recognize these shows is typically through the title. Usually, the host’s name within the title is a sign that the person hosts their own program, versus a title with the network’s name which indicates a regular news cycle with an anchor or newscaster.

Our group arrived at this question after refining our original topic down to a specific quantitative inquiry we could discover through research. We started with just the simple topic of Women in News.  The five group members each went in a different direction from here. Together we gathered sources which studied gender representation amongst major networks, sources which studied the types of stories women reported on the news, and sources which analyzed how often women appear in news stories. However, after combining our best sources, we decided to ask a question about power. We wanted to know which major news network gives women the largest and loudest voice during prime-time hours. Next, we decided to narrow down the networks to the “Big Three”, FOX, CNN, and MSNBC, and we chose what hours were considered “prime-time”. Lastly, we wanted to collect data from scheduled weekday shows rather than weekend shows which had less personality-specific programs.

The research question matters to us because the frequency and credibility granted to these women matters to the nation. The representation of female voice and opinion during heavy watched hours is a representation of the female voice in America. Throughout our research, we hope to understand which network best depicts feminism and a female perspective through the largest number of female hosts.


***Revised ***
Additional Comments & Questions:

  • Compare how many males host during 7-10pm
  • How does this compare to morning hours and their hosts? 7-10am
  • How many viewers do these shows get?

Make research question or Infographic title broader. Then use the specific questions and data to reveal the answer.

Portrayal of Women in Crime Television

How do crime TV shows portray women’s involvement in violent acts?


Our research question concerns how women are stereotypically pigeonholed into certain roles in television, specifically within the crime genre. Through our research on women’s representation in crime TV shows, we hope to explore the validity of the notion that women are wrongfully exploited on TV. During our initial research process, we were able to obtain information about gender representation across a large range of multimedia: from advertisements, to movies, and finally to TV shows. As we came across a particular peer-reviewed papers, we were intrigued by how TV shows dating back from even the 1970s victimized women and portrayed them as insecure and vulnerable individuals. An article analyzing the James Bond franchise points out how female characters have played nearly identical roles in all of the movies, most of which were minor or sexual partners of Bond. Furthermore, an article by Los Angeles Review of Books provided an interesting insight into the conflict that crime TV shows face in portraying deep, compelling female characters in crime shows as it uses Detector Kate Beckett in “Castle”, for example. We’re interested to see how crime TV, as a whole, employs female characters in their stories; are we getting more complex, motivated lead detectives, or damsels in distress?


The representation of women on crime TV doesn’t just affect crime TV and actresses in the business. Misrepresentation on TV can lead to a lot assumptions in young people, and when not corrected, they persist into adulthood. Through our research, we hope to discover whether or not such a problem exists with gender in crime television. Our question is important because the first step to change is understanding the problem. TV should represent genders equally, and although it doesn’t necessarily have to be realistic, it should be fair. TV is a huge influencer in the public’s lives, and crime a hugely popular genre within it, so it should present information that supports equality between genders.


Representation of Women in Saturday Night Live

Early in our research stage, our group decided to explore the representation of women in comedy.  Specifically, we were interested in NBC’s Saturday Night Live, as it has been continuously airing for decades, and thus, allows us to compare and contrast the ways women were portrayed in the mid-1970s and how they are depicted now.  Initially, all our research was about Saturday Night Live, but we quickly realized that there simply were not enough peer-reviewed articles about that one show!  After expanding our search to late-night comedy, we read several pieces regarding the male dominance of late-night comedy shows in general.  With this in mind, we brought those ideas back to SNL.  Instead of exploring simply numbers of women on the show, we honed our focus on more specific aspects of female representation on Saturday Night Live.  We will distinctly direct our research toward women of minority races and female characters with different sexualities.  On a broader note, we will look for the way women are presented in the first season and identify any change in those patterns in the most recent season.

Our specific research question is listed below:

How have women, especially those of minority races and different sexualities, been represented on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and how have these roles changed as the show’s seasons have progressed?  Has the correlating portrayal of women noticeably changed over the duration of the show’s airing?

Since Saturday Night Live is currently airing its forty-fourth season, and most seasons are comprised of over twenty hour-long episodes, it would be impossible for five people to watch and analyze every episode.  For that reason, we will concentrate on the inaugural season and the most recent complete season of the show. Not only does this allow us to go into depth on a smaller amount of episodes, but it also gives us the chance to see stark differences in the ways women are represented on the show forty years ago versus now.  The content of our research is important because society has changed drastically in the past forty years, and comedy is an excellent reflection of society. Thus, evaluating the evolution of characterizing women on Saturday Night Live will paint a broader picture of the changing ways women are treated in society.  

To answer our research question, we will approach each episode in Seasons One and Forty-Three with a series of specific questions regarding the orientation of jokes on the show when they involve women, how cross-dressing is used in the show (whether for comedic effect or as an acknowledgment of lifestyle choices),  ways in which politics are presented regarding women, and critical reception of the show by female analysts. We will also delve into the representation of non-heterosexual characters on the show, and the corresponding change in society’s view of the LGBTQ community in the 1970s and in the 2010s. Additionally, we will explore quantitative data concerning the number of women credited in each episode, and we will further break those numbers down into guest hosts, main cast members, crew members, etc.  Once we have compiled substantial data from both seasons, we will compare the two seasons and explore the changes that occurred over forty years of Saturday Night Live.

Gender Stereotypes in International Advertising

Through our research regarding gender representation in advertisements of different countries, we decided to continue along the same lines by examining gender representation in the Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners for the retail sector during a ten-year span from 2008 to 2018.  The data and conclusions from the research cited in our annotated bibliographies had many similarities across countries regarding the lack of gender representation in advertising, with women being less likely to be the primary character or do voice-overs in advertisements. In addition, there were continued stereotypes in the advertisements that confined women to the domestic sphere, such as with household goods and submissive roles. As a result of our findings, we wanted to take a closer look at the trends in advertising regarding gender representation while also examining the influence of country identity and culture in gender representation of these advertisements, so we decided on examining the winners of an annual international advertising competition, the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, which would satisfy both aspects.

Our formal research question is: Are women fairly represented and not stereotyped in the Cannes Lions Grand Prix winning advertisements for the retail sector from 2008 to 2018?

Performing an in-depth analysis of the winners of an international advertising competition, with a focus on the last five years, allows us to determine if gender stereotyping is as common in the most popular contemporary ads as it has been in older television. We plan to use methods of analysis developed in our sources. These methods include examining the gender of the product user and voiceover, which allows us to determine if one gender is portrayed as more knowledgeable or trustworthy. Additionally, we will attempt to determine the age, marital status, employment, and the role in the advertisement for each character that appears for at least a predetermined amount of the time in an ad. Focusing on the retail sector is helpful because it allows us to have a smaller sample size (currently 18 advertisements) that is easier to analyze and has a wide variety of products, so the topics and settings of the ads should be fairly diverse.

Our research question is substantial for a variety of reasons. First, it allows us to explore various aspects of gender stereotyping, learning its different forms, and comparing international television to what we see daily in American advertisements. It also allows us and our audience to gain a greater understanding of an issue which is known to exist in the United States. This study also gives us the potential to conclude that Americans are not the only ones to responsible for gender stereotyping in television advertisements or that we are better or worse than than most of the international community in this regard.

Research Question – The Working Woman

Question: How has the Career Representation of Women in the top Cable TV Shows by decade changed from the 1960s to Now?

Our question concerns how the representation of women’s career on television has changed by decade, starting from the 1960s. Our preliminary research shows that within this time period, the percentage of women working has drastically increased. In contrast, several women on television remain to be depicted as the traditional stay-at-home moms or in “feminine” jobs. However, no recent research has created a comprehensive data source of the careers of TV women. Our research will fill this gap in research by providing numerical figures on the depiction of employed women on TV, as well as an analysis of the career fields of these employed women. The subject of our research will be limited to a set number of the most popular cable television shows by decade.

The world we now live in now would be unrecognizable to someone from the 1960s. Everything has changed drastically, especially cultural and social norms. Throughout this period of time, television has also transformed from black and white to color and from a novelty to a part of our daily life. At the same time, feminism and evolved norms have contributed to increasing gender equality in the workforce. However, this change has not always been reflected in television.

Through our research, we hope to better understand how the change in cultural and social norms have affected the career representation of females on television. This research will provide an analysis of how effective the waves of feminism and social movements have been, allowing for the evaluation of their impact. Furthermore, this will also provide insight into the television industry’s responsiveness towards social and cultural changes, especially that in gender equality. Because television is designed for mass appeal with general audiences, images of women on television directly relate to how society feels women should be depicted. As a result, the depiction of women on television is a reflection of society’s view on working women. Therefore, our question is important because not only does it show how accurate TV depictions are compared to real life, but because it provides insight into the minds of the consumers of these shows.

Female Companions and Doctor Who Research Question

The question our group has chosen is: How have the portrayals of the female companions of the Doctor in the BBC television show Doctor Who changed over the course of the show’s run, including the old and new series? We arrived at this question after first selecting the show we wanted to talk about. We chose Doctor Who because it is a long standing show that spans many decades, and since the female companion is such a significant and constant aspect of the show, we felt that Doctor Who would be a good litmus test for the changes of societal attitudes as regards female representation in television. We decided to research societal changes in attitudes regarding women because understanding the history of sexism is necessary for understanding sexism today. Doctor Who is an especially good way to explore this question because fiction can be an unconscious reflection of the majority’s opinions as shows are often calculated to appeal to as many people as possible. Our question is important because we can understand the historical background of today’s attitudes towards women as represented by fictional female characters in a show that is enjoyed by many demographics, and has been airing through many more generations than the average television show does. We are looking forward to diving into this research project and discovering how women have been portrayed throughout the decades-long run of Doctor Who.

What is the proportion of women to men employed for the recording and production of 5 long time running shows on ABC?

How did we arrive to the research question?

When we started trying to figure out what should our research question be, we were very confused because there were a thousand different factors we could research about, however, once we completed our annotated bibliography, we analyzed the data and conclusions of several peer reviewed articles, and realized that there is not only a large pay gap between male and female workers in the television broadcasting industry, but there is also a large employment gap between men and women. Due to the difficulty in finding accurate statistics of employees of an entire broadcasting channel, such as ABC, we will be sampling from the 5 longest running and currently airing television shows across their many season spans. To do this we will study the credits for episodes randomly selected from each season and determine the ratio of male to female workers in the industry.


Why does the research question matter? 

With the rise in television shows with more representation all around and more public demand for representation, it is become important for broadcasting services to reflect such demand. Through our research question, we can see how ABC has or has not responded to such demands or pressures in their longest currently shows. We can analyze this by taking into account the ratio of women to men employed for several jobs such as main writers and actors in Grey’s Anatomy, General Hospital, Modern Family, Agents of Shields, and The Goldbergs. This information would definitely matter as it would allow us to see if whether the increased demand for representation diversity has actually changed the gender employment in the inside of ABC’s shows or not, and what could we do with the data we collect.

ABC’s diversity of shows

Since 2008, what has been the gender spread of primary news anchors across the the 25 most-watched news programs in America?

Through our research we saw that women are generally underrepresented in the news at all forms and at all levels. We wanted to narrow our scope, so we chose to take a closer look at the most viewed news programs to see the impacts and presence or lack of diversity at this level. We chose this research question because it was a direct quantitative analysis of female representation in news programs. Rather than looking at programs across different networks, we chose to look at the top 25 most watched programs nationwide since those programs received the highest viewership and ratings and thus are most representative of the news Americans are consuming. Additionally, this question can be expanded to look at intersectionality in news networks and how both gender representation and diversity in other forms such as race and sexual orientation translate into audience demographics.

Will is one of the people in our group

We chose to look at “gender spread” since we cannot assume that every news anchor identifies as just male or female. This question is important as it reflects larger societal preferences that news corporations are acting on for profit, and this can lead to furthering gender roles into the news industry which in turn transpires back to the viewers. We can measure gender spread through the gender ratio of primary news anchors per program. Through this question, we expect to demonstrate that there is a discrepancy within the genders of primary news anchors on the 25 most watched news programs and determine if there are any fluctuations or patterns that may line up with a given year’s political or social climate. As such, we are interested in how these factors may have changed since 2008. It could be the case that the election of Barack Obama spurred an increase in diversity in TV news, but it could also be the case that there was some sort of diversity backlash against the idea of the first black president.

Women and Sports Media

To what extent does the sporting event being covered affect the role and air time of women U.S. sports broadcasters?

When considering what topic to research, we realized how relevant this question is to the topic of gender representation in today’s sports media landscape. As recently as five days ago, it was announced that for the first time ever an all women NFL broadcasting team would begin coverage of NFL games. This groundbreaking news was met with an immediate backlash from the public.

Hannah Storm – NFL Broadcaster

Why do viewers react this way to women sports analysts when they are seen in roles that go against the norm? Why aren’t there more women in lead anchor positions? Was this public outcry because of them being women or more because the sport that they work in is seen as a male-dominated one?

These are all questions that we considered when thinking of what to research. There is a great deal of research out there about how audiences view women in sports journalism, but we found that there is a significant gap in research that shows how the type of sport may influence the air time and different roles that women broadcasters are relegated to. Through our research, we found that women are often judged by different standards when it comes to broadcasting. Audiences judge them on their appearance many times, while men are judged on their knowledge and expertise. We have also found that women have a harder time of being perceived as dynamic, expert broadcasters due to the gender norms that run rampant in the sports media arena.

Because of the research we found on how audiences perceive women sportscasters, we hope to find how much, if at all, the specific type of sporting event that is being broadcasted influences the roles that women broadcasters are placed in and how much air time that they receive. We will do this by examining five major sporting events from the past year (the 2018 NBA Finals, Super Bowl LII, FIFA soccer World Cup, U.S. women’s gymnastics championships, and Women’s U.S. Open Finals) and recording the airtime of women broadcasters and their roles. We will be asking questions such as what percentage of the total airtime did women receive and were they relegated to sideline reporting or were they a main play-by-play analyst?

This topic is an extremely important one because it is something that is being discussed right now in the news. The current nature of this makes it all the more important for us to find answers to this topic and to see how much of a correlation there may be between the different types of sporting events and the role that women sportscasters have.

Are Women Not Funny, Or Are They Just Lacking a Platform?

How has the viewership and accessibility of female comedians changed from 2008 to 2018, as measured by the number of shows available on online streaming services (Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video) and viewership of top-10 female-headed talk shows on their respective YouTube channels of videos on their top 5 most-viewed videos?

We chose to look at the idea of female comedians given that this is a very historically male-dominated field, and a recurring theme in many articles that were read in research cited a lack of platforms and accessibility for women to break out in this industry. Especially given the rise in popularity and use of online streaming sites, such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video, as well as the prevalent cultural influence of YouTube, it would be interesting to pursue research in seeing how well this new industry has helped or hurt women in trying to get their careers in comedy off the ground.

There seems to be a misconception in society that women are not funny. Female comedians are looking to change this misconception, but struggle to find an audience to listen to them. The industry is largely male-dominated, and those men often abuse their position of power to take advantage of others. Recently, many women are coming forward to report these sexual misconducts, as in the case of male comedian Louis C.K. (Ryzik). A change in the power dynamics within comedy needs to happen and only will happen if women receive access to platforms in order to gain support, a following, and an independent career.        

Our research question aims to find whether such progress in female comedy has been occurring and, if it has, to what extent it has been growing. Recently, there has been a push by feminists to add more women in traditionally male-dominated careers and job environments. Comedy has not given women an adequate platform in the past. Our research aims to see if progress towards a more equal representation in this field is being made.


Works Cited:

Chandra, Akshay. “Top 10 Late Night Talk Shows on YouTube – U.S Edition.” Vidooly.com, 19 Mar. 2018, vidooly.com/blog/top-10-late-night-talk-shows-on-youtube-u-s-edition/.

Ryzik, Melena, et al. “Louis C.K. Is Accused by 5 Women of Sexual Misconduct.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 Nov. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/arts/television/louis-ck-sexual-misconduct.html.

How are stereotypically unattractive females represented in popular children’s television shows aired from 2005 to 2015 on Disney and Nickelodeon?

Our research question also asks how stereo-typically unattractive females are represented in popular children’s television shows aired from 2005 to 2015 on Disney and Nickelodeon. We chose Disney and Nickelodeon knowing that these two television networks were major players in children’s television during these years, and thus should provide us with plenty of material to study. We derived this topic from our study of articles which discussed how female characters are portrayed through various characteristics in children’s television shows. Peer reviewed articles in our studies discovered that appearance was important to female characters on children’s shows, as they were on average more attractive than their male counterparts (Gerding). This importance of appearance was also found in another study which discovered that “tomboy’s” eventually experience a change or makeover in order to become “better” women (Chandler). These findings peaked an interest in whether the attractiveness of females is prioritized across many shows.

We feel as though this is an important topic to study because children’s television shows can have large effects on kids perceptions of gender roles in their future life. This was proven by many studies that found that the young target audience can be highly receptive to these shows as they are at an age in which they are constantly learning. A greater understanding of the flaws in gender representation can lead to beneficial changes in children’s shows which may instill a positive understanding of gender in our young generations.

Works Cited:

Chandler, E. (2016). “I never wanted to be an ashley!” androcentrism and gender entitlement in disney’s recess. Gender Issues, 33(2), 148-162. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12147-016-9154-9

Gerding, Ashton, and Nancy Signorielli. “Gender Roles in Tween Television Programming: A Content Analysis of Two Genres.” Sex Roles, vol. 70, no. 1-2, 2013, pp. 43–56., doi:10.1007/s11199-013-0330-z.


How do gender roles and society’s perceptions affect the way female and male broadcasters are discussed and judged on social media, specifically Twitter in September 2018?

Gender representation in television and how it affects consumers is an important area of study. This is because there is not a wealth of information available, and the people on TV are placed in positions of power and credibility, able to affect society’s views and ideas.

Therefore, our research is intended to show potential differences in people’s perceptions of female and male anchors, specifically Savannah Guthrie and Carson Daly of the Today Show. These two individuals were chosen due to their popularity both on a widely viewed television show and on social media. In order to answer our research question, we will analyze and categorize the types and frequencies of viewers’ comments on the news anchors’ Twitter posts over the month of September.

Based on background research, there appears to be a dichotomy in the way that males and females are judged within the field of news television. For example, when we analyzed several articles, we found that women are judged more on their appearance than their male counterparts, and women are less likely to be perceived as credible sources concerning more serious topics such as economics and politics and instead limited to speaking primarily on domestic issues (Hetsroni). Conversely, it has also been proven that some audiences find women to be more trustworthy and credible than their male counterparts. In fact, the first female broadcasters were hired due to focus groups done by corporations that wanted a female voice on television (Allen). However, on the social media side, another study hypothesized that social media would equalize the playing field between men and women, but the data revealed that social media served more as another platform for women to be criticized (Finneman).

The apparent contradiction in the role and perception of men and women in broadcasting roles creates interesting and important questions. This study matters because even though there has been an increase in female representation on television news, often times women are held to different standards than their male counterparts and face greater levels of criticism from viewers. Through our research, we hope to be able to shed light on the way that gender affects how news anchors are perceived by their audiences, specifically through Twitter.


Works Cited

Allen, Craig. “Gender Breakthrough Fit for a Focus Group: The First Women Newscasters and Why they Arrived in Local TV News.” Journalism History, vol. 28, no. 4, 2003, pp. 154-162.ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/205353743?accountid=11107.

Finneman, Teri and Joy Jenkins. “Sexism on the Set: Gendered Expectations of TV Broadcasters in a Social Media World.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2018, pp. 479-494. EBSCOhost, doi: 10.1080/08838151.2018.1484292.

Hetsroni, Amir, and Hila Lowenstein. “Is She an Expert Or just a Woman? Gender Differences in the Presentation of Experts in TV Talk shows.” Sex Roles, vol. 70, no. 9-10, 2014, pp. 376-386. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1531890816?accountid=11107, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-014-0370-z.

(RE)SEARCHing on the QUEST(ION) for Answers: Gender Within Parental Careers in Disney Channel

How are gender stereotypes associated with occupation reflected in the careers of parental figures and mentors in Disney Channel Original Series that have aired since 2000?

Prior to researching, as we all grew up watching Disney Channel in the early 2000s, we were interested to see how these shows may have influenced our own perceptions and biases. During our research, we were shocked to learn about the frequency at which children watch television; it is the strongest source of cultural socialization outside of a child’s own parents. The themes and social interactions portrayed on television are directly linked to what children will deem as normal. Thus, we chose to focus on children’s TV, as the information being conveyed has a stronger influence on their biases and perceptions of gender than it does on adults.

There was an abundance of information about the effects of parental mediation of television and parents’ careers on children, but minimal information about what the careers of fictional parents are portraying and the effect of that on children. Thus, we believe the adults whom younger characters look up to for advice and counsel will reflect on the beliefs of real children. Children’s values are being formed through the respected adults they encounter in real life, so it would be reasonable to assume that the same would apply to the adults they encounter on television. Furthermore, children will assume that they should behave like the role models they see on television. Therefore, if adults of the same gender behave like their gendered stereotypes, children will feel the need to adhere to these stereotypes, and expect those behaviors from their peers.

We chose to focus on shows created after 2000 because we discovered that shows created prior to 2000 frequently relied on characters that were stereotypically masculine or feminine, and we wanted to see if that held true into the turn of the century. We are planning to analyze the data in two ways: the average salary of the jobs held by role models and their job’s alignment with traditional gender stereotypes.

This research matters because the perceptions of gender stereotyping of the future generations are directly impacted by the shows that they watch. Children are easily affected by these stereotypes, and gender norms are already firmly established in their minds by the time they are 5 years old. The first step in eliminating stereotypes is to show the next generation an equal and fair world that doesn’t submit to gender stereotypes. If children are surrounded by stereotypes, they will associate them with normality, and will be less likely to notice inequality in the world and work to change it. People have commentated on the effect of seeing stereotypes on television, but few have analyzed specific shows to see if children are being exposed to stereotypes in the form of the careers of fictional parents. Through this research, we hope to gain a better understanding of how reflective the careers of adults in children’s television are to the real world. We also hope to expose where gender stereotypes are prevalent in television so that audiences can be more proactive about changing them.

Work Cited:

Durkin, Kevin, and Bradley Nugent. “Kindergarten Children’s Gender-Role Expectations for Television Actors.” Sex Roles, vol. 38, no. 5, 1998, pp. 387-402. ProQuest http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/225373743?accountid=11107

Witt, Susan. (2000). “The Influence of Television on Children’s Gender Role Socialization.” Childhood Education, 76(5), 322-324. http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/210380519?accountid=11107.


Research Question regarding Women’s Occupations in Television

What are the occupations held by women within drama television shows presented on ABC’s website and do they accurately represent the reality of the working world?


Through research into women’s representation in television it became apparent that there is significant data relating to the type of work that women are typically portrayed as doing.  It was also apparent that much research has been conducted investigating the types of roles women have in the actual working world. However, seemingly little work has been done to investigate the connection between television portrayal and reality when it comes to this topic, thus we decided the bridge this gap and investigate the accuracy of television in this aspect.  


Our investigation focuses specifically on ABC because it is at the forefront of modern television.  Roseanne, ABC’s most popular show during the 2017-18 season, reached over thirteen million viewers. This is the second most watched scripted show of all networks, edging even most prime-time football programs.  Given its monstrous audience and epidemic influence, we saw it necessary to examine the veracity of depicted character roles. This will hold ABC accountable as a network and ensure fairness in representation. Many viewers of popular television shows falsely interpret what’s presented by the network as fact and use it to shape future opinions.


For why research into this topic maters, over the past 50 years television has become a huge form of media that both reflects and impacts reality.  The content of a television show can alter one’s mindset, create stereotypes, and lead to spreading of misinformation. This is why it is important to compare television content with actuality, so that we may not build assumptions on false ideas.  When it comes to the topic at hand, gender representation in various occupations, understanding the gap between television and reality is important because a mass misunderstanding could lead to a negative impact on the working world. For example, if television shows display all female characters as having interpersonal jobs, such as teaching and real estate agents, then this may affect the mindset of young women watching the shows.  Then there would be a lopsidedness to the working world with a surplus of women limiting themselves to interpersonal jobs rather than exploring their true passions and talents. And with the rapid pace in which children assess information and develop cognitive standards, the attitudes and experiences witnessed on TV can quickly spawn stereotypes in the minds of children and teens which severely affects the future of the working world.  

“ABC 2017-18 Season Ratings.” TV Series Finale, 24 Sept. 2018, tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/abc-2017-18-season-ratings/. Accessed 28 Sep. 2018.


Moraes, Lisa de, and Patrick Hipes. “2017-18 TV Series Ratings Rankings: NFL Football, ‘Big Bang’ Top Charts.” Deadline, 23 May 2018, deadline.com/2018/05/2017-2018-tv-series-ratings-rankings-full-list-of-shows-1202395851/. Accessed 28 Sep. 2018.

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