English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #genderrepresentation (Page 2 of 2)

Gender Representation in US News: Annotated Bibliography

  1. Cukier, W., Jackson, S., Elmi, M. A., Roach, E., & Cyr, D. (2016). Representing   women? leadership roles and women in canadian broadcast news. Gender in Management, 31(5), 374-395. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/GM-04-2015-0035

This paper sought to explore the representation of women in Canadian broadcast news coverage. The researches used software to analyze the frequency with which women received airtime in these broadcasts, the way in which they are framed, as well as technical and expressive detail. Though we will likely focus primarily on gender representation in US news to avoid having too broad of a scope for our project, I believe it’s relevant to look at this peer reviewed source which is analyzing essentially the very same issue, only internationally. Like what we expect to find in the US, this paper found that women are quantitatively underrepresented in Canadian broadcast news coverage. It also found that women are less likely than men to be framed as leaders or experts, and less likely to hold news host or anchor positions.

  1. Cooky, Cheryl, et al. “Women Play Sport, But Not on TV.” Communication & Sport, vol. 1, no. 3, 2013, pp. 203–230., doi:10.1177/2167479513476947.

This paper examined the amount of coverage women’s sports received in comparison to men’s sports. It looked at 6 weeks of the televised news media coverage on the local news affiliates in Los Angeles as well as the coverage of women’s sports on ESPN’s SportsCenter using both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Through this analysis it found that women’s sports received dramatically less coverage and less positive coverage than men’s sports despite increased participation in women’s sports at a high school, collegiate, and professional level. This paper provided a slightly different perspective of women in the news than most of the other papers I looked at – instead of analyzing how women were involved in the dissemination of news it instead examined how women were portrayed in the news. I believe this is a good perspective to analyze in the research of the general topic of gender representation in the news and may be an interesting and different branch to research as opposed to the airtime women receive in news broadcasting that most of the other papers and articles I looked at examined.



  1. Gustafsson Sendén, Marie, et al. “‘She’ and ‘He’ in News Media Messages: Pronoun Use Reflects Gender Biases in Semantic Contexts.” Sex Roles, vol. 72, no. 1–2, Jan. 2015, pp. 40–49. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s11199-014-0437-x.

The purpose of this study was to explore if there is an inherent male bias in the media by examining how the pronouns “she” and “he” are used in the context of news media. It did this by examining if “he” was used more frequently and in more positive semantic context than “she” and if “she” was used in conjunction with more stereotypical labels.  This was performed using latent semantic analysis, a completely data-driven method, extracting statistics of words from how they are used throughout a corpus. Using this method avoided any inherent bias the researchers may have had. This analysis found that male pronouns were used in more positive contexts than female pronouns and used about nine times more frequently, thus arriving at the conclusion that men are portrayed as the norm in this form of media. This paper is incredibly relevant to the research we’re performing because it provides a purely statistical analysis of gender representation in news media.

  1. “The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2017.” Women’s Media Center, 21 Mar. 2017, www.womensmediacenter.com/reports/the-status-of-women-in-u.s.-media-2017.

This article examined who provides news coverage for the top 20 US news outlets in the US, looking at newspapers, online news, wire services and television news in 2017. It found that men produce most of the news in all of these forms and that the disparity was particularly bad in TV news, and found that overall, men produce 62.3 percent of the analyzed reports while women produce 37.7 percent. It also provided several useful infographics that helped to visualize these disparities. Though this article was not a peer reviewed source, it provides very clear-cut statistical information on gender representation in news media. Furthermore, since this article is not peer reviewed it was able to have more current information that the other papers I read. The infographics provided will also certainly be a useful point of reference when we need to produce our own infographic for this project.

  1. Jia, Sen, et al. “Women Are Seen More than Heard in Online Newspapers.” PLoS ONE, vol. 11, no. 2, Feb. 2016, pp. 1–11. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148434.

This paper collected 2,353,652 articles over a period of six months from more than 950 different news outlets. From this initial dataset, the researches then extracted 2,171,239 references to named persons and 1,376,824 images resolving the gender of names and faces using automated computational methods. This analysis found that males were represented more often than females in both images and text, but in proportions that changed across topics, news outlets and mode. Moreover, the proportion of females was consistently higher in images than in text, for virtually all topics and news outlets; women were more likely to be represented visually than they were mentioned as a news actor or source. I believe this paper is relevant to this research because it focused entirely on gender representation in the context of online news, whereas most of the other papers I looked at focused primarily focused on the depiction of women in TV news.

  1. Gershon, Sarah. “When Race, Gender, and the Media Intersect: Campaign News Coverage of Minority Congresswomen.” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, vol. 33, no. 2, Apr. 2012, pp. 105–125. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/1554477X.2012.667743.

This paper examined how minority Congresswomen were portrayed in the news during the 2006 midterm elections since the researchers found that, while papers had been done on minorities running for office and women running for office, none had explored the intersectional struggle that female minorities faced in this area. This paper found that minority candidates and female candidates did not receive significantly less coverage or less positive coverage, but candidates who were female minorities received coverage that was less frequent and more negative than that of their peers. I found this paper interesting and relevant because it not only explored gender representation in the news, but also brought the factor of race into play.

How Children’s Television Represents Gender (Annotated Bib)

Mitchell, Danielle. “Producing Containment: The Rhetorical Construction of Difference in Will & Grace.” Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 38, no. 6, 2005, pp. 1050-1068. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/195371059?accountid=11107.

In this article, Mitchell rails against the prime time show Will & Grace for its acceptance of current norms of inequality and oppression. Her argument is similar to that of Myers regarding non-hegemonic male characters (see second source); that rather than acting as a role model for progress away from hegemonic and heterosexist ideals and norms, the depiction of homosexual characters in Will & Grace serves to reinforce these values by ridiculing characters who deviate from norms. In addition, Mitchell argues that Will & Grace has characters ridicule themselves in order to make the ridicule palatable to audiences who would normally find it offensive, and that it fails to truly represent racial minorities and lesbians by only having characters who represent those demographics make brief, token appearances.

This article definitely has a stance, and sticks to it. Mitchell intends the article to point out problems with Will & Grace’s representation of its characters, and focuses her analysis of the show in ways that support her argument. However, the article is still valuable due to its discussion of class and race divides within the LGBT community and its analysis of how those divides are being portrayed on prime time television.


Myers, Kristen. “”Cowboy Up!”: Non-Hegemonic Representations of Masculinity in Children’s Television Programming.” Journal of Men’s Studies, vol. 20, no. 2, 2012, pp. 125-143. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1023443734?accountid=11107.

In this article, Myers argues that “non-hegemonic male characters” in children’s television programs serve to reinforce hegemonic masculinity. She defines these characters as being males who are “not domineering, competitive, or sexually predatory” and clarifies that they comprise the majority of male characters in the studied shows. These shows are Suite Life on Deck, Hannah Montanna, Wizards of Waverly Place, and iCarly; from the Disney and Nickelodeon networks. The core of Myers’s argument is that rather than serving as role models of nontraditional gender hierarchy, these characters are subject to constant ridicule due to their failure to domineer other characters or otherwise assert their masculinity. Thus they ultimately reinforce that a successful male must put others down to maintain a role of power.

This source provides not only examples of children’s television perpetuating unhealthy gender roles, but also provides insight into how hegemonic masculinity is maintained within peer groups. The “Masculinities: Theory and Practice” section of this article notes that by age 10-11 boys have already identified that there is a relevant hierarchy of status among males in which one must prove oneself suitably masculine to advance. This hierarchy — and enforcement of it — lead to homophobic behaviors and oppression of individuals who do not conform to the cultural ideal of masculinity.


Newsom, Victoria A. “YOUNG FEMALES AS SUPER HEROES: SUPER HEROINES IN THE ANIMATED SAILOR MOON.” Femspec, vol. 5, no. 1, 2004, pp. 57. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/200081515?accountid=11107.

In this article, Newsom dissects the concept of “girl power” and the gendered messages in Sailor Moon. She argues that Sailor Moon incorporates feminine characteristics into characters whose roles are historically associated with males, and therefore that it is part of third wave feminism. The main characters are girls who are strongly marked as feminine through emotional expression, behavior towards stereotypical subjects of teenage female attention such as make-up and crushes, and sexualized outfits. Meanwhile they fill the role of heroism historically reserved for male heroes: they defeat foes of monstrous proportions with supernatural abilities.

Newsome argues that the entire concept of “girl power” is based on a contradiction. It is intended as a “pleasure-centered form of empowerment,” and yet the manners in which it is depicted act counter to female empowerment, because characters who embody girl power are limited to young, slender, physically powerful, attractive girls. Newsome claims links between this unhealthily limiting image and the rise of eating disorders and other attempts at body alteration among female youth in the US.

This article provides information relevant to any research question about anime and shows aimed at young girls. It also highlights key differences between Japanese and American versions of the show and ways in which the American version was censored. It discusses sexualization of female characters in television and the male gaze. Additionally, it explores how an attempt at empowerment can exclude many people who do not fit a specific image.


Romo, Vanessa. “’Supergirl’ Casts First Transgender Superhero On Television.” NPR, NPR, 24 July 2018, www.npr.org/2018/07/23/631693257/supergirl-casts-first-transgender-superhero-on-television.

In this radio episode on NPR, Romo discusses the casting of Nicole Maines as the first transgender superhero on television in the show ‘Supergirl.’ Maines successfully sued her school district in Maine for the right to use the girls’ restroom after the school system had a “bodyguard” follow her around to ensure she used the staff restroom. The article also mentions Scarlett Johansson dropping a starring role as a trans character after public backlash and a general trend towards casting transgender actors for trans roles. In the words of Nicole Maines, this helps “show that we [transgender people] are valid in our identities and we exist.”
This article covers a new development in gender representation on television which is too recent to be covered in peer-reviewed articles. This article also provides a complement for the article by Newsom which discusses girl superheroes in an animated show, while this article centers around a live-action show.


Ulaby, Neda. “Working Women On Television: A Mixed Bag At Best.” NPR, NPR, 18 May 2013, www.npr.org/2013/05/18/184832930/working-women-on-television-a-mixed-bag-at-best.

In this radio episode from Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR, Ulaby discusses the various degrees to which women in the workforce are depicted on television. She reveals that children’s television portrays women as employed at a far lower rate than prime time television. In children’s programming “81 percent of jobs are held by men,” whereas almost half of female characters in prime time television are employed, which matches up with real-world percentages. However, very few of these characters have children, which contrasts with the 60% of real-life working women who have children.

This episode provides many useful metrics about portrayal of women in careers by television, which will be helpful in finding what questions have already been answered in order to ask a new question for our research. Additionally, it features interview snippets with an actress, a showrunner and a network president which provide insight into how the gender of a show’s main character affects its success.


Weida, Courtney L. “Gender, Aesthetics, and Sexuality in Play: Uneasy Lessons from Girls’ Dolls, Action Figures, and Television Programs.” The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education (Online), vol. 31, 2011, pp. 1-25. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1323178403?accountid=11107.

In this article, Weida analyzes many different ways in which Girls’ Dolls are played with and the learning implications of each of these methods of play. Additionally, she analyzes gendered messages in television shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer, South Park, and She-Ra. Rather than taking a direct stance on debates surrounding the media she is analyzing, Weida explores the various ways in which children subvert the expectations of advertisers and parents in playing with or viewing dolls and television, and the potential effects of these alternatives on the development and learning of the child.

Much of this article focuses on dolls, which are not inherently within the scope of our research. However, there is a recent television show about the barbie dolls. If this show is within the scope we choose for our question then the discussion of barbie dolls in this article will provide useful background information. The discussion of the aforementioned television shows and how they portray characters such as Willow from BTVS and Jimmy from South Park who are inherently unique and different from what is culturally considered normal has potential to be useful even if the Barbie shows are not within our chosen scope.

Gender Representation in European Advertisements

“Jodie Whittaker: Doctor Who’s 13th Time Lord to Be a Woman.” BBC News, BBC, 16 July 2017, www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-40624288.

This source is one I was rather excited to use and write about. The central argument is about the 13th regeneration of the Doctor into Jodie Whittaker. This is significant because it will be the first female actress to play the Doctor. The article explains some central concepts of the show and how the change to a female will be new, beneficial, and exciting. There are a few problems as some of the fans or fellow BBC actors or critics have gone against this decision. Saying it feels to forced or they simply don’t like the idea. However, many say, including the 12th Doctor and previous writer, that this has been in the works for a long time. The show was first aired in 1963 so its change throughout the years into what it is now and the articles detailing of it is why this is an important and useful source.


Magra, Iliana. “Britain Cracking Down on Gender Stereotypes in Ads.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 July 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/world/europe/britain-ads-gender-stereotypes.html.

This source is the second and final source that is not peer-reviewed. It is written by the New York times about the Britain banning different ads that encourage gender stereotypes. One of the ads that this article focuses on depicts a female baby growing up to become a ballerina and a young boy ending up being a mathematician. The article talks about many ads that set body standards or enforce gender stereotypes that are being banned. The author of the article Iliana Magra talks about the negative effects this can have on a young child’s outlook on life and hurt females self-image. This is an important article because of its focus on the changes being brought about by the UK in response to gender-based advertisements. It illustrates the countries views on these matters and allows for a source that is written for a simpler reader than that of a peer-reviewed source.


Kumari, Shyama, and Shraddha Shivani. “A Study on Gender Portrayals in Advertising through the Years: A Review Report.” Journal of Research in Gender Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 2012, pp. 54-63. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1347635154?accountid=11107.

This source is peer-reviewed and written as an overview of gender portrayals in advertising in several different countries. A central argument through the source is that gender portrayal should be observed as a whole instead of looking at it based on individual countries. This of course goes against my groups project on international gender portrayal in television. Though this article is still worthwhile. The article talks of too much focus on printed advertisement as opposed to television ads which is what my group is doing. The article talks of gender stereotypes that occur in adverts no matter the country or continent whether in the US, UK, Korea, or Australia. This article in particular speaks of women being displayed as mere objects of sex and servitude in some countries advertisements. It also shows and speaks of research data on the past 4 decades of adverts throughout Europe, America, and Asia. Overall, the previous research data alone makes this article useful towards the gender portrayal project.


Furnham, Adrian, Matte Babitzkow, and Smerelda Uguccioni. “Gender Stereotyping in Television Advertisements: A Study of French and Danish Television.”Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, vol. 126, no. 1, 2000, pp. 79-104. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/231505739?accountid=11107.

This source is a full scientific experiment. It starts out with a hypothesis that French television would have more gender stereotyping than Danish television. The results found were that France had about the same amount of stereotypes per advert, with 165 being studied, as the average country does in their advertisements. The experiment was correct in saying France would have more as Danish advertisements had lower stereotyping among 151 adverts than most other countries. The paper explains some background to the role of advertisements and how feminists view them. It is up for debate whether adverts deliberately enforce gender stereotypes through its messages, but nonetheless the effect is negative. It talks of only 13% of adverts showing women in the workplace. They also noted that gender stereotypes decrease when the advertisement is aimed at children. Overall the comparison of stereotypes between two European countries and the subsequent comparison of that data to studies done on other continents makes this source beneficial to the purpose of the project and can be used as a valuable resource.   



Bush, Bianca, and Adrian Furnham. “Gender Jenga: The Role of Advertising in Gender Stereotypes within Educational and Non-Educational Games.” Young Consumers, vol. 14, no. 3, 2013, pp. 216-229. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1430565522?accountid=11107, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/YC-11-2012-00324.

At first the title of this study may be slightly misleading but the study is about advertisements for children and children games in relation to gender stereotyping. Specifically, this focuses on British children’s advertisements and the UK’s displayance of its gender stereotypes. Similar to one of the previous sources, it is a study that analyzes 130 commercials from UK television. The study had nine hypothesis that were tested, most of which were supported by the study. Some include males being the main character of educational adverts, female-only casts of female oriented adverts, and young boys typically being alone while young girls often had another girl with them. It spouts off some statistics about the average amount of ads per hour, how much kids watch television in the UK, and how many households have a television set in the UK. This just focuses on the UK as opposed to many European countries so it might not be quite as useful as a few of the other sources.



Whitelock, Jeryl, and Delia Jackson. “Women in TV Advertising: A Comparison between the UK and France.” European Business Review, vol. 97, no. 6, 1997, pp. 294-305. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/225423500?accountid=11107.

This is a study done on how women are shown in advertisements on UK television and in French television. It focuses on the women’s roles in each of the countries adverts. This is an analysis done of several already completed studies done individually on French and British television advertisements. The studies begin in 1971 and continue onward until recent times. This gives a good feel of the change of television throughout the years as it has become more progressive than what it was in 1971. However, there are still gender stereotypes on newer advertisements and enforcement of gender roles. Some examples of this include the majority of main characters in adverts being male and any voice overs being almost always done by a man. One interesting data point was that France did have a slightly larger majority of female main characters among adverts, however this is only due to beauty products and sex appeal which is no better than the opposite and enforces certain beauty standards among women. Therefore, the new types of data in this study makes it a fine addition to the sources for the project.

Gender Inequality Within The News

Bernt, Joseph P., Katherine A. Bradshaw, and James C. Foust. “Pressured to Look Good: TV Anchors and Gendered Personal Appearance.” Media Report to Women, vol. 37, no. 3, 2009, pp. 6-11,19-21. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/210209195?accountid=11107.


News anchors are critical for ratings and business success. Overall, anchors do not represent racial diversity. In fact, often times they have similar looks, hair, and clothes. There is a lot of emphasis on physical appearance for news anchors, especially on women. They are judged based on attractiveness, rather than knowledge or ability to explain difficult material. Women who are ‘beautiful’ could keep their job, even if they were bad at being an anchor.This article provides a unique perspective on the judgements of women within the news world. The news is an entertainment medium, and there is fewer female characters. The women that are included are presented as younger and less powerful than men. This article provides important detail by explaining specific scenarios where women were harassed or fired for not meeting a standard of physical appearance, which is a crucial point in our gender representation analysis within the news because it reinforces the beauty standard which keeps male dominance intact.


Peer Reviewed

Cranford, Alexandra. “WOMEN WEATHERCASTERS: Their Positions, Education and Presence in Local TV.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 99, no. 2, Feb. 2018, pp. 281-288. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0317.1.https://gatech-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/openurl?genre=article&isbn=&issn=1461670X&title=JOURNALISM%20STUDIES&volume=19&issue=6&date=20180101&atitle=Women,%20Men%20and%20News:%20It%27s%20life,%20Jim,%20but%20not%20as%20we%20know%20it&aulast=Ross,%20Karen&spage=824&sid=EBSCO:Social%20Sciences%20Citation%20Index&pid=&vid=01GALI_GIT&institution=01GALI_GIT&url_ctx_val=&url_ctx_fmt=null&isSerivcesPage=true&lang=en_US


Broadcast meteorologists face many stereotypes and the need to do attention grabbing stunts for views and ratings. Women face even more stereotypes in relation to the public’s perception of their intelligence and physical appearance. Women are often perceived to not understand science, which can limit the trust of the forecast. Others believe women are hired strictly for their sex appeal to boost ratings. Even as women began to get meteorology degrees, they still faced harassment and sexism. Many weather women are advanced scientists, and the role has evolved over the years, but the stereotype still remains. This source explains how the role a women has can be continually sexualized, even if she has the scientific and intellectual background required for the part. This is important in analyzing the way gender affects different roles within the news. The ‘weather girl’ role is fueled by the stereotype in regards to the intelligence difference between men and females, which is a common denominator in my research articles regarding women in the news.


Peer Reviewed

Engstrom, Erika, and Anthony J. Ferri. “From Barriers to Challenges: Career Perceptions of Women TV News Anchors.” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, vol. 75, no. 4, 1998, pp. 789-802. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/216926995?accountid=11107.


Women face many societal, industrial, and personal expectations that create challenges in their career in the news. Women must have certain physical appearances, balance a role as a wife/mother, and manage family challenges while maintaining their career. In fact, women face a large overemphasis on physical appearance and gender based decision making. Women are expected to look young and perky, whereas men can be old and bald. There is also a gender bias in entering the industry, it is more difficult for women to enter the industry if they are a certain age or look a certain way. These problems are universal and can be applied to local news stations as well. They are often assigned “soft news” to report. This source is very valuable because it gives insight into the women’s perspective on what they believe their gender biased challenges are within the workplace and how they rank with other challenges.


Farhi, Paul. “Female Anchors Overtaking Men.” The Record, Jul 25, 2006, pp. E2. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/267170602?accountid=11107.


Women have surpassed men in becoming the majority of anchors and TV reporters in the United States. In fact, Green, the news director at Fox5 has said that it’s easier to find a strong female anchor than a strong male. This leads to some good and some bad. The good is in regards to equal-opportunity employment. The bad is that there is controversy that the “feminized” newsroom is changing the agenda. Women used to only have jobs in the news as “weather girls” to brighten up people’s days. Now, they are perceived as intelligent and credible from the anchor seat. This article is important because it is the most positive and pro-women article selected. It remarks to women as strong and credible, which speaks to the changing tides in 2018. It provides a unique perspective on the female majority within the news and how the structure of the news throughout history has changed.


Peer Reviewed

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.


There is a significant gender difference in the presentation of experts in TV programming. A study of Israeli talk shows where experts took part showed that men outnumbered female experts in a 1.7:1 ratio. Also, the female experts often discussed topics such as body grooming and child care, whereas the men discussed serious political topics. This gender difference within the news reinforces stereotypes about a woman’s place in society and their intelligence level compared to men. The article also touches on the fact that television is a main socialization agent which spreads beliefs. In fictional TV programs, experts are always male. This gives society the impression of male gender dominance. This is a valuable source because it examines not only the frequency of women in the news, but also their role within it. Women are often used as “a pretty face” rather than an intellectual expert, and this article explains the stereotypes that lead to these assigned roles and functions.


Smee, Thomas W. “Does a News Anchor’s Gender Influence Audience Evaluations of the Anchor?” Media Report to Women, vol. 32, no. 4, 2004, pp. 13-20. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/210165374?accountid=11107.


There is a difference in audience response to male and female news anchors. The anchors, usually the conveyors of information, are the ones being represented inaccurately. Minorities and women are often underrepresented within the news staff. Also, the audience is often looking for factors such as intelligence and honesty within their news anchors. These qualities are harder for women to be perceived as when they are not given equal opportunity as men to report on serious and and important issues. Women are often given subjective and lifestyle reports. Female reporters are often hired more for their looks rather than their ability to report. This article is important because it shows the perceptions of men and women anchors from the audience’s view. Women are often facing higher judgements based on the stories they are given, which is not their choice, nor a fair judgment. The audience would rather hear the more important news, which is delivered by men, so they associate the men as being more important.

Gender Representation Within Children’s Television Annotated Bibliography

Boboltz, Sara. “TV Still Perpetuates A Whole Mess of Gender Stereotypes.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 September 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tvgender stereotypes-boxed-in-report-2017_us_59b814cce4b02da0e13cac47.

        This source offers basic insight on the ways in which women’s activities are portrayed on television. By analyzing over 4000 characters across a wide, diverse range of television shows, the author discovered that women are still disproportionately overrepresented in personal roles, such as being wives or mothers. Thus, male characters are left to fill the work-oriented roles. One counterpoint the author addressed is within “The Handmaid’s Tale”, where women’s lack of workplace jobs is hyperbolically used to emphasize the lack of women’s rights. However, she argued that this representation, even when the aim is to ridicule the current treatment of women, is still perpetuating and reinforcing gender roles. Furthermore, the author attributed the high frequency of stereotypically gendered jobs on television to the lack of women working on these shows behind the scenes. When women are employed in the creative teams behind the shows, the representation of women increases to equal the actual proportion of women in the US. This source offers insightful, albeit superficial, analysis on women’s jobs on television shows. The source only focuses on television as a whole, and thus misses the potential discrepancies across networks or genres. This source is beneficial for its confirmation of the suspicion that television shows generally rely on harmful gender stereotypes when creating characters.


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.

        This research confirms that kindergarten aged children are already aware of gender stereotyping and can guess the gender of a television character based on the type of activity being performed. The children answered with strong correlations to traditional stereotypes for both male and female activities and as they age, their responses align more strongly towards stereotypical gender roles. This study found that both young boys and girls found their gender roles to be rigid. This demonstrates that from an early age, children are aware of social expectations and internalize them, which then affects how they view their own competence within the world. As for where these expectations stem from, the authors argue that television is a strong contributor as children watch such a high amount of television that it forms a portion of their own reality. However, there are weakness associated with this data: this only covered a special case for the children and may not be reflective of their general viewing attitudes. Given the source’s focus on how children’s gender expectations affect their television viewing and the high-quality composition of the source, it offers helpful insight on how children can be socially conditioned by television.


Faniyi, Oluwakemi. “Gender Roles in Children’s Television.” The Odyssey Online, 28 August 2017,www.theodysseyonline.com/gender-roles-in-childrens-television.

This source argues that due to the high amount of time children spending watching television, especially during their formative brain development years, television grooms children to align themselves with specific gender roles. Through constant reinforcement, children learn to accept gender stereotypes are they are portrayed in the media, specifically television. This creates many adverse effects for children; lack of gender representation may give children the idea that female stories are not important, furthermore, stereotypical gender representation can affect opinions about occupations or interpersonal relationships. Although this source specifically focuses on the skewed representation of gender in the media and the adverse effects on children, the analysis in terms of the effect on children is weak. It contends that children are negatively affected by these gender roles on television, but it never explicitly clarifies what these expectations are. However, it offers apt analysis that explains how children are affected by gender stereotypes in the world around them, including television.


Jennifer, Aubrey, and Kristen Harrison. (2004). “The Gender-Role Content of Children’s Favorite Television Programs and its Links to their Gender-Related Perceptions.” Media Psychology, 6(2), 111-146. http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/230043335?accountid=11107.

This study discovered that in 1st and 2nd grader’s favorite television shows, male lead characters far outnumber female leads and female characters were far more likely to exhibit stereotypical characteristics (defined here as “attractive” and “frail”). This creates a circular problem with representation, as girls see more male characters, so they choose male characters as role models, but boys do not see female characters, thus they are unable to pick female role models. This encourages network executives to continue making shows with primarily male leads as they are more popular. From the analysis based on cartoons, it was most common for programs to create gender-neutral or gender counter-stereotypical programing, this includes having male characters more likely to cry or follow orders. Although female characters conformed to gender stereotypes based on appearance, their general actions and plot importance was about equivalent to the male characters. This source offers insightful analysis that specifically focuses on gender stereotyping in children’s television through multiple approaches. However, there are still limitations with the data itself, as it only analyzed six television shows, from two networks, so the sample was not representative of all television watched by children. The analysis is invaluable because of its multiple approaches to the problem of gender representation – emotional attitudes, numerical representation and appearance, which will be useful lenses for future analysis.


Johnson, Fern, and Karren Young. (2002). “Gendered Voices in Children’s Television Advertising.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, 19(4), 461-480. http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/220423928?accountid=11107.

This source argues that children’s advertisements are geared to the gender stereotype that they envelop – “boy” toys are accompanied with an aggressive male voice, and the voiceover for “girl” toys is a sing-song female voice. These voices are clearly caricatures to adults, but to children they can be directly interpreted, leading to a rigid understanding of gender roles. Furthermore, when the language used in these ads is analyzed, the verbs utilized with young girl audiences are associated with emotions, and the verbs for boys are linked to destruction and action. In particular, the portrayal of the genders is different within the television ads – girls are seen in bright colors and in groups, engaging in trivial activities like gossip; the boys are in black and white, and are generally doing something active. These television commercials continue to rely on polarizing gender stereotypes because they have been effective in selling products and allow an acclimation to the gendered world of adult products. This research gives strong evidence for the total immersion of children into gender roles, as commercials, generally thought of as background entertainment, are enlisting the same stereotypes present within regular programming. This source offers apt analysis about how language, images, and voices are used to promote gender stereotypes. Even though commercials is not a primary focus for this research, it still offers high quality, well-thought out criteria and analysis for where gender stereotypes can be identified in the media.


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.

Television is one of the strongest social influences that children experience, and they mirror the behavior and expectations that are portrayed on television. Perceptions and biases are established over time through constant reinforcement, so if children only see women nurses on television, this can become a steadfast, stereotypical belief in the minds of children. When children see males portrayed as decisive and assertive, and females portrayed as passive or subordinate, children begin to believe these are appropriate behaviors for the genders. This is especially problematic when television does not mirror the real world; an unequal workforce, an intense emphasis on relationships for women, and a majority of young, attractive women, establishes expectations that are not reflective of real life. This article is a great example of the power of television in regard to children’s socialization and alignment with gender stereotypes. It is important to understand the implications of what children watch and how that creates a worldview which will eventually lead to biases and prejudices.

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