My Topics

22 January 2019

Gender Stereotypes Are More Common On Men's Than On Women's Channels

Let’s face it: media play an important role in shaping our perceptions. When for example television series present traditional gender images, this can (and most likely will) contribute to the creation and maintaining of gender stereotypes. A study in Sex Roles compared men’s and women’s television channels and discovered that gender is represented more traditionally on men’s channels. 

Take aways

  • In the Netherlands, women’s television channels mirror the population in terms of female-to-male ratio. However, on men’s channels women are underrepresented. 
  • Women’s channels tend to depict men more as fathers and as active participants in the household. Men’s channels? Not so much.  
  • Television can contribute to building and maintaining stereotypes. Currently, viewers of men’s channels may be more at risk of developing narrow gender conceptions than viewers of women’s channels. 

Study information

  • Who?

    The study analysed 115 prime-time programs with a total of 1,091 characters.

  • Where?

    The Netherlands

  • How?

    The researchers analysed 115 prime-time programs from four gender-specific television channels from The Netherlands. They classified RTL7 and Veronica as men's channels, and RTL8 and Net5 as women’s channels. The researchers viewed the programs and recorded the gender, age, working status, parental status and the performance of household or caregiving tasks of each speaking character that actively contributed to a storyline (main characters).

Facts and findings

  • Men’s channels underrepresented women in all genres, whereas women’s channels mirrored the Dutch population in terms of female-to-male ratio. 
  • The majority of female characters on men’s channels were young adults, whereas women’s channels presented a more diverse age distribution. 
  • Both men and women were less often presented as professionals on men’s channels than on women’s channels.  
  • Men were less often presented as caregivers or fathers on men’s channels than on women’s channels. 
  • Men’s and women’s channels did not differ in their presentation of women as caregivers or mothers.