Recognition of sex-role stereotypes in prime-time television

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Paula M. Popovich
Eliot J. Butter
Cite this article:  Popovich, P. M., & Butter, E. J. (2017). Recognition of sex-role stereotypes in prime-time television. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 1(1), 33-40.

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While traditional television characters have typically been portrayed as sex-stereotyped, recently, more unstereotyped characters have been introduced into programming. We proposed that college-age participants, when presented with prime-time characters that have been prerated as examples of stereotyped and unstereotyped portrayals, would perceive the differential stereotypes as represented by ratings of sex-typed traits. Attractiveness and liking ratings were also taken for each of the characters, and sex differences in all of these ratings were explored. Results showed that male and female television characters were rated at the male and female extremes of the scale. Means for the unstereotyped characters were between the masculine and feminine extremes of the stereotyped character means. There was a significant sex of rater × trait interaction, whereby female participants rated the characters as more feminine on the female-valued traits than did male participants. Unstereotyped characters were considered more attractive and more liked than stereotyped characters. Implications for modeling of television characters are discussed.

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