A longitudinal content analysis of gender role portrayal in Belgian television advertising
Faculty of Applied Economics
Journal of marketing communications. - London
, p. 170-188
University of Antwerp
This study explores gender role portrayal in advertisements broadcasted on Belgian commercial television. We gathered a sample of 493 commercials (featuring 907 characters) randomly selected out of two periods (January 2002-April 2003, n = 250 and January 2009-April 2010, n = 243) from a database containing all advertisements broadcasted on Belgian commercial television. A content analysis was carried out using a coding scheme based on existing literature. Content categories included gender of the characters, gender roles (i.e. parental, housekeeping and professional expert) and sexual objectification. Hypotheses predicted that men and women would be represented differently in television advertising, and that these differences would reflect traditional gender stereotypes. Moreover, due to regulatory changes, we hypothesize that these differences should decrease over time. Results are largely in accordance with the existing literature. Women tend to be depicted as younger and are portrayed more often within dependent roles as caregiving parent, housewife or as sexual objects than men. A longitudinal analysis of role portrayal changes across two periods within and between genders indicates little change in gender role portrayals in Belgian television advertising between 2002-2003 and 2009-2010. Despite social and regulatory changes, gender stereotypes in advertising seem to persist over time.