Gender role portrayals in television advertisements: Do channel characteristics matter?

Kathrin Karsay 1 , Jörg Matthes 2 , and Valerie Fröhlich 3
  • 1 Department of Communication, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • 2 Jörg Matthes, Department of Communication, Vienna, Austria
  • 3 Valerie Fröhlich, Department of Communication, Vienna, Austria
Kathrin Karsay, Jörg Matthes and Valerie Fröhlich


In the present study we investigated the role of channel characteristics with regard to gender role portrayals in television advertisements. Drawing on cultivation theory and social cognitive theory, we investigated six key variables in this line of research. We sampled a total of N = 1022 advertisements from four Austrian television channels: a public service channel, a commercial channel, and one commercial special interest channel for men and for women, respectively. Our results replicate well-known stereotypic gender role portrayals prevalent in television advertisements. The public service channel and the private channel did not differentiate from each other with regards to gender stereotyping. We found that a channel with a female target group aired advertisements containing the same or even amplified stereotypes compared to a male channel. The potential negative effects of stereotypic gender role portrayals in television advertisements are discussed.

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