Gender Stereotypes in Portuguese Television
an d Is abel Pin to
Universidade do Porto
This study exam in ed the po rtrayal of men and wom en in a sam ple of
Portuguese television co mm ercials, attem pting to replicate an d extend past
investigation s done in Am erica, Australia, Britain , and Italy. The aim was to
update Portuguese research and to com pare findings across cultures. Three
hundred and four evening commercials were content analyzed by two raters,
one male an d the other female, to ch eck reliability. The attribu tes of each of
their cen tral figu res were classifie d in to 11 categorie s: gen der, m od e of
presentation , credibility, role, location , age, argum ent, reward type, product
type, backgroun d, and end comment. Stron g eviden ce of differences in the
presentation of male and female characteristics was obtained. The im plications
of results for the developm ent and main tenance of gender roles are discussed.
There is now fairly wide spre ad conce ptual agreement and empirical support
for the vie w that tele vision can and doe s profoundly influe nce both childre n
and adults (e.g., Mille r & Reeves, 1976; Frueh & Mc Ghee, 1975; McGhee
& Frueh, 1980; Je nnings, Geis, & Brown, 1980) . As Courtne y and Whipple
(1983) have noted it
can influe nce inte llectual de velopme nt, change atti-
tudes, contribute to aggre ssive be havior in childre n, teach childre n how to
become consume rs, encourage prosocial attitude s and behaviours, be an
age nt of political socialization, and teach racial stere otype s . . .
(pp. 45-46) .
It is as a socializing age nt that te le vision is particularly powerful. Be-
cause viewing television involve s the obse rvation of othe rs
its re inforcement continge ncie s (Bandura, 1977) , television is conside red to
be a major vehicle through which childre n learn about appropriate behav-
Sex Roles, Vol. 39, No s. 1/2, 1998
1998 Pl e num Publishing Corporation
To whom corresponde nce should be addre ssed at Unive rsidade do Porto, Faculdade de Psi-
cologia e de Ciéncias da Educa
o, R. Do Camp o Alegre, LO SS, 4150 Porto, Portugal.