A quantitative content analysis examined gender and racial stereotypes concerning victim and offender status in fictional crime-based dramas from the 2010–2013 seasons of basic cable television programming in the U.S. Coders documented variables for 983 characters across 65 episodes of television. The study predicted male television characters would stand greater chance than female television characters of being perpetrators of violence and crime. Meanwhile, female television characters would stand greater chance than male television characters of being victims of crime and violence. A z-test of proportions supported these hypotheses, except when it came to a comparison of male and female television characters who appeared as victims of violence. A research question addressed the gender (male, female) and racial (Black, White) composition of crime and violence perpetration and victimization. Chi square and z-test analyses confirmed White female television characters stood greater chance of being victims of crime than White male, Black female, and Black male television characters. White female television characters stood the greatest chance of being victims who suffer serious harm or death. White women stood a greater chance of being rape or sexual assault victims, being victims of serious harm at the hands of an assailant, and being attacked by a stranger. Cultivation theory informed the discussion, proposing that persistent exposure to such stereotypical content may nurture skewed perceptions concerning the prevalence of crime targeting women, and especially White women, in the real world.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 20, 2015
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