Research and Reports
Television programs and commercials geared to young children foster sex-role stereotypes, according to a study conducted at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
The study, which looked at programming produced by ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS, found that children's programs contain 200 percent more "gender-indicative" language than occurs in normal conversation.
Anthony Mulac, professor of communications and author of the3study, also found that "gender-differentiated" language produces stereotypical perceptions. For example, female characters' dialogue was said to lead to perceptions that girls are "beautiful," "nice," "sweet," and "pleasant." Male dialogue, on the other hand, led to perceptions that boys are "strong," "active," "aggressive," and "loud."
Female characters were found to use longer sentences, more verbs showing "uncertainty," such as "I suppose," and more polite phrases, while male characters used action verbs and made more grammatical errors, the researcher found.