ERIC Number: ED303147
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
The Picture Improves: A Look at the 1984 Television Season. An Analysis of Female TV Characters on Programs Premiering in 1984.
Steenland, Sally; Fujita, Pamela
This study of the images of women as portrayed on new television programs in 1984 not only compared them with the images of the last season, but examined the similarities and differences between these characters and real life women. Each continuing female character on every new show was coded for race, age, occupation, marital and socioeconomic status, and number of children under 18 years of age. Analyses of these data showed that, although many of the new fall programs seemed to be close copies of the older programs, there were some surprising departures from the existing norm in that there were increases in the number of minority female characters, the percentage of female entrepreneurs and business owners, and older women characters. Most of the shows continued the trend towards upper middle class and wealthy characters, and even those shows whose characters were portrayed as middle class had environments and lifestyles which suggested wealth. There was also an increase in the number of divorced female characters, but single, never-married female characters still comprised the majority. The year's television families marked a dramatic departure from the traditional nuclear family, with 64% of the families headed up by single parents. Racially, most television families were white. There were also more female characters in new television shows than ever before, with many of these characters playing leading roles or roles equal to those of men. (EW)
Descriptors: Black Stereotypes, Commercial Television, Economic Status, Employed Women, Family Characteristics, Mass Media Effects, Programing (Broadcast), Sex Stereotypes, Television Research
National Commission on Working Women, 1325 G Street NW, Lower Level, Washington, DC 20005 ($5.00 prepaid).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Commission on Working Women, Washington, DC.
Note: For related reports, see IR 013 616-622.