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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Turn off the TV

Barbara Barontini King Features Syndicate

If your husband doesn’t do his share of domestic duties, turn off the TV. A new study reveals that men are influenced by television commercials that tend to portray them at work, not at home.

The research, presented by Valerie Hooper, a senior in sociology at the University of New Hampshire, identified how men and women are portrayed in commercials and, as a result, how the viewer responds to these portrayals.

Results indicate that in commercials, men are portrayed as the main character more often than women and are more likely to be working. Women, on the other hand, are less likely to be portrayed working outside the home, and most commercials featuring women (more than 50 percent) focus on selling home products, like food or cleaning products. Further, only 2 percent of commercials showed men performing domestic tasks like cooking or cleaning.

These characterizations also impact viewer perceptions. The study shows that men who viewed characters in a traditional male role (working outside the home) were more likely to favor goals related to their career.

According to Hooper, the stereotypes found in commercials can have a real impact on men, who tend to favor focusing on career goals over domestic ones.

“The subtle implications of gender roles in commercials can influence self-concept and future goals, particularly in the case of males. Although effects in the study were presumably temporary, one must keep in mind that individuals watch millions of commercials over the course of their lifetime,” Hooper said.