Media Stereotyping: A Comparison of the Way Elderly Women and Men Are Portrayed on Prime-Time Television

JoEtta A. Vernon, J. Allen Williams, Terri Phillips, Janet Wilson
1991 Journal of Women & Aging  
This content analysis of 139 programs and 2,211 characters updates and extends previous research on the way elderly people, and especially elderly women, are presented on prime-time television. Findings indicate that females and the elderly continue to be significantly underrepresented. Comparisons of elderly men and women showed patterns of traditional stereotypes, with men more likely to be depicted positively on 7 of 9 desirable traits and women more likely to be depicted negatively on 6 of
more » ... he 7 undesirable traits which showed a gender difference. However, the proportional differences for specific characteristics typically were neither large nor statistically significant, suggesting that there has been some change in television's portrayal of the elderly during the 1980s. It also was noted that television appears to be more accepting and open to the portrayal of older middle-aged men than women in the same age category. JoEtta A. Vernon is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she is specializing in the areas of aging and the life course and the sociology of the family. J. AlIen Williams, Jr. is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His major research areas are the sociology of the family, minorities, and environmental sociology. Terri Phillips and Janet Wilson are doctoral candidates at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Phillips is specializing in social psychology and deviance and criminology and Wilson is specializing in deviance and criminology and sex and gender.
doi:10.1300/j074v02n04_05 fatcat:kyn4ajr2mvfixfsmcisi7wzdzq