A content analysis of gender portrayal in advertisements aired during the men's and women's 2010 NCAA basketball tournament final four games

Material Information

A content analysis of gender portrayal in advertisements aired during the men's and women's 2010 NCAA basketball tournament final four games
Haarhues, Michelle D
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
viii, 72 leaves : ; 28 cm.

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Committee Chair:
Duran-Aydintug, Candan
Committee Co-Chair:
Ingram, Leigh
Committee Members:
Brega, Angela G.


Subjects / Keywords:
Mass media and women ( lcsh )
Television commercials ( lcsh )
Sex role on television ( lcsh )
Mass media and women ( fast )
Sex role on television ( fast )
Television commercials ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 62-72).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Michelle D. Haarhues.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
710807897 ( OCLC )


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A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF GENDER PORTRAYAL IN ADVERTISEMENTS AIRED DURING THE MEN'S AND WOMEN'S 2010 NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT FINAL FOUR GAMES by Michelle D. Haarhues B.S., University of Northern Colorado, 1990 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Sociology 2010


This thesis for the Masters of Art degree by Michelle D. Haarhues has been approved by 1 bate I


Haarhues, Michelle D. (M.A., Sociology) A Content Analysis of Gender Portrayal in Advertisements Aired During the Men's and Women's 2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament Final Four Games Thesis directed by Associate Professor Candan Duran-Aydintug ABSTRACT Many females did not participate in organized sports until after the passage of Title IX in 1972 at which time the number of female athletes began increasing significantly. Even with this increase in female participation in sports, women athletes are considered the weaker sex and are underrepresented in sports media or are shown as a sex symbol instead of an athlete. After almost 40 years of a change in societal views about women, gender stereotypes still exist in sports. People are influenced by stereotypical message which can be found in sports as well as in different forms of the media and advertising. Many companies use gender role stereotypes within their advertisements as a tool to convey their sales message to viewers. These stereotypical messages can have an impact on how society views the roles of men and women in all aspects of their lives. It has been found that advertising, sport, and the media each have an impact on gender role definitions in society. This study looks at the amount of image and language bias in advertisements aired during men's and women's


NCAA basketball games and if there is a difference in the amount of bias in the advertisements aired during the men's and the women's games. A content analysis of 219 advertisements aired during the 201 0 Men's and Women's NCAA semi-final and Championship basketball games was conducted and the results analyzed. The results of the study found that language bias in the advertising aired during both the men's and the women's NCAA basketball games. However, gender image bias was found in the advertisements. It was found during the women's games, but it was significantly more prevalent in the men's games. There were some advertisements aired in both the men's and women's games, some of which contained gender neutral images and language while others contain gender image bias. Then there were companies who aired different commercials during the men's and the women's games. These different advertisements portrayed different gender images. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication.


DEDICATION I dedicate my thesis to all of my friends and family who have been with me throughout my masters and throughout my life. Each one has given something to me that helped make me the person I am today. I would like to especially thank my friends and family for their support while I have been in graduate school with a special thank you to a cycling friend for all the bike rides this summer. This was the best summer ever and I enjoyed every mile of it. You keep a smile on my face.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Dr. Candan Duran-Aydintug has been the ideal thesis supervisor. She has shown patience as I worked my way through the thesis process yet was able to guide me and keep me moving forward while letting me follow my own path. I also would like to thank Dr. Leigh Ingram and Dr. Angela Brega for their knowledge and support on this project. Their input and guidance was greatly appreciated. Finally, I would like the thank Karis May for all of her work to help me get this document ready for publication.


TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Figures . .. .. . .. .. . . .. .. . . . .. .. . .. .. . .. .. . . . . .. .. .. .. vii List of Tables ..................................................................................................... viii CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................... 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................................ 4 Sports................................................................................................ 5 The Media.......................................................................................... 10 Sports and the Media......................................................................... 12 Advertising......................................................................................... 22 3. HYPOTHESES......................................................................................... 29 4. METHODS............................................................................................... 31 5. DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS ........................................................... 38 6. DISCUSSION .......................................................................................... 48 7. CONCLUSIONS ...................................................................................... 56 APPENDIX A. DATA ENTRY FORMS .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...... .. .... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 59 B. TABLE STRUCTURE............................................................................... 61 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................. 62 vi


LIST OF FIGURES Figure A.1 Games Data Entry Form ...... .. .... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 59 A.2 Advertisement Data Entry Form .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... 60 A.3 Data Table Structure.......................................................................................... 61 vii


LIST OF TABLES Table U.S. basketball fan base.................................................................................... 8 2 Variable measures from Artz and Munger.......................................................... 33 3 Number of ads aired during game...................................................................... 39 4 Number of ads aired during game by category .................................................. 40 5 Number of advertisements aired during games with image bias and/or language bias..................................................................................................... 43 6 Number of advertisements aired during games with language bias................... 44 7 Speaker gender in advertisements..................................................................... 45 8 Number of advertisements aired during games with image bias........................ 46 9 Number of advertisements aired during games with image bias (dichotomous) 47 viii


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Feminist theorists tend to view gender as socially constructed and believe that women have been portrayed in stereotypical roles throughout the years. These stereotypical images can be found in many different forms throughout the Western culture. Companies use stereotypical images and language of both men and women as an advertising tool to transmit their message to the public through the media. Not only are they selling their products, companies are also sending those stereotypical social status messages to the public, thus endorsing stereotypical gender roles. As Wolf (1999) states, ''The gender-related status quo is viewed as the product of socio-cultural and historical forces which have been created, and are constantly recreated by humans, and therefore can potentially be changed by human agency." Society is subjected to these messages through advertising as well as other media formats. Many within society may not understand the extent to which they are receiving these messages or all of the underlying tones presented within the messages. Society is influenced by stereotypical messages and these messages can have an impact on how society views the roles of men and women are viewed in all aspects of their lives (Bartsch, Burnett, Diller, and Rankin-Williams 2000; Geis, Brown, Jennings (Walstedt), and Porter 1984; MacKay and Covell 1997). The media have been identified as a source for the representation of stereotypical images. Another area which has been identified in the past as promoting stereotypical images and language to society is sports. Throughout


history, sports have been primarily dominated by men. It was an outlet in which men could prove their strength and masculinity. Some sports have been deemed appropriate for females, but those sports have been identified by society as feminine and emphasis is placed on grace within the sport rather than strength and ability of the athletes. Even with these sports available, many girls and women did not participate in organized sports until the early 1970s. The number of women participating in sports has increased dramatically since 1972 when Title IX was passed. The bill, which was originally passed to provide equal opportunities in education without discrimination of sex, has come to be known for providing a more equal playing field for women in high school and collegiate sports. The increase in participation by women in sports over the past forty years has helped build the sporting goods industry that, in the mid-2000s, was the sixth largest industry in the United States with revenues averaging between $213 billion and $324 billion (Kian, Mondello, and Vincent 2009). Even so, women athletes are still "underrepresented and trivialized by the popular media while men have been highly visible and glorified" (Buysse and Embser-Herbert, 2004). Considering all of the changes that have occurred within sports, women are still thought of as the weaker sex and specific sports are still categorized as feminine or masculine. Opinions about participation within these sports are based on the associated stereotypes. Gender biases emphasized within sports have continued to reinforce the belief that there are differences between men and women in the Western culture. These stereotypes are not only promoted within sports, but they also are reinforced by the media and the way in 2


which the media represent women in their coverage of sports. The stereotypical, ideal portrait of women athletes is one of grace and beauty rather than one of strength. Women who are perceived as strong competitors are many times called degrading names because they are not considered feminine enough. The other stereotypical role of women in sports that is reinforced by the media is that of the sex symbol. More emphasis is placed on the female athlete's sex appeal instead of her athletic abilities. This can be seen in many areas of the media from news stories to live coverage of sporting events. The social constructs of advertising, sport, and the media each have an impact on societal definitions of gender roles. This study will look at how all three of these constructs work together to portray gender roles within society. A content analysis of the television commercials aired during men's and women's NCAA basketball semi-final and championship games played in April 2010 will be investigated to look at how gender roles through images and language in advertising differ or are the same between the commercials aired during these games. 3


CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW There has been an extensive number of research studies conducted over the past several years regarding society's perceptions about masculinity, femininity, and gender roles in society. Some of the qualities associated with masculinity include "strength, self-control, aggression, stamina, discipline, fearlessness, and competitiveness" (Angelini, 2008) while the opposite qualities are associated with femininity. These gender role stereotypes continue to be found within the Western culture in spite of the changes that have occurred over the last fifty years. Many scholars are of the belief that "sport is one of the primary forces helping to preserve hegemonic masculinity in the Western World, while also noting that sport also assists in upholding antiquated definitions of gender and negative stereotypes of women who do not conform to traditional notions of femininity" (Kian, Mondello, and Vincent, 2009). The term hegemony was coined by Gramsci in the early 1970s and is used to describe how members of a dominant social class control others within the society regardless if there was consent of the dominated group (Kian, Vincent, and Mondello, 2008). Hegemonic masculinity is Connell's culturally constructed definition of masculinity. According to Connell's theory, it is believed that society encourages males to take on the traditional masculine role. With hegemonic masculinity, it is believed that masculine men dominate over women and other, weaker males. Many have argued that sport may perpetuate the concept 4


of male superiority and female inferiority more than any other social institution (Bernstein, 2002). Since most sports involve some type of competition and proving one's superiority over an opponent, it is only likely that the culture of sport is one that promotes hegemonic masculinity. Gender Schema Theory looks at how people identify themselves as male or female then seek out representations of gender in order to continually define and redefine their own gender (Angelini 2008). Sport, no matter whether seen through the media or personal participation, has been identified as an industry which plays a big role on gender identification. It is learned at an early age within the Western culture and these gender roles are carried forward throughout one's life. Sporting events, the media, and advertising have each been shown to contribute to the development and reinforcement of gender stereotypes within society. Research studies have been conducted in each of these areas and it has been identified that each of the three is a contributor to society's definition and reinforcement of gender stereotypes. In the literature review, the three areas (sports, the media, and advertising) will be examined and discussed as well as how each of these contributes to society's perpetuation of stereotypical gender views. Sports Sport always has been a male dominated arena and women have been demanding for more equality since the early 19th century (Giulianotti, 2005). Sport was divided both by 5


class and by gender, and "advances in sport were often controlled and curtailed by men in accordance with patriarchal norms" (Dean, 2002). Women were discouraged from participating in sports as they might injure themselves to the point that they would be unable to reproduce. However, this was not always the case outside of capitalist societies. Communist countries, such as Russia, China, and East Germany, promoted strong bodies both of men and women to promote good health among the population while at the same time favoring traditional female roles within society (Giulianotti, 2005). Gender segregation within sports continued in the Western culture throughout the 191 h and most of the 201 h century. In the late 1800s, women were encouraged to "gain physical exercise through household labour rather than riding bicycles" (Lenskyj, 1986). It was almost 100 years after that time that women began to receive equality and were encouraged to participate in sports. In 1972, the passage of Title IX by the U.S. government helped equal the playing field for girls and women even though that was not the original intent of the bill. The bill was written to create equal opportunities in education without regard to gender. Title IX was intended to apply to the public education system, so additional opportunities were provided to female athletes participating in high school and college sports. Prior to the passage of Title IX by Congress, there were less than 300,000 high school female athletes. There were approximately 10 percent of that number, or 32,000, women participating in college athletics, (Kian, Mondello, and Vincent 2009) but more than 10 times that number (3,666,917) males participating in high school sports. After the passage of Title IX and the increase in the number of opportunities, the number of girls and women 6


participating in sports grew at a significant rate. Almost two decades after the passage of Title IX, the number of girls participating in high school sports had grown 7 fold to reach almost 2 million while the number of boys participating in high school sports at that time was just under the number participating in 1972. The number of female athletes participating in high school sports continued to grow and by 2007, the number had grown to almost 3 million high school female athletes while the number of college female athletes grew to 170,000 (Messner, Duncan, and Jensen, 1993). This was an increase of ten times the number of female high school athletes and five times the number of female college athletes over a span of thirty-five years. Not only are women participating more in sports today, but they are sports fans as well. In fact, women are fans of many types of sports and not just those that are identified as "appropriate" for participation by women. A random representative sample poll of 12,000 people aged 12 and older conducted by the television network ESPN between January and June of 2000 shows that while there are not as many female basketball fans as there are male fans, women still make up a large portion of the fan base for NBA, college, and WNBA basketball, as shown in Table 1. 7


Table 1 U.S. basketball fan base u.s. Males 12 Males Males Females Females 24 25-44 45+ 12-34 35+ Fan-NBA 54.4 75.6 58.7 52.0 60.6 42.2 Fan-College 49.8 64.6 52.9 57.1 49.5 38.7 Basketball Fan-WNBA 35.0 41.0 30.8 35.1 41.8 31.2 Source: ESPN Sports Poll, a product of TNS lnterserch (Gems 2009) The number of women participating in sports overall and particularly since the passage of Title IX has increased considerably. For instance, only men were allowed to participate in the modern Olympic Games when they were introduced in 1896. More than 1 00 years after the inception of the modern Olympics, women were competing in 118 events. However, as Bernstein (2002) describes, for all of the women participating in the 2000 Olympic Games, this was only 30 percent of all athletes participating in the Sydney Games that year. Even with the increase in participation by females in sports as well as becoming fans of sport, women are not considered equal within the sport industry. Dworkin and Messner's (2002) research revealed that males receive more opportunities in sports all the way from pee-wee leagues to professional sports. For instance, females receive $1.1 0 million less in funding at the high school level and $133.0 million less in college scholarships than men. Men's sports, especially football and basketball, are generally the sports which generate the 8


most revenues for the schools, so some believe that men's sports should receive more funding. However, it also can be argued that if women's sports were given as much attention by society and the media as the men's, they could possibly generate more revenues than they are currently. When this disparity in equality of sports is seen by children at a young age, they are receiving the message that sport is more important for males in the Western society. It is true that females have more opportunities to participate in many different sports than they did forty years ago. However, as they grow up in a society that tells them that sport is not feminine in nature as well as being more important for male participation, females tend to stop participating in sports in order to behave in a fashion that is deemed appropriate for women in society. Sport is still a male dominated cultural system in the Western society. It is often a reflection of '1he rituals and values of the societies in which they are developed" (Halbert, 1994). The way in which women are portrayed in sports reinforces traditional stereotypical images of gender roles. This can be seen in the differences in rules between the men's version and women's version of the same sport. There also are differences in equipment used and allowed in the different versions of some sports. Some sporting equipment is distinguished by its color with women's equipment available in pink or purple. Again, society is emphasizing the differences between male and female athletes and putting a label on female athletes. Sports have received society-defined titles of masculine or feminine. This perception of what makes a sport masculine or feminine is generally dependent on the 9


amount of contact made within the sport. Hockey and basketball are considered masculine sports whereas non-contact sports, such as figure skating and gymnastics, are considered feminine sports. Men who participate in feminine sports and women who participate in masculine sports can be perceived and labeled as too feminine or too masculine based on the sport in which they participate and not their abilities or personality. These participants are considered to be playing in the ''wrong" sport. Their presence within a sport which is not considered appropriate for their gender "challenges conventional binary understandings of the Western triad of sex and gender, masculinity and femininity, heterosexuality and homosexuality'' (Dworkin and Messner, 2002) This, again, is a gender rule in which people learn at a young age and carry with them throughout their lives. Society has defined the appropriate stereotypical role for athletes based on their gender and non-compliance of these roles can come with consequences. The Media One of the biggest influences upon Western society is the media which includes radio, television, movies, magazines, and the Internet. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2004, Americans spent 73 hours per week exposed to some type of media while spending $16 billion on different media resources (Andersen, 2006). With the large influence of the media on society, there have been several studies examining the type of influence that the media holds. Fenton (2000) found that the types of messages that the media transmit are hyper-real, thus making images of reality unreal and portraying society in a way that is not 10


true. The cultural signs and images received through the media are continually dominating societal perceptions of reality and the real world. As the amount of time that Americans spend exposed to the media continues, perceptions of reality will continue to be blurred even more to the point where there is no distinction between the two. The media influence several areas of life including how society defines gender. Many researchers (Andrews 1996; Boyd 1997; Cole 1996; McDonald 1996, Angelini, 2008) have found that these definitions reflect gender stereotypes. Andersen (2006) finds that, not only do the media influence society's definition of gender, but it also has an influence on the definition of race, class, and age. The concern is that people are not always aware of the impact that media has on their views and definitions of themselves and their society. With the amount of exposure that society has to the media, these definitions can be considered controlling images. The concept of controlling images refers to the power of the media and popular culture to direct our concepts of ourselves and others. It is meant to highlight the power of those running the media to shape our consciousness and self-concept. The images we see in the media are not just neutral, appearing without effect. The media is a source of authority in society, producing what you might think of as 'cultural narratives' -frameworks by which people come to understand themselves and their world (Andersen, 2006). Past feminist studies evaluating gender and the media have found that the media had a major influence on the continued influence of patriarchal views. There were three assumptions used within the work: "(1) that mass media imagery consists of unrealistic messages about women whose meanings are unambiguous and straightforward; (2) that 11


women (and men) passively and indiscriminately absorb these messages and meanings; and (3) that we as researchers have some privileged access whereby we can recognize and resist such images" (Fenton, 2000). Therefore, the media are considered to be producing unfavorable definitions of gender, specifically that of women. Sports and the Media Since the passage of Title IX almost forty years ago, the number of women participating in and watching sports has grown considerably. Even so, sports media has not kept up with this increase. Bartsch et al. (Bartsch, Burnett, Diller, and Rankin-Williams 2000) found evidence that the media have not kept up with the societal changes and that gender stereotypes within the media still exist. Thus, the stereotypes surrounding gender and sports have remained in place and hegemonic masculinity continues to be reinforced through most mainstream media outlets. Part of the issue surrounding the continuation of these gender biases in sport is the lack of coverage of women's sport by the media. Bernstein (2002) found that one central assumption made within research studies regarding the media is the concept of societal views about themselves, both personally and through the eyes of others, is influenced by the media. In addition, research by Messner et al. (Messner, Duncan, Cooky, 2003) shows that people rely on the media for so much information that if it is not covered in the media, it is almost like it did not happen at all. This is especially true with regards to women's sports. 12


Sport has been shown to be hegemonic in nature as has mass media. Within sport, the domination of male athletes has created "an atmosphere whereby athletics and masculinity have almost become synonymous" (Pedersen, 2003). This domination with sport is not pushed upon society through any type of force but just as a continuation of the status quo for so many years. When you combine sport and mass media, an even stronger hegemonic societal influence is created. One way in which the media help perpetuate the male dominance in sports is through portraying women athletes as "other'' athletes. Female athletes are often compared to male athletes by the media rather than considered for their own abilities, even within women's sports. Kian, Vincent, and Mondello (2008) found that the exception to sport coverage of women is for those women who are participating in sports that are identified as feminine. Labels of masculine or feminine have been attached to sports depending on the amount of contact within the sport. As such, some female athletes or teams are covered by the media if the sport they are playing is considered feminine. This is another message conveyed by the media: appropriate behavior (i.e. participation in gender appropriate sports) is rewarded with media coverage while the other non-gender appropriate sports do not receive attention. The media have the tendency to reinforce the stereotypes associated with sports. Previous studies (Creedon, 1998; Kane & Lenskyj, 1998; McKay, Messner, & Sabo, 2000; Sabo & Jansen, 1998 ) have illustrated the lack of coverage of women's sporting events in television and print media and how this deficiency affects the stereotypes of women in sports. 13


Male dominance in sport is perpetuated with the exclusion of women from sports media coverage. The media's marginalization and trivialization of women's sports along with just ignoring female athletes altogether reinforces the ideology of hegemonic masculinity within society (Messner, Duncan, and Jensen, 1993). Women's figure skating and tennis are two of the sports are covered by the media. Because both of these sports are considered feminine and are more likely to be covered by the media instead of more masculine defined sports with female athletes, the perceived differences between men's and women's sports are perpetuated. These are the sports with women athletes that people are able to view so it is assumed by the publfc that these are the sports available and appropriate for female participation. The lack of media coverage of other women's sports sends a message to society that those sports are not important and thus the athletes do not deserve any media coverage. In addition, the lack of media coverage perpetuates the vicious circle in which women's sports is currently stuck. The sports need coverage to help obtain a fan base and sponsorship, but coverage is not provided because there is not perceived interest by the community. Previous research (Bernstein 2002, Tuggle and Owen 1999, and Eastman and Billings 1999) found that when the media attempts to provide equal coverage for men's and women's sports, they still supply definitions of gender in which men and women are not equal. For instance, a study of NBC's coverage of the 1996 Olympics found that the network did provide equal coverage of events for men and women. However, as Bernstein (2002) 14


reported, women received more coverage of sports defined by society as feminine. They found that 61 percent of the coverage of women's sports was for swimming, diving, and gymnastics. This coverage by NBC helped solidify societal gender definitions by conveying that feminine sports are the ones that are important. A recent study that examined women athletes in Sports 1/fustrated and Sports Illustrated for Women found that women were portrayed as "powerful, strong, fit, and 'prowoman"' (Andersen, 2006). But as with the study of NBC's Olympic Coverage, Andersen found that the athletes used in the magazines were very attractive and the copy tended to emphasize the athlete's nurturing character and not necessarily their athletic ability. They are sending the message that it is appropriate for women to be powerful within sports, but they must also maintain their feminine role both in and outside of sports. A similar study of the cover photos used on the basketball media guides for NCAA found similar results. Universities tended to portray their women's basketball teams as more feminine in the media guides instead of showing off their athletic abilities. The photographs included in the media guides for the men's teams showed more action shots of the athletes, thus highlighting their athletic abilities (Buysse and Embser-Herbert, 2004). This was a somewhat surprising finding for the researchers as they believed that the NCAA would present a more equal representation of their athletes. More coverage of women's sports is not always positive if the message conveyed by the media is detrimental to women. The television industry has developed a specific audience for sports and they reinforce the socially constructed gender biases through their 15


sports programming. The media tend to not only devote more coverage to men's sports, but the language that they use within the media regarding the athletes also upholds gender stereotypes. Messner, Duncan, and Jensen's study (1993) identified some key terms used by the media to describe athletes. Many of the terms used by sports commentators for male players supported male power and dominance while power and dominance would probably not be used to describe a female athlete performing at the same level. Even when a male athlete made a mistake, the commentary about his actions was such that the male athlete still maintained his power. For example, male athletes are generally called men while female athletes are referred to as girls. In addition, male athletes are called by their last name more often while female athletes are called by their first name. While this may not be flagrant or offensive to some, this type of speech distinguishes between the two genders and gives power to the male athletes. While male athletes are described as strong, the image of female athletes is not the same. Their abilities are more likely to be trivialized within the media, some to the point that they are nothing more than a sex object; they are unfavorably compared to male athletes, or not acknowledging their abilities, accomplishments and/or skills (Kian, Vincent, and Mondello 2008). The media use both language and images to reinforce stereotypical images of females and female athletes. Female athletes are generally referred to as girls and by their first name while male athletes are referred to as men and addressed by their last name. Other differences in the descriptions of male and female athletes identified by Bernstein (2002) are that male athletes 16


are described in terms of strength and power and are linked with power metaphors while female athletes are described with ambivalent language and their appearance was emphasized instead of their athletic ability. The media tends to focus on a female athlete's sexualization which '1rivializes them and in fact robs female athletes of athletic legitimacy, thus preserving hegemonic masculinity'' (Bernstein, 2002). All of the ways in which the media treats athletes based on gender undermines women's involvement in sports and their athletic achievements while reinforcing gender biases. Many forms of mass media play a role in forming society's definition of gender roles. Television is included in this group and can have a visual and/or oral impact on viewers without the viewer being aware of the message that they are receiving. Gender stereotypes are not the only negative messages transmitted through the media. There are negative images of many different social groups that are viewed by society through the media and specifically on television. These negative images have the potential to influence television viewers and assist in their formation of negative images of members of these different groups without the viewers consciously knowing where these views were developed (Angelini, 2008). As previously mentioned, the lack of coverage of women's sports in the media sends a negative message. Angelini (2008) reports that women made up approximately 5 percent of total televised sports in the late 1990s. While this is not a large segment of the market, it is an improvement from 1992 when the amount of coverage of women's sports first surpassed the amount of coverage of sports featuring animals. It was also found that the quality in the production between men's and women's televised sports is different. For instance, there are 17


more cameras used and better production techniques during the men's games. Even the graphics displayed during the games are more attractive and more complete in the men's games compared to those displayed in the women's games. The increase of participation of female athletes and coverage of women's sports appears to be a positive move, but if the quality is inferior and the commentators discredit female athletes, this might not be as positive as first thought. The television industry manages what they broadcast and the message that is delivered to society. Messner, Duncan, and Cooky (2003) conducted a research study in 1990, 1994, and again in 2000 examining the quantity and quality of coverage of women's sports on broadcast television. Their research was based on previous research from the 1970s and 1980s that "revealed that women athletes (when they were reported on television at all) were likely to be overtly trivialized, infantilized, and sexualized." Even though participation in sports by women during that time increased, the amount of time dedicated to sportscasts only saw a slight increase. The media did not respond to the increased popularity by the population. Kian, Vincent, and Mondello (2008) also found that the amount of coverage of women's basketball has increased, however, '1he content of that coverage combined with that of men's basketball continues to strengthen a gender hierarchy in sport and trivializes women's sport and female athletes." More coverage by the media does not always equate to a better situation if the message being delivered contains negative stereotypes. Research by Billings, Halone, and Denham (2002) found that the type of commentary provided was different even between male and female sportscasters. The 18


research found that the male sportscasters tended to dominate the broadcast even in women's games. This was interpreted as the female commentators fulfilling a different gender role of listening to the male announcer or what was happening during the athletic event before interjecting their comments. There have been research studies not only on the coverage of men's and women's games but on how male and female fans watch sports on television as well. Gantz and Wenner (1995) found that both men and women were passionate and involved in viewing of sports on television. One difference identified between the two groups was the level of fan support. The research found that both the experience of watching televised sports runs about the same for male and female sports fans. It was found that gender and social constraints placed upon people were not an impact on the experience received by fans when watching televised sports. This runs counterintuitive to the idea that men are sports fans while women become the football widow during games. More importantly were the findings from Angelini's (2008) study in which participants self-reported their sports viewing preference along with testing the skin conductance while watching sports. The research found that both men and women enjoy watching male and female athletes even though they reported enjoying male based sports more on the self reported section. Angelini (2008) concluded that the results of the research "may lend credence to the idea of a response bias; individuals have been taught to believe that sports with male athletes are inherently more exciting and arousing." This study reinforces the 19


earlier findings by ESPN which showed that men and women of fans of both the NBA and the WNBA. Based on these societal biases, the television industry builds audiences for their programs in order to get viewers. The television industry did not increase their amount or quality of coverage of women's sports at the same rate that women's participation in sports grew. At best, televised sports has offered sporadic, token, and marginal coverage of women's sports, while continuing to aggressively build audiences for lavishly produced men's sports. At worst, television has simply ignored women's sports and continues to reinforce the myth that sport is an exclusively male realm (Messner, Duncan, and Cooky, 2003). A different study by Messner, Duncan, and Jensen (1993) found that audience building goes on throughout the basketball season for the men's NCAA Final Four but that same effort was not put into building an audience for the women's Final Four. During both the men's and women's basketball games, the men's championship game is referenced several times while the women's championship game is rarely mentioned, especially in men's games. By the time that March Madness arrives, fans view the men's championship as a "must see" event while the women's game is just another women's basketball game. There is no significance attached to the women's championship game. The women's game does not have the same history as the men's game so it may not receive the same pre-tournament hype. The men's tournament has been held for over 80 years while the first women's Championship .game was held in 1982. Even so, since the television industry manages the promotions leading up to the games, history should not have 20


as big of an impact. Part of the focus on the men's Championship game may be revenue based. The men's NCAA basketball tournament provides approximately 90 percent of the NCAA's total annual revenue (Kian, Veincent, and Mondello 2008). The men's tournament has not always had the large viewing audience that it currently is able to draw. The increase in audiences share is partially due to increased promotions by the network in order to create interest in the tournament. The same effort can be put into place for the women's tournament in order to increase the market share. The amount of women participating in sports as well as the number of women sports fans has increased over recent years. Even so, the way in which male and female athletes are portrayed in the media has not improved at the same rate as the changes in the industry have occurred. As such, there are still gender role expectations placed on the athletes by society. These are conveyed through the production quality, commentary, and pre-game promotions from the television industry. This type of coverage was identified to "preserve processes of hegemonic masculinity and financial gain for television networks, while preserving dominant power structures in collegiate athletics" (Billings, Halone, and Denham, 2002) Several research studies that focus on the media's coverage of NCAA basketball tournament found that the commentary within the broadcasts reinforced gender differences. The skills and accomplishments of the female athletes were trivialized while the athleticism of the male athletes was praised. (Kian, Mondello, and Vincent, 2009) Many times the gender of the announcer did not influence how the athletes were described. The gender of the 21


athlete was the influential factor as to how they were described and their accomplishments praised or diminished. Advertising Advertising is known for its framing of gender roles in such a way as to reinforce the traditional gender stereotypes within society. Depictions of males and females in advertising "shape societal values relative to appropriate gender roles, and the ways in which women and men are portrayed in advertising communities much about how they are perceived by society and themselves." (Cuneen and Sidwell, 1998) The gender biases found in advertising are the same that are found in the media and in sport. During the 1970s, the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) investigated how women were portrayed in advertising as a response to concerns that there was sexism in advertising. The NARB developed a set of guidelines to manage the language used in advertising. The following checklist was developed based on the findings of the investigation (Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999): Does my ad use belittling language? Does my ad make use of contemptuous phrases? Is there double entendre in my ads? Does my copy promise unrealistic psychological rewards for using the product? The problem is that the checklist was only a guideline and not a requirement for advertisers. As such, neither the American advertising industry nor the major television networks required use of the guidelines in their advertising (Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999). 22


Even so, some advertisers do not blatantly portray stereotypes within their advertisements but instead subtle hints. A study conducted a little over a decade ago found that "although media images do not actively or conspiratorially support sexism and racism, they nonetheless represent, reflect, or resonate with the cognitive dispositions of those who create them and believe such images will have some persuasive effect on those who view or read them" (Thomas and Treiber, 2000). Advertisers have a limited amount of time and space to create a message that the viewers will understand and retain. Using stereotypical images allows the advertiser to place more emphasis on their own message instead of explaining the characters roles. Advertisers use visual cues to associate their product with a certain social image and imply social rewards and a level of prestige to the consumer (Thomas and Treiber, 2000) As such, many use stereotypical images to assist in getting their message across. Several research studies have found that both men and women are more likely to be portrayed in stereotypical gender roles in television advertisements. Women are less likely to be seen in professional positions while men are less likely to be seen doing domestic work around the home. If the men are shown with the family, they tend to be engaged in stereotypically male tasks such as mowing the lawn or in a car (Andersen, 2006). Viewers can see a woman in the kitchen and understand the role she plays in the advertisements. Her role with the family does not have to be explained by the advertisers. They can focus on other messages associated with the product. 23


Not only are women portrayed in stereotypical roles in the advertisements, they are generally young and beautiful. No matter the product, advertisers chose to appeal to women by associating youth and beauty with their products rather than real life or any real business savvy (Thomas and Treiber, 2000). This seems to be the standard for women more so than men. They are more likely to be portrayed closer to a real-life character instead of a young, beautiful self. A study conducted by Artz, Munger, and Purdy (1999) found that the stereotypes in commercials were slowly being reduced. That trend has since turned and stereotypes are becoming more of the norm again. A review of the 1999 Super bowl ads showed that 30 years of the feminist movement meant nothing to Madison Avenue. "After three decades of gradually weaning itself from naked objectification, advertising has apparently decided that the benefit of crudely impressing men trumps the disadvantages of dishonoring women" (Artz, Munger, and Purdy 1999). It appears that companies attempted to change their behavior and provide advertising with fewer stereotypes. This change did not last too long and companies are reverting back to old behaviors of advertising their products and using gender stereotypes in their messages. Bartsch, et. al. (Bartsch, Burnett, Diller, and Rankin-Williams 2000) also found that stereotypes are still present in television commercials. Women are more likely to sell domestic products and men are more likely to sell non-domestic products. In addition, women are more likely to be shown as a subordinate to men or as a sex object rather than as an equal to men (Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999). The Bartsch, Burnett, Diller, and Rankin-24


Williams study found that gender bias in domestic product television commercials is more likely to occur now than it was 1 0 years ago. Stereotypes in television commercials can influence the viewing public and sway how they view gender roles. There also is a concern that the stereotypes illustrated in television commercials can have an influence on children and their sex role development. Exposure to the media influences cognitive development, socialization, and attitude formation and change of children (Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999). Advertisers are stuck in a perpetual loop, using gender stereotypes to help sell their products while promoting these stereotypical beliefs. The stereotypes become common place within society and those creating the advertisements in the future will grow up having learned these stereotypes through the advertisements. Stereotypes are continually used in television advertisements because of the limited amount of time that the advertisers have to attract the viewer and get their message across. Most commercials are 10, 30, or 60 seconds in length, although some advertisers are airing 15 second commercials as this seems to be the amount of time a viewer will focus on an advertisement. That is a very short amount of time to relay a message. Using stereotypes can assist in getting across the advertiser's message. "Longstanding stereotypes conjure up specific images and perceptions in the minds of consumers. As a result, advertisers may gravitate toward communicating a clear message about brand benefits at the expense of achieving gender-neutrality in language" (Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999). 25


The use of these stereotypes assist in creating an image for the advertiser, but at the same time they are sending the wrong message to the public. Martyna (1978) and Rubin, Greene and Schneider (1994) maintain that advertisers use everyday conversation in their advertisements to communicate with their audience at a level in which the audience recognizes. The informal language used everyday in conversation is more likely to be gender-biased. The advertisers need to communicate with their audience so they use these stereotypes to assist in hooking the viewer. As a result, they may choose to ignore gender neutrality language within the advertisement in order to communicate their sales pitch to the audience in a way that will hopefully increase sales, which is the reason they are running their ads (Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999) Sporting goods companies are beginning to advertise more to women because they are a growing market and are projected to continue to grow in the future (Cuneen and Sidwell, 1998). Since the sports industry has been dominated by males for so long, how these companies advertise to women may be a challenge. Research conducted in the 1970s showed that advertising for sporting good products contained gender stereotypes such as women participating in feminine sports such as golf and tennis instead of as competitive athletes. The breakout advertising campaign, "If You Let Me Play'' developed by Nike in the mid-1990s was considered one of the first campaigns to promote females as "real" athletes. The advertisements featured female athletes each telling the viewers that they can accomplish great things athletically "if you let me play." However, not everyone felt that the 26


campaign empowered women as athletes. One opponent of the ad campaign claimed that the message being sent was that women are victims and need to ask to participate in sport. They stated that Nike normalized '1he idea that girls need permission to play" (Cole, 2002) in this campaign. Other studies have found that mixed messages about gender are being sent in advertisements during women's sporting events. Wearden and Creedon (2002) conducted a content analysis of advertising during a select group of WNBA basketball games during the 1997 season. The images of women were generally non-sexist but there was still an emphasis on youth. However, there still were images of women used to convey conventional beauty and that these looks must be maintained by women. It is unknown how these mixed messages in advertising are being perceived by their audience. Does this shift in the images and gender messages sent in the television advertisements indicate a change? Most of the non-sexist images of women appeared in advertisements for sporting goods. This type of media images are sending a message that it is now acceptable for women to be strong and powerful, but that type of behavior must stay on the basketball court. When a woman playing basketball or any other sport, she must follow societal gender roles and maintain the status quo (Wearden and Creedon, 2002). Presenting sexist images in advertising during the WNBA games may undermine the positive images of powerful athletes set by the athletes in the game. Even though these are "just" advertisements, they can still convey a negative message to the public. ''This exposure to and personal experience with these cues instill 27


beliefs about how men and women should feel in certain situations, what their general appearance should be, and what is appropriate behavior; these ideas about what is appropriate behavior often contribute to how an individual behaves dues to a strong sex role identification and overall schema about how his or her own biological sex should behave" (Angelini, 2008). This is true whether it is an advertisement, a sporting event, television show or some other form of the media. The same stereotypical cues are picked up and processed by the viewer. 28


CHAPTER 3 HYPOTHESES In previous research studies, stereotypes represented in advertising through the use of language and images have been examined. There also have been studies conducted that looked at the language used women's during sporting events on television and the stereotypical messages that were presented. Finally, research studies of how female athletes and sports teams are represented in the media have been conducted in the past. Each of these types of studies examined stereotypes either in advertising or during women's sporting events. This study will fill a gap that is currently in the literature by combining advertising and sports to look at any differences in the degree of stereotypes in the advertising depending on if the advertisement was aired during a men's or a women's sporting event. The purpose of this research project is to examine gender stereotypes in advertising aired during sporting events. Based on previous research, it is proposed that gender stereotypes exist in advertising through all sporting events, but specifically more predominantly in advertisements aired during "male" sporting events. 1. Advertisements aired during sporting events featuring male athletes contain significantly more gender-biased language than advertisements aired during sporting events featuring female athletes. 29


2. Advertisements aired during sporting events featuring male athletes contain significantly more gender-biased images than advertisements aired during sporting events featuring female athletes. 30


CHAPTER 4 METHODS A content analysis of advertisements aired during the 2010 Men's and Women's NCAA semi-final and Championship basketball games was conducted. These games were selected because college basketball is one of the few sports in which a men's and women's championship game is played within the same time frame. The four teams in each the men's and women's tournament which make it to the final weekend of the tournament are called the Final Four. The six semi-final and championship games are played within a four day period. The two semi-final games are played on the same day with the championship game played two days later. Final Four weekend starts on Saturday evening and finishes up on Tuesday evening alternating each night between men's and women's games. The men's games were aired on CBS and the women's games were aired on ESPN. The date and time of the games are determined by the NCAA, but championship weekend is usually the first weekend in April. All six games were played during prime time television hours and aired live. Each game draws and audience of both a male and female viewers. According to Nielsen Media Research, the 2010 men's championship game on CBS had 48.1 million viewers for all or part of the game which was an increase of 17% from the previous year (}. The women's championship also recorded an increase in viewers over 2009. There were 3.5 million viewers for all or part of the women's championship game on ESPN between Connecticut and Stanford 31


( womens championship game/). That was an increase of 32% over the previous year. The variables used in this study are taken from two different studies. The primary set of variables was first developed by Artz and Munger (Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999) in 1996. These variables were refined and used in future studies examining oral and written advertising language by Artz and Munger. In addition, the product category variable was updated to include new categories identified after coding all advertisements in this study. The measures from the Artz and Munger study used are listed in Table 2. 32


Table 2 Variable measures from Artz and Munger Variables 1. Sex of target audience 5. Product type a. Male a. Consumer disposable b. Both b. Consumer durable c. Female c. Consumer service 2. Sex of product user d. Nonprofit a. Male e. Corporate institutional b. Both f. Public service c. Female g. Other 3. Gender-image of brand 6. Source of speech a. Masculine a. Off-camera announcer or b. Neutral narrator c. Feminine b. Character or spokesperson 4. Product category c. Combination of announcer, a. Food, snacks, soda narrator, character or b. Personal and beauty care spokesperson c. Automobile and accessories d. Singing d. Restaurants and retail outlets e. Other e. Drugs and medicines 7. Sex of primary speakers f. Household appliance, a. Male furnishings b. Both g. Institutional, public service c. Female h. Alcoholic beverages 8. Presence of gendered language i. Pet food and related products a. Gender -neutral j. Household cleaning agents b. Gender-specific k. Clothing c. Gender biased I. Finance and real estate 9. Presence of gendered images m. Recreations, sport, a. Gender-neutral entertainment b. Gender -specific n. Travel c. Gender biased 0. Others Source: Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999. The gender language variable defined by Artz and Munger (1999) has been used in her studies as well as many other research studies. Gender neutral language is thus defined as either having no reference to gender (someone) or it simultaneously refers to both 33


genders (men and women, his and hers). Gender specific language refers to one gender in a non-biased way. For example, a male character referred to 'he' is considered gender specific. Gender bias, on the other hand, can take a variety of forms in language. It may include language that excludes one gender (the average man instead of people), convey unsupported or biased connotations (referring to a doctor's wife instead of a doctor's spouse), or imply or contain irrelevant evaluation of gender (the little woman) (Artz, Munger, and Purdy, 1999). The language used in each advertisement can be categorized as gender neutral, gender-specific, or gender-biased. Gender neutral images can be defined as those in which there is no reference to any type of gender stereotype for a character, whether male or female. For example, in one advertisement there was a woman pushing a baby stroller followed by several other scenes with people in different roles. In the final scene, there is a shot of a man pushing a baby stroller. This advertisement was categorized as gender neutral with regard to the images. Gender specific characters may be portrayed in a way specific to their gender, but there is not a negative connotation associated with how they are portrayed. For example, a woman portrayed as a mother but without any negative stereotypes associated with her character would be considered gender specific. Advertisements with characters that are a stereotypical representation of someone of their gender would be recognized as gender bias. For example, in one advertisement there were scenes of three men and one woman watching basketball. The three men were rugged, outdoorsmen while the female was 34


walking in the park with cute, toy size dog. These are very stereotypical images being portrayed in advertisements. In addition to the variables from Artz and Munger's (1999) study, another variable used in this study is the Consciousness Scale of Sexism tool as it was modified by Bernstein (2002) and used in her 2002 study of the media coverage of women in sport. This variable uses a rating scale of 1 through 5 to test the amount of sexism towards females in each advertisement with female characters. The final set of variables used for this study is a group of descriptors for each commercial. These variables include: a. The length of each commercial. b. The game in which it was aired (men's or women's). c. The type of game (semi-final or championship). d. At what point in the game was the ad run (first half, half time, second half). The variables used in this study were selected after reviewing previous literature relevant to identifying gender roles in advertising. The variables developed by Artz and Munger (1999) were selected as it has been tested and their results reported in several different studies. Therefore, it is believed that these are a valid and reliable set of variables for use for this study. Public service announcements aired during the games were included in this study even though they have not been included in previous studies. In addition, other studies did 35


not include commercials for television shows or movies, but they will be included in this study as well. Both public service announcement and commercials for television shows and movies are attempting to capture the audience and are hoping for some type of response from the viewers. The audience is exposed to the advertisements and the messages associated with them which are why they were included in this study. Only commercials aired during approximately 12 hours of television programming across four days on two different channels were reviewed. These games were selected as there was the same number of games for both men and women that were played in the same time frame. There are not many sporting events for both male and female athletes that draw an audience similar to that for these games. In fact, there are not many televised sporting events in the United States, either on the professional or amateur level, in which both the men's and women's championship games are televised within a day of each other and which receive as much publicity as the NCAA basketball championship tournament. There were six games played on the final weekend for the men's and women's NCAA basketball championship, each approximately two hours in length. The two men's semi-final games were played on Saturday, April 3, 2010 and the championship game two days later on Monday, April 5, 2010. The women's semi-final games were played on Sunday, April 4, 2010 and the championship game on Tuesday, April 6, 2010. The six basketball games were recorded using Tivo and each game was copied to a separate DVR for future viewing. The advertisements aired between the tip-offs of each game until the 36


clock hit 0:00 at the end of each game, including those aired during the half-time show, were examined for this study. 37


CHAPTER 5 DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS The results of the coding include the total number of advertisements aired during each game, the target audience, sex of the end user, gender-image of the brand, source and sex of speech, the category of each advertisement, and language and image bias within each advertisement. In addition, descriptive information was collected for each advertisement including the length of the advertisement, in which game and at what point in the game it was aired. Pearson's chi-square analysis was conducted to test the two hypotheses and determine if there was a difference in the amount of image and language bias in the advertisements aired during men's and women's games. The chi-square test was selected as it is the best tool in which to test the two hypotheses against the data collected. A statistical comparison of both the language bias and image bias variables to the games in which they were aired was conducted using this tool. There were a total of 219 different advertisements aired during the six games, and Table 3 shows the number of advertisements aired during each game. Some advertisements were aired more than one time for a total of 421 instances of the advertisements aired during the six games. Almost twice as many advertisements were aired during the men's games than the women's games. There were approximately 50 advertisements aired during each of the women's games and close to 90 advertisements aired during each of the men's games. 38


The advertisements were aired at approximately the same time during each game. The NCAA enforces official timeouts throughout the basketball games. Each half is 20 minutes long and an official timeout is called after the 16:00, 12:00, 8:00, and 4:00 minute mark at the point of the first dead ball. Some of the differences between the number of advertisements aired in the men's and women's game occurred because there were approximately six advertisements aired during the official timeouts of the men's games while only four advertisements were aired during the official timeouts of the women's games. In addition, they were more likely to air one or two commercials during the other timeouts during the men's games while they were not as likely to break to a commercial during a non-official timeout in the women's games. Table 3 Number of ads aired during game Game Women's Men's First Semi-Final 52 (37.41%) 87 (62.59%) Second Semi-Final 51 (36.69%) 88 (63.31 %) Championship 53 (37.06%) 90 (62.94%) Total 156 (37.05%) 265 (62.95%) The games were viewed and one record was created for each advertisement aired, including the company, product name, product type, product category, length, and description were recorded for each of the separate advertisements. In addition, data items were 39


collected on which game the advertisement was aired, in which half of play, and the time left in the game. The content of each advertisement was then reviewed for the language and images used. Each advertisement was assigned a product category based on the categories provided by Artz and Munger (1999) as well as three new categories, Computers!fechnology, Television, and Movies, as shown in Table 4. These additional categories were identified and added after the initial advertisement review process. The Computers!fechnology advertisements accounted for approximately 5% of the advertisements aired during both the men's and women's games. Television programs and movie trailers were included in this study and were found to account for a large number of advertisements aired during both the men's and women's games. Mention by the game announcers of other network programs was not included as an advertisement in this study. Table 4 Number of ads aired during game by category category Men's Game Women's Game Automotive 45 (16.98%) 9 (5.77%) Beer 14 (5.28%) 1 (0.64%) Clothing 0 (0.00%) 0 (0.00%) Computers!f echnology 15 (5.66%) 6 (3.85%) Drugs and Medicine 4(1.51%) 0 (0.00%) Financial-Investment Services 22 (8.30%) 20 (12.82%) 40


Table 4 (cont'd) Category Men's Game Women's Game Food and Snacks 7 (2.64%) 1 (0.64%) Household Appliances/Furnishings 8 (3.02%) 0 (0.00%) Household Cleaning Agents 0 (0.00%) 0 (0.00%) Insurance 7 (2.64%) 14 (8.97%) Military Recruitment 1 (0.38%) 0 (0.00%) Movie 17 (6.42%) 3 (1.92%) Other 25 (9.43%) 31 (19.87%) Personal and Beauty Care 5 (1.89%) 1 (0.64%) Pet Food and Related Products 0 (0.00%) 0 (0.00%) Quick Service Restaurants 8 (3.02%) 4 (2.56%) Recreation/Entertainment 3 (1.13%) 5 (3.21%) Regular & Diet Soft Drinks 9 (3.40%) 7 (4.49%) Restaurant and Retail Outlets 23 (8.68%) 18 (11.54%) Sporting Footwear 2 (0.75%) 0 (0.00%) Television Program 41 (15.47%) 11 (7.05%) Travel 0 (0.00%) 9 (5.77%) Wireless Telephone Services 9 (3.40%) 16 (10.26%) 41


Approximately four in ten of the advertisements aired during the men's games were for Automobiles or Automobile Products (16.98%), Television Programs (15.47%), or Restaurant and Retail Outlets (8.68%). While three new categories were created during the review process, there were still almost one in five advertisements (19.87%) categorized as Other during the women's games and one in ten (9.43%) during the men's games that did not fit into any of the defined categories nor were there enough advertisements of one type to create a new category. Some of the advertisements considered "Other'' include those for education services and law firms. There were no advertisements in three different categories originally used by Artz and Munger that were not aired during the NCAA basketball championship games. Those categories include clothing, household cleaning agents, and pet food and related products. In addition, only one military recruitment advertisement was aired during a men's game. It was somewhat surprising that there were no advertisements that could be categorized under any of those three categories aired during the basketball games. The other interesting result was that there more personal and beauty care products aired during the men's games (1.89%) compared to the number aired during the women's games (0.64%). The advertisements were specific to the games so those aired during the men's basketball games were directed toward male customers and those aired during the women's games were directed toward women. Language and image bias was found in several of the advertisements aired during both the men's and the women's games (see Table 5). In fact, just over one-half (51.32%) of the advertisements aired during the men's games contained some form of image bias while 42


less than one-third (32.69%) of the advertisements aired during the women's games contained image bias. Language bias within the advertisements was less likely to occur with around 5% of the advertisements aired during both the men's and the women's games containing some type of language bias. Table 5 Number of advertisements aired during games with image bias and/or language bias Ads with Image Ads with Ads with Image & Bias Language Bias Language Bias Men's Games 136 (51.32%) 15 (5.66%) 8 (3.02%) Women's Games 51 (32.69%) 9 (5.77%) 1 (0.64%) Total 187 (44.42%) 24 (5.70%) 9(2.14%) The Pearson's chi-square analysis was conducted to test the first hypothesis. H1: Advertisements aired during sporting events featuring male athletes contain significantly more gender-biased language than advertisements aired during sporting events featuring female athletes. The results revealed that the there was no significant language bias in the advertisements aired during both the men's and the women's games (n=421, p = .233). When one examines the total number of advertisements with language bias (Table 6), a little over 5% of all advertisements in both the men's and women's games that contained some type of language bias whereas almost eight in ten of the advertisements aired contained gender neutral language. 43


Table 6 Number of advertisements aired during games with language bias Language Gender Neutral Gender Specific Gender Bias Men's Games 205 (77.36%) 45 (16.98%) 15 (5.66%) Women's Games 130 (83.33%) 17 (10.90%) 9 (5.77%) Total 335 (79.57%) 62 (14.73%) 24 (5.70%) Pearson Chi-Square = 2.91 0, df = 2, p = .233 Although there was not a significant difference of gender language bias between the men's and women's games, a significant difference was identified between the gender of the speaker in the advertisement and the games (n=421, p = .000), as shown in Table 7. Advertisements with no speaker did have music in the background. If there were vocals in the music, the gender of the vocalist(s) was not recorded and the advertisement was coded as having neither a male or female speaker. The number of advertisements with a male speaker as well as the number with no speaker remains about the same during both set of games. The difference is in the number of advertisements with females speakers. Less than 5% of all advertisements aired during the men's games had only female speakers whereas over 25% of the advertisements aired during the women's games had only female speakers. This is an interesting discovery since male voices are more common in advertising, as Wearden and Creeden (2002) found. Their study of advertising in the United States, Australia, and Mexico found that male voices were much more prevalent in advertising. This 44


difference might be specific to advertising during sporting events with female athletes as their study examined advertising in general. Table 7 Speaker gender in advertisements Gender of the Speaker Both Male& Male Female Female No Speaker Men's Games 173 (65.28%) 5 (1.89%) 74 (27.92%) 13 (4.91%) Women's Games 96 (61.54%) 31 (27.56%) 24 (15.38%) 5 (3.20%) Total 269 (63.90%) 36 (8.55%) 98 (23.28%) 18 (4.27%) Pearson Chi-Square= 44.657, df=3, p = .000 The Pearson Chi-Square analysis was also conducted on the Gender Image and Game variables to test the second hypothesis: H1: Advertisements aired during sporting events featuring male athletes contain significantly more gender-biased images than advertisements aired during sporting events featuring female athletes. The results of the analysis reveals that there are significantly more advertisements aired during the men's games with gender bias images than during the women's games (n=421, p = .000) which supports the second hypothesis. When looking at the distribution of advertisements aired during the basketball games seen in Table 8, there were approximately the same number of gender neutral advertisements aired during both the men's and women's 45


games. The difference appears to be between the number of advertisements with gender bias images and gender specific images. Table 8 Number of advertisements aired during games with image bias Image Gender Neutral Gender Specific Gender Bias Men's Games 101 (38.11 %) 28 (10.57%) 136 (51.32%) Women's Games 62 (39.74%) 43 (27.56%) 51 (32.69%) Total 163 (38.72%) 71 (16.86%) 187 (44.42%) Pearson Chi-Square = 24.562, df = 2, p = .000 A new, dichotomous gender image variable was created (Gender Neutral and Gender Specific, and Gender Bias) to examine if there is gender bias vs. no gender bias rather than looking at the three categories. The chi-square analysis again shows that there are significantly more advertisements aired during the men's games with gender bias images than during the women's games (n=421, p = .000). As Table 9 shows, about one-half of the advertisements aired during the men's games contain gender bias images while only one-third of the advertisements aired during the women's games contain gender image bias. Overall, over four in ten advertisements (44.42%) aired during the men's and women's NCAA basketball championship games contain gender image bias. 46


Table 9 Number of advertisements aired during games with image bias (dichotomous) Image Gender Neutral or Specific Men's Games 129 (48.68%) Women's Games 105 (67.31%) Total 234 (55.58%) Pearson Chi-Square = 13.802, df = 1, p = .000 47 ..Gender Bias 136 (51.32%) 51 (32.69%) 187 (44.42%)


CHAPTER& DISCUSSION It has been almost forty years since Title IX was passed giving women more opportunities in high school and college sports and exposing women to the industry of sport in general. Since that time, the number of females participating in high school sports has increased to almost the same number of male participating in high school sports. Women have grown up participating in and watching sports on television and in person as well. Women also are a lucrative market for the purchase of sports clothing and equipment. Even so, advertisers still treat women as second class citizens in advertising aired during some sporting events. The media also has not kept up with the changes in the industry by continuing to not cover women's sports or by portraying female athletes as second class citizens when they do report about their events. It is true that the media has made some changes in how they present females and female athletes over the past 50 years, but these changes have not been at the same rate as the changes of female participation. There is still a sense of hegemonic masculinity within the sports industry and this is continually reinforced by the media and through advertising, especially through advertisements aired during sporting events. This reinforces the feminist theorists' view that gender is socially constructed. Sports are identified as masculine or feminine and this definition is usually based on the amount of contact within the sport. Women who participate in those sports deemed masculine are not always thought of in a positive manner those who 48


excel are accused of being a lesbian. At the same time, males who participate in feminine sports are often called a fairy or a homosexual. For these reasons, younger athletes do not continue participation within a sport that they may love because of the societal stigmas in place. Increased acceptance of participation in these so called masculine and feminine sports might assist society's perception about gender roles. However, the media and its coverage of sports also have an impact on these perceived roles and the media still report in ways to reinforce these roles. The literature reviewed showed that the fan base for men's and women's basketball is large, especially for the NCAA Championship Tournament and the final game. There were 48.1 million viewers for the men's championship game and 3.5 million for the women's. The ESPN study also showed that there are large percentages of male and female fans for both the men's and women's basketball games. The fan base for basketball is not based solely on the gender of the athletes. There is a market of both genders who follow and watch the men's and the women's NCAA basketball tournament. Not only do the media report more on men's sports, they are more likely to promote a men's event over a women's event. Because men's sports receive more attention through advertising and on the news, it is only understandable that the networks sell and air more advertising during the men's NCAA basketball games. A pattern of the number of advertisements aired during the NCAA basketball championship games during the final weekend was found in this study. There were approximately 50 advertisements aired during each of the women's games that weekend while there were almost 90 during each of the 49


men's games. There are a few reasons this could have happened. First, the men's games were aired on CBS while the women's were aired on ESPN. Many of the advertisements aired during the men's games were for other television shows on CBS. This was an opportunity for the network to tap into a large audience to attract viewers to their other television programs. In addition, the history of the NCAA men's basketball tournament and the large audience provides CBS with the opportunity to increase revenues by selling more advertising time. There were six to seven advertisements during each official time-out during the men's game and three to four during the official time-outs during the women's games. In addition, CBS would air one or two commercials during other timeouts while ESPN did not cut away to commercial during the intermittent time-outs. While there were about the same number of commercial breaks during each game, the additional advertisements aired during the official timeouts as well as cutting away to a commercial during the other timeouts accounts for the additional advertisements aired during the men's games. In all, there were 219 advertisements, aired a total of 421 times, analyzed for this study. Previous research as well as this study has shown that less gender stereotypes are presented through the language of the advertisements. In this study it was found that most of the gender stereotypes in advertising come across through the images used. CBS was by far the largest sponsor with the most advertisements run during the games, and all of their advertisements were aired during the men's games. The advertisements for CBS were promoting their regular television shows, most of which were police dramas. In all of the commercials, the male police officers were shown in chase scenes with the "bad guy" and 50


performing stunts. None of the female characters shown were in any action shots even though most were also police officers. Some of the female characters were even portrayed as needing help from the male characters. This was similar to what was found in the movie trailers that were aired during the games. Most were action movies with shots of men in action shots and soft shots of women. However, for those movie trailers that were aired during both the men's and the women's games, there were differences in the advertisements that were aired. The movie trailer for ''The Back-Up Plan" was shown during both the men's and women's basketball games, but it was a different advertisement aired during the different games. During the men's games, the trailer contained scenes from the movie that showed stereotypical male behavior. The trailer seen during the women's games portrayed the female character as a woman who, although she has made the decision to be a single parent, still needs a man in order to survive. Both advertisements portrayed gender roles in very stereotypical ways, but which scenes were selected and in which game they were aired was stereotypical in nature. The largest corporate sponsors outside of CBS were Capital One, AT&T, and Coca Cola. Capital One had two advertisements that were aired during both the men's and the women's games. Both of these advertisements contained gender bias and were very masculine in nature. The main characters in the advertisements are Vikings and they use their Capital One rewards to go on vacation. There were only male characters in both advertisements until the end in which two women dressed as sex symbols are shown and category. At least one of these two advertisements was aired during each commercial break 51


in the men's games. These advertisements contained some of the more flagrant gender bias images and the advertisements were aired several times, thus reinforcing the message. However, Capital One did create some advertisements aired only during the women's games. In these advertisements, the company showed '11ashback moments" in which they told of successes in history on the basketball court by different women's basketball teams or players. The advertisements focused on how women were strong and successful on the basketball court. The images of women playing basketball and the ad copy with these advertisements discussed how either a team or an individual female athlete excelled during a previous NCAA tournament. None of these advertisements were aired during any of the men's games. While the analysis did not find a significant difference in the language used in advertisements aired during the men's and women's basketball games, there were differences in the gender of the voices within the advertising. This could be a result of there being only female characters in the advertisements aired during the women's game or there may have been more female voice announcers. In addition, there was a difference in the tone of the speech and the background music. During many of the television and movie advertisements, there was loud and/or fast music playing in the background. This hard sound is very masculine and sets a masculine tone to the advertisements regardless of the language or images used. Most of the advertisements that used this tactic were aired during the men's game, again reinforcing masculinity and the power of men. 52


One of the advertisers during the women's games was DeVry Institute's Graduate School of Business. Their advertisements were an example of some of the issues identified when grouping a company's advertisements together rather than viewing them individually. DeVry aired two different advertisements; one with a female student and female professor, the second had one male student. The copy and images used in the advertisement with the female student tells us that the female student needs assistance from her professor to be successful in graduate business school. In the advertisement with the male student, he is presented with several different doors to walk through and he makes the choice by himself and is successful based on his own actions. There are implications about gender roles in these advertisements when viewed separately, but when aired during the same game, they reinforce the idea the women need assistance in upper class education while men are decision makers and can be successful based on their own actions. The research showed that women are a major player in the sports industry, yet there were no advertisements for sports clothing or equipment aired during the women's games. There was one advertisement aired twice during the men's games and it was for athletic shoes targeted toward the male market with images of a hyper-masculine male performing with almost super human strength. Either the advertisers did not believe that they could capture the right market by advertising during the tournament games or they do not believe that women really are as big a part of the market as was shown. Another advertiser during both the men's and women's games whose advertisements contained a lot of gender bias was the NCAA. This was surprising 53


considering they represent our collegiate system. But as Buysse and Embser-Herbert (2004) found in their study, the basketball media guides produced at the universities contained gender bias in how the male and female athletes were portrayed in the photographs in the guides. There are no known guidelines set by the NCAA to not project these stereotypical images in their products. The NCAA aired several advertisements during both the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournament games. In these advertisements, the message of the advertisements was that there are a lot of college athletes, both male and female, who play at the collegiate level but they will go on to non-sports careers after they graduate. The emphasis was that these athletes are receiving a good education while having the chance to play sports. But the other message that was delivered in these advertisements is that only male football and basketball players will have professional sports careers and the female athletes and males who play feminine sports will make a living in another way. This conveys the message that only these two sports are worthy of discussion at a professional level even though there are professional men's soccer teams and professional tennis players; two examples that were used in the advertisements. There were no football or basketball players shown going into a career other than sports. While gender bias was identified in the advertising aired during the men's and women's basketball games, some advertisers are more blatant in the presentation of these stereotypical gender roles and masculinity than other advertisers. For instance, the advertisement for Old Spice Body Wash contained a character who was hyper-masculine. He represented the body wash and worked at fighting off odors. Some of the automobile 54


advertisers were not as obvious in depicting gender roles in their advertising. More automobile advertisements aired during the men's basketball games discussed the performance of the vehicle; its speed, power, and handling. Most of these advertisements did not show a male or female character, but there was a definite masculine tone to the advertisements. For the automobile advertisements that contained a male or female character, there was a definite difference in how they portrayed those characters. The male characters were smart because the car they bought was an excellent financial decision. Women characters, on the other hand, were portrayed to be interested in the accessories and some were portrayed as uninformed because they did not know that cars came with a specific accessory now. Similar to the Nike advertisement study conducted by Cole, on the surface these advertisements appear to show women in a positive light because they are the decision makers regarding a vehicle. However, what they really say is that women only purchase cars based on accessories and they are not informed on the current accessories. 55


CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS Societal changes have taken place over the last forty years that has seen an increase in participation in sports by women. As of three years ago, the number of females participating in sports was almost equal to the number of male participants. Even though these changes have taken place, advertisers have not kept up with them. Research over the last twenty years found that there is gender bias in language and images found in different aspects of sports and the media as well as in advertising and there does not appear to be a change happening like in the industry itself. Gender bias in advertising aired during both men's and women's basketball games was examined to determine if there any differences between the language and images in the advertisements. One limitation related to this study is that only commercials aired during approximately 12 hours of television programming across four days on two different channels were reviewed. However, the study will illustrate differences in advertising aired during college basketball games featuring male and female athletes. There are not many sporting events for both men and women that draw an audience similar to these two programs. In fact, there are not many televised sporting events in which both the men's and women's championship games are televised at the same time or within a day of each other that receive this much publicity as the NCAA basketball championship tournament. 56


Not having a second coder to review all of the advertisements in addition to a third coder to settle any disagreements is another limitation of this study. There is the potential for differences in interpretation of gender neutral, gender specific and gender bias by the coder depending on what was seen in the advertisement. The definitions for this variable as well as the other variables used were well defined and tested in previous studies, but there was no inter-rater reliability used in this study. This study has shown that language bias is not prevalent in advertising but that there is still gender image bias in advertising aired during sporting events. While it is significantly more prevalent in sporting events featuring male athletes, it is not non-existent from those sporting events featuring female athletes. In some instances, companies aired the same advertisements in both the men's and women's games. Some of those advertisements contained gender neutral images and language while others contain gender bias. However, there were some companies that did air different commercials during the men's and the women's games. Although not part of this study, similar advertisements for CBS programs have been watched. A quick view of the advertisements showed that the gender images portrayed in those advertisements did not contain as many bias images as those aired during the basketball games. Further research should be conducted on network advertising during sporting events and outside of sporting events and compare the gender messages. It appears that the network, in this case, produced advertisements containing more biased 57


gender images in order to attract the basketball audience. There are ways to attract viewers without including stereotypical images and sending biased gender messages. 58






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