Portrayals of women in prime time reality TV programs

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2006-01-01
Authors
Martinez-Sheperd, Ivonne
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Reality shows are among the most exciting and successful forms of TV program today. The different styles and format of these shows have favorably positioned them in the network markets, generating high ratings and large profits. Because they have been tremendously popular TV fare, how do they portray females and minority women? Do they, as past studies have found, depict women negatively and in largely domestic roles?;This study aims to determine the extent to which women were shown and how they were portrayed in reality TV shows. It examined the content of a census of reality shows aired from June to July 2006 shown on primetime on the four major networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. The results indicate that in terms of roles, attitudes, behavior and appearance, women were portrayed positively. They were also often depicted as the winners or victors in these shows. The females in the reality shows examined were mainly career professionals and were less likely to be featured in domestic roles. Although the proportion of minority females in these shows was still low, minority females were portrayed as enjoying the same benefits and opportunities as Caucasian females.

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Journalism and mass communication
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