Gender and race stereotypes in advertisements in Science, 2004-2006 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/f7623h747

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  • This study documents the occurrence of stereotypical representations of gender, race, and other characteristics in individuals that appear in advertisements in the prestigious academic journal Science. It repeats and expands upon a study conducted by Mary Barbercheck (2001) that analyzed advertisements in Science between 1995 and 1997. In this study, advertisements larger than one third of a page that contained a human figure (N=1809) were analyzed in terms of perceived race, gender, occupation, and social characteristics of the individuals shown in all 154 issues of Science published from 2004 through 2006. Relevant occupation and social characteristics of the individuals were identified; specifically it was noted if the individuals appeared to be a scientist, a scientific hero or expert, an athlete, a "nerd" or nonconformist, or a caregiver of a child. Additionally, the use of the words simple/easy and efficient/fast/reliable/accurate in these advertisements was tracked. Every appropriate advertisement was included in the analysis each time it appeared, which allowed a complete and thorough examination of the trends reveled in the advertisements. These data were contrasted with Barbercheck's 1995 through 1997 data in order to reveal how the use of stereotypes in advertisements in Science has changed since the late 1990s. Analyses indicate that scientific advertisements increasingly portray a diverse population. However, social stereotypes and historical dominance of the sciences by certain social groups within the United States continue to be represented in these advertisements, emphasizing how social and cultural norms significantly inform and reflect the manner in which scientific advertisements are composed.
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