The Role of Television Commercials in Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes

1. Introduction

Television advertisements are one of the most common forms of media that people are exposed to on a daily basis. According to a study done by the Nielson Company, the average person in the United States watches about four hours of television each day, with commercials making up a significant portion of that time. Given the large amount of time that people spend watching television, it is not surprising that commercials have a significant impact on our perceptions of gender.

In general, commercials are designed to sell products by appealing to our desires and aspirations. In order to do this, they often rely on stereotypes, both positive and negative, about gender roles. These stereotypes can be harmful, as they reinforce traditional ideas about what is appropriate for each gender, and can limit our ability to see beyond these narrow definitions.

2. The perpetuation of traditional gender roles in television commercials

One of the most common ways that gender stereotypes are perpetuated in television commercials is through the use of gendered advertising. This is when products are marketed specifically to either men or women, often using stereotypical images and ideas about each gender. For example, cars are often advertised as being tough and powerful, appealing to traditional ideas about masculinity. Meanwhile, cleaning products are often advertised as being gentle and nurturing, appealing to traditional ideas about femininity.

Advertisers do not want to shift from gendered advertising because they would not want to upset the status quo in the society as their products aimed at a target market. This means that commercials often perpetuate traditional ideas about gender roles.

3. The impact of commercials on children’s development

Children are especially susceptible to the messages contained in commercials because they are still in the process of developing their sense of self and their place in the world. When they see commercials that reinforce traditional ideas about gender roles, they may internalize these ideas and begin to believe that they are true. This can lead to problems later in life, as children who have internalized these ideas may have difficulty thinking outside of them when they encounter situations that do not fit within these narrow definitions.

4. The reinforcement of stereotypes in other programming

In addition to commercials, there are other forms of television programming that also reinforce gender stereotypes. Prime-time television shows and daytime soap operas often portray women as being interested primarily in relationships and domestic tasks, while men are portrayed as being interested primarily in work and sports. Sports programs also tend to reinforce traditional ideas about gender roles, with women often being shown as less competent than men and only interested in looks or dating potential athletes.

5. Conclusion

Television advertisements play a significant role in reinforcing gender stereotypes. These stereotypes can be harmful, as they limit our ability to see beyond traditional ideas about what is appropriate for each gender. They can also impact children’s development, as they may internalize these messages and believe them to be true. In order to challenge these harmful stereotypes, it is important to be aware of how they are used in television commercials and other programming


Gender stereotypes are perpetuated through television by having different genders be portrayed as doing different things. For example, men are often shown as being the breadwinners and women are often shown as being homemakers. This can impact viewers, particularly children and adolescents, because they may start to believe that these roles are the only ones that men and women can have.

There may be some positive aspects to stereotypical portrayals of gender on TV. For example, it may help viewers understand the roles that men and women typically play in society. However, these portrayals can also reinforce negative stereotypes about gender roles.

If the industry were to move away from these stereotypes, it would present challenges for producers, writers, and actors/actresses. These challenges could include coming up with new ideas for storylines and characters that do not rely on traditional gender roles.

It is important to consider the impact that television has on viewers when thinking about gender stereotypes. Television can be a powerful tool for perpetuating or challenging these stereotypes.

Stereotypical portrayals of gender on TV can have a number of negative impacts on viewers, particularly children and adolescents. These stereotypes can limit viewers' perceptions of what is possible or acceptable for their own gender, and they can also lead to bullying and discrimination.