A study by US-based media and entertainment company A&E Networks has found that 44% of American women don’t see themselves adequately depicted in TV shows, movies and advertising.
The study of 6,837 women across the US found white American conservative women feel most under-represented by media. In conjunction with an analysis of 440 advertisements, the survey found that 247 ads represented females in ‘traditional roles’.
While both conservative and liberal respondents agreed on the definition of a strong woman as “being able to stand up for yourself and others, first and foremost”, respondents were divided on how they should be portrayed by the media. Conservative women said they want to see more female figures in situations that involve interacting with men, women in traditionally female roles, and women who appear happy with their lives.
Those who identified as conservative were also more likely to be turned off by ads that showed women in traditionally male roles, or women with so-called “male attributes”, such as occupying dominant positions of authority. Liberal women, meanwhile, said they would prefer to see more LGBT representations, ethnic diversity, and women in situations without men.
Political views shape women’s receptivity to advertising more than age, race or ethnicity, said Marcela Tabares, senior vice-president of strategic insights and ad sales at A&E Networks. “Women want to see a shift in gender roles in subtler ways. When representing feminism in advertising, they don’t want to be told what they should believe or embrace.”