Under the Radar

The main concern over the actual number of male characters versus the number of female characters has been seen time and time again in regards to children advertisements. The traits of men and women determine the rule book of gender stereotypes within these advertisements. Males are most typically animals, adults and active. Females are children, adolescents, human and submissive. In most studies with regards to advertisements, the number of men most often outnumber the number of females within advertisements as a whole. This outnumbering occurs in almost every other study on the characters presented in advertisements toward children. The traits that are most commonly factored when discussing the habits found in these characters are gender, species, age, and activity level. It appears that the most seemingly benign venues of advertisements are leaking with stereotypes.

Common first thoughts on media venues lead to ideas such as commercials, television, movies, and video games. Yet, every day children are looking and interpreting much more than what they will find on their television show. It is surprising how easily advertising sneaks into the lives of children, and with that we can only expect to find the gender stereotypes. Venues that typically remain under the radar, such as cereal boxes, must also be viewed under a critical eye. If we want to examine how gender is portrayed and infiltrated into the media that will be consumed by the attention of young eyes, we must look at everything and examine these media types with concerns as to how children interpret such gender stereotypes.

Cereal boxes are not necessarily reviewed as advertisement, but we cannot dismiss the packaging as only a cardboard box which holds our favorite sugary cereal. One can only agree on remembering the days spent sitting at the kitchen table, staring intently at the box of cereal as spoonfuls of Fruit Loops or Coco Puffs were shoveled into our young, little mouths. Perhaps without realizing it, we as children interpreted the images on the box into gender stereotypes.

In one study, after examining a large sample size of cereal boxes in regards to the gender, species, age and activity level of the characters presented on the box, It was found that male characters outnumbered the female characters. Results from this study also lead to the conclusion that males are portrayed more as men and animals while females are more likely to be presented as children or adolescents. (Black.) Of course, this is something that has been seen time and time again.

Work Cited:

Black, Katherine. "Gender and Form of Cereal Box Characters: Different Medium, Same Disparity.." Sex Roles. 60.12 (2009): 882-89. Print.