10 Ways Television Has Changed the Way We Talk


Sexist Language

For decades, television has been the domain of white males, and women are sometime unfairly stereotyped [source: Gebhardt and Harless]. For example, during a segment of "Fox and Friends," the male host called women politicians irrational; while on another Fox News segment titled "Mom Caves," the male host said "didn't men give you the kitchen?" [source: Workforce of Women].

Experts say the use of sexist language in television newscasts classifies women as immature, frivolous and incompetent. One study found that when a news story referred to a woman as a "girl," males rated that story higher than if the anchor referred to the female as a "woman." However, the opposite was true for female test subjects, who gave the story a high rating when the female was referred to as a "woman" [source: Gebhardt and Harless].

Sexist language is mostly apparent during televised sporting events. One study in Los Angeles found that sportscasters referred to women athletes 31 times by their first name, compared with 19 times for the men. The sportscasters never referred to white male players by their first name, only black male players [source: LA 84 Foundation].

The study also found that baseball telecasts featured crowd shots of women in bikinis. The implication here is that televised sports events have sexist overtones in pictures and in language. Women were presented "humorously "as sexual objects, while the men were framed as masculine [source: LA 84 Foundation].