Performing on the Screen: An Exploration of Gender Representation in Technology Video Advertisements

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Persaud, Subriena
Gender; marketing; technology; advertisements; content analysis
thesis / dissertation description
This study investigates the representation of gender in technology-related video advertisements. This thesis quantitatively and qualitatively examined 54 of the most recent commercials by the top nine Fortune 500 technology companies. A total of 407 characters were coded and quantitatively analyzed while the videos themselves were qualitatively assessed with particular attention given to the videos' themes and the interactions between the characters and the technology products and services. Results of the analyses showed that there were more male, Caucasian characters than any other character type based on gender and race/ethnicity. Females were mainly characterized according to traditional stereotypes, such as being linked to the home and expressing emotions. On the other hand, males were most often presented outdoors and conveyed confidence. Overall, the advertisements targeted upper class, Caucasian males while technology itself was associated with power, speed, and progress. These findings have important implications for understanding the persistence of gender inequality in the field of technology and in existing cultural beliefs surrounding gender and technology.