Gender and Form of Cereal Box Characters: Different Medium, Same Disparity

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Abstract

We investigated the extent to which male characters outnumber female characters on cereal boxes, and the extent to which male and female characters are portrayed in gender stereotypical ways. Cereal boxes (N=217) from a large grocery store in the northeastern United States were examined. Characters on the front and back of the boxes were coded for gender, species (person, animal, object), age (child/adolescent, adult), and activity level (passive/sedentary, active). Male characters outnumbered female characters by more than 2 to 1. Female characters were more likely than male characters to be depicted as people and as children/adolescents, whereas male characters were more likely than female characters to be portrayed as animals and as adults. Suggestions for further research are discussed.

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