The Impact of Single Women in Situation Comedies 
on College Male's Perceptions of Women.
Mei-Ling I. Sarin
Western Connecticut State University

This study investigated the impact of single women in top-rated situation 
comedies on college male's perceptions of real-life single women.  George 
Gerbner's Cultivation Theory was applied to see if resonance and 
mainstreaming effected the subject's perceptions of single and real-life  
television women.  70 male college students between the ages of 18-23 
completed a survey that consisted of rating primary single female 
characters and an "average single female" using a Likert Scale.  The 
characters and the "average single female" were rated on 9 
characteristics including:  independence, power, femininity, motivation, 
attractiveness, maturity, intelligence, assertiveness, and self-esteem.  
The results indicated that there was a general correlation between the 
perceived characteristics of the television and real-life women.  
Resonance was not supported because the more popular characters were 
not rated closely to the average single female. Mainstreaming did occur 
because the more "status quo" characters were rated closer to the average 
single female.

Literature Review

	Gender studies in media covers a wide and significant area in the 
ommunications field.  A very powerful part of media is the television.  
here is a color television in 99% of American homes, with the average 
ousehold watching 6 hours and 53 minutes of television per day  (Monush, 
995, p. 20A).  With television being so prevalent in our lives, it is crucial 
hat we examine the images we get exposed to on a daily basis.  
The subject of the representation of women on television is an 
mportant area to study, because in our society, television plays a 
onsiderable role in the socialization of sex roles (Signorelli, 1989).   
ngham (1995) has stated: "Television is regarded by many as the most 
real' form of media.  If this is the case, it is important for us to question 
ow real the representations of women are on television and how this 
ffects the attitudes of those who watch".  This study looked for the 
nswer to the question:  To what extent do college male's perceptions of 
ingle women match the images represented on current situation 
College males make an interesting population to study.  One would 
ssume that being in an academic environment would foster and promote 
ealthy ideas on the role of women in society.  Living on a college campus 
xposes one to a wide range of ideas on the role of women in society, with 
any of them unfortunately being degrading and demeaning to women.   
ith this inconsistency in ideas, there must be other factors that affect 
hese perceptions.  Perhaps television could be a factor.
As a communications researcher, one begins to wonder to what 
xtent have the media played in the development of these perceptions of 
omen.   How real are these representations of women supposed to be?  
arren Littlefield, president of NBC entertainment has stated: "We don't 
ant a gap between the characters on TV and people in the real world  
identification is very important for TV success.  We like to reflect 
hat's going on in society, and even be a little ahead of it"  (Schwarzbaum, 
995, p.3).   As a television viewer, one can witness many gaps between 
he characters on television and real life women. 
While there have been studies on the portrayal and images of women 
n advertising (Kolbe & Langefeld 1993;  Ferrante, Haynes, & Kingsley, 
993),in music television (Sommers-Flanagan, Sommers-Flanagan, & 
avis, 1993), and in dramas (Meehan, 1983;  Lichter, Lichter, & Rothman, 
991), few have looked specifically into situation comedies.   Currently,  
ituation comedies are important to study, because they are capturing the 
atings on television with the success of such top ten shows as: Seinfeld, 
riends, Roseanne, Caroline in the City, and Grace Under Fire.   On all these 
hows, women are playing roles that are supposed to represent real life 
omen.   When it comes to comedy though, often the characters play 
xaggerated stereotypical characters for comedic effect.  An example of 
his would be the "dumb blond" character Christina Applegate plays on the 
how Married With Children.   Often the humor in comedy comes from gross 
tereotypes or generalities made towards an individual or group.  One can 
rgue that humor is only to be taken lightly, but underneath the layer of 
umor lies many of the hidden beliefs and ideas a society.  If humor 
ncovers some amount of truth about the way society views women, it is a 
ubject worth studying.
Historically, single women have broken into the television world 
hrough sitcom comedy.  The Mary Tyler Moore Show , which made its 
ebut on CBS in 1970 (Brooks & Marsh,  1992), was the first series to 
ocus extensively in a single professional female without marriage plans 
Brown, 1991).  Shows prior to that have included single females, but the 
ajority were widowed or divorced.  Since then, there have been over 100 
eries that have addressed single women (Atkin, 1991).  Though the 
umber has grown, it is important to look at the representation of single 
omen in addition to the number represented on the air.
	It might be assumed that current television series are changing with 
he times, moving away from the stereotypes because of the advancement 
f women through the years.  Unfortunately, because much of comedy's 
ppeal is extreme characterization and stereotyping, the stereotyping 
rend still exists (Butsch, 1992).  For example, there are many racial 
tereotypes presented on television.  In Douglas's article, "Sitcom Women:  
e've Come a Long Way. Maybe" (1995), stereotypes and uneven 
epresentation of women are discussed.  Even though the fall 1995 
elevision season presented more primary female characters in sitcoms, 
hey are primarily white.  In addition, most shows are segregated, not 
aving different races working or living together.  
Some other gender research related to this study has involved 
elevision studies that explored audience perceptions of the traits of 
omen on television (Atwood, Zahn, & Webber, 1986).  A study done by 
twood, Zahn, & Webber (1986) found that when describing 
haracteristics of television characters, negative or positive correlations 
ould change depending on the gender of the character.  In 3/4 of the 
ubjects, when female characters held the stereotypical and "traditional" 
oles,  they were viewed negatively.  With stereotypes being so common on 
itcom shows, there may be a prevalence in negative correlations with the 
emale characters. 
Zemach and Cohen conducted a study which examined the differential 
erceptions of men and women as they appear on television.  To study 
erception, they used the phenomenological approach to study the social 
onstruction of reality.  This approach suggests that there are three types 
f reality: a) objective social reality, which is experienced as the world 
xisting outside the individual and regarded as fact; b) symbolic reality, 
hich consists of all forms of symbolic expression such as art, literature, 
nd the contents of electronic media; and c) subjective social reality, 
hich is the realm where the objective and symbolic realities converge in 
he process of the formation of one's own personal identity.  	Zemach and 
ohen's (1986) study attempted to show that  individuals can distinguish 
etween the objective and symbolic reality to varying degrees, depending 
n how much television they have watched.  The study used Gerbner's 
ultivation Theory to demonstrate that heavier television viewers are 
ore likely to perceive the portrayal of women on television as more 
imilar to reality.  To study the role in which television plays in college 
ale's perceptions of single women, this study will also use Gerbner's 
George Gerbner's Cultivation Theory
	According to Gerbner's Cultivation Theory (Griffin, 1994),  the more 
 viewer watches television, the more he/she will start to form 
xpectations about reality based on the represented world, rather than the 
xperienced world.  Gerbner's main use of Cultivation Theory is to 
emonstrate the link between communication media and violence. "He 
elieves that the violence one sees on the screen cultivates a social 
aranoia that resists notions of trustworthy people or safe environments" 
Griffin, 1994, p. 334).  Instead of researching violence, this study
ooks at single female representation, to see what sort of perceptions it 
Gerbner has two explanations for how cultivation takes place-
ainstreaming and resonance.  Gerbner refers to the process of 
ainstreaming as "blurring, bending, and blending".  Through the constant 
xposure to the same images, beliefs, and labels on television, one's own 
utlook blurs and becomes common with those who watch television.  
ince the creators of television want to attract the largest audience 
ossible, it presents the moderate view or the mainstream, in addition to 
upporting the status quo.  Gerbner has found that 50 percent of the people 
n television are white, middle-class males, and that women are 
utnumbered by men 3 to 1  (Griffin, 1994, p. 346).  This mainstream 
epresentation leaves out a large part of the viewing audience.
Resonance is the other way in which cultivation takes place.
his occurs when a symbolic portrayal is repeated on a regular basis, and 
n turn, the viewer replays real-life experience in his/her mind over and 
ver again.  This conditioning reinforces the viewer's experiences, even if 
he viewer's experiences have occurred to a lesser extent.  Gerbner's 
elevision and violence studies tried to show that many people's real-life 
iolent experiences were amplified by watching violent acts on television 
aily basis.  In regards to single females on television, being exposed to a 
tereotypical or traditional character on a daily basis may amplify certain 
ypes of perceptions of real-life women.  
This study uses Cultivation Theory to examine the perceptions that 
ollege males have of females- fictional and real.  By taking into account 
he process of mainstreaming and resonance, it explores the possible 
onnections between social reality and symbolic reality.

	For this study a survey was used to collect data. It was an effective 
ay to gather information from a large group and organize the data in an 
rderly way.  The survey also made it possible to collect a large amount of 
ata in a short period of time.  The subjects involved were college males 
etween the ages of 18-24.  The college males surveyed were students at 
estern Connecticut State University.   Both commuter and hall residents 
ere surveyed for the project. The researcher found subjects in the 
esident halls and dining areas on campus.  
The survey was 5 pages in total, including the consent form (see 
ppendix).  The survey basically consisted of rating 9 chosen 
haracteristics of single female characters on situation comedy shows, 
hen rating "average single female" using the same set of characteristics.    
The television shows that were used were the five situation 
omedies rated in the top ten in the Neilsen Television Ratings as of March 
0, 1996.  These shows included:  
"Grace Under Fire"	ABC 	Wednesday	@ 9:00 PM
Caroline in the City"	NBC	Thursday 	@ 9:30 PM
Friends"			NBC	Thursday	@ 8:00 PM
Seinfeld"			NBC	Thursday 	@ 9:00 PM
Roseanne"			ABC	Tuesday	@ 8:00 PM	
	The Neilsen top rated comedy shows were used for this study 
ecause the rating system is supposed to be representative of what 
merica is watching.  Therefore, it should also be representative of what 
ollege males are watching since they are part of this culture.
For each of these shows, the primary female character/s were rated.  
here were eight all together.  They were:
"Grace Under Fire"	Grace
Caroline in the City"	Caroline and Annie
Friends"			Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe
Seinfeld"			Elaine
Roseanne"			Darlene
	The measure that was used was a Likert Scale.  A Likert Scale rates 
tems using a scale that ranges between 1-5.  In this particular study, 
ach of the numbers represented a degree to which the characteristic was 
isplayed by the character or real life single female.  The numbers were 
epresented as the following: 
	1 = high
2 = medium high
3 = average
4 = medium low
5 = low
The characteristics chosen for the rating of the characters were 
aken from a brain-stormed list made by the researcher.  The list was 
arrowed down to 9 characteristics.  They included a wide range of 
haracteristics that could be representative of a single female.  The 
haracteristics were:  independence, power, femininity, motivation, 
ttractiveness, maturity, intelligence, assertiveness, and self-esteem.  
The first part of the survey included information about the subject.  
he subject first had to indicate his age and whether he lived in the 
esidence halls or commuted.  Age was important because it was 
ecessary to keep the age to a certain range, since the study was geared 
oward those who were of typical college age.  The age range used for this 
tudy was between 18-24 years of age.  The housing status of the student 
as also taken into consideration, just in case there might have been 
ifferences in viewing habits between the commuters and hall residents. 
fter the subject gave statistical information on the top, he moved on to 
he instructions and then rated the characters he was familiar with.  
inally, he rated an "average single female" on the same 9 characteristics.
The purpose of the survey was to give a standard measure for what 
he subject considered an "average single female".  Once the subject had 
one that, it would provide the researcher with something to compare the 
elevision characters to, to see if there were perceived similarities 
etween the  average single female and the sitcom characters.  Since the 
ame characteristics were used for the characters and the ASF (average 
ingle female), it would be easy to compare and contrast how the subjects 
elt about each. 
	The total number of surveys passed out was 70.  Out of the 70 
urveys, 68 were returned and a total number of 62 were usable.  Out of 
he total population, 4 were commuter students and 58 lived in the 
esident halls.  The ages of the usable surveys ranged between 18-23 and 
roke down into the following:
		AGE (years)	# OF SURVEYS
	18			 7
	19			24
	20			12
	21			14
	22			 4
	23			 1
				62 SURVEYS

Once the surveys were completed, each survey was individually 
oded on the bottom left hand corner.  They were coded by the age of the 
ubject and a number was given to distinguish between the different 
ame-aged subjects. This was done because the researcher was going to 
eparate the pages of the survey in order to make recording of the 
nformation quicker.  The surveys would be coded in case they needed to be 
The researcher first recorded the number of subjects familiar with 
ach character and with the ASF (average single female).  
Character		# familiar 		% familiar
laine			58			96.6 %
arlene			55  			91.6 %
hoebe			37			61.6 %
race			34			56.6 %
achel 			34			56.6 %
onica			34			56.6 %
aroline		16			26.6 %
nnie			 9			15   %
SF			58			96.6 %
For each sitcom character and the ASF, the averages were tabulated 
or each characteristic by adding the rating numbers (which ranged 
etween 1-5 ) from the surveys and dividing by the number of subjects 
amiliar with the character.  
 Once that was completed, the averages were figured out for each 
haracteristic, if all the characters were to be represented by one 
haracter (ex. average independence for all characters, average power for 
ll characters, etc. . . .).  This was done by adding all the character's 
verages for each individual characteristic and dividing by the number 8 
the number of characters).  This is represented by "ACR1" (average 
haracteristic rating).
An average character number was tabulated by adding all 8 
haracteristic averages for each individual character and dividing by 8.  
his number represented by "ACR2" (average character rating).  It 
epresented the character's overall rating.
Once the average of ACR1 and the average of ACR2 were tabulated, 
hey were added together and divided by 2 to get "ACR3"  which 
epresented the overall average character's, average characteristic 
Result Chart
	Grace	CarolineAnnie	Monica	Rachel	Phoebe	Elaine	Darlene	ACR 1	ASF	
ndep.	1.38	1.75	1.77	2.2	2.35	2.59	1.58	1.74	1.7	2.29	
ower	1.67	2.31	2.55	2.67	2.58	3.05	2.13	2.01	2.1	2.37	
emin.	2.94	1.81	2.22	1.58	1.47	1.94	1.72	3.61	1.92	2.05	
ot.	1.91	2.12	3.22	2.5	2.67	2.7	1.86	2.98	2.21	2.2	
ttra.	3.05	1.56	1.77	1.47	1.35	2.16	1.72	3.23	1.81	2.36	
atu.	2.2	2.43	3.44	2.64	2.64	3.29	2.17	2.9	2.41	2.41	
ntel.	2.2	2.12	3.33	2.5	2.61	3.7	1.81	2.27	2.28	2.12	
sser.	1.64	2.75	2.55	2.52	2.52	2.91	1.81	2.3	2.11	2.56	
elf	2.05	2.75	2.77	2.5	2.32	2.83	2.1	2.98	2.25	2.72	
CR 2	2.12	2.17	2.62	2.28	2.27	2.79	1.88	2.66	2.08 
CR 3	2.34	

indep.= independence, femin.= femininity, power= power, mot.= motivation, attra.= attractiveness, 
atu.= maturity, intel.= intelligence, asser.= assertiveness, self.= self-esteem

ating Scale Used On Survey  (1=high, 2=medium high, 3=average, 4=medium low, 5=low).
CR 1=Average Characteristic Rating,     ACR 2=Average Character Rating,     ACR 3=Overall 
haracter/Characteristic Average

The ratings for the ASF ranged from 2.72 (self-esteem) to 2.05 
femininity).  The overall average of all the characteristics for the ASF 
as 2.34, which was rated lower than the overall ACR 3 (2.08) for all of 
he sitcom characters averaged together.  When looking at individual 
haracter's ACR 2, Grace, Caroline, Monica, and Elaine rated higher than 
he ASF, while Annie, Phoebe, and Darlene rated below the ASF.
For the individual characteristics, most of the characters rated 
igher on the ACR 1 than the ASF.  The sitcom women were rated higher on 
ower, femininity, intelligence, self-esteem, and were rated significantly 
igher on independence and attractiveness.  The ACR 1 for maturity (2.41) 
as the same for the characters and the ASF, and the ACR 1 for 
otivation was practically the same for both groups (characters 2.21, ASF 
.20).  The only characteristic that the characters rated lower on was 
ntelligence.  Overall though, the difference in the scores were not that 
ignificant (biggest difference of 0.59 rating points), therefore there was 
 moderate similarity between the characteristics of the ASF and the 
itcom women.  
In regards to the similarity of characteristics between the 
haracters and the ASF, the results showed that the ASF was most 
imilarly rated to the character Caroline from Caroline in the City.  The 
ndividual character ratings were closest between Caroline and the ASF 
ith power, motivation, maturity, intelligence, and self-esteem (5 out of 
he 8 characteristics).  The ASF's independence rating was the closest to 
onica and the ASF's femininity and attractiveness ratings were closest 
o Phoebe.  When looking at the overall ACR 2, Monica's average was closet 
o that of the ASF.
When comparing the number of subjects familiar with the character 
o the ACR 2, there seemed to have been a slight positive correlation 
etween the two figures.  The character most familiar to the subjects, 
laine, rated highest in ACR 2.  The character least familiar to the 
ubjects, Annie, rated low (but not the lowest).
Age of the character was also taken into consideration when 
abulating the results to see if there were any correlation's between age 
nd characteristic rating patterns.  The researcher listed all 8 characters 
n order of perceived  age.  The actual ages of the characters were not 
nown at the time of the survey, and the order may  be slightly off.  The 
ge order of the characters were listed as the following (going from 
ldest to youngest):
race, Elaine, Caroline, Annie, the 3 characters from Friends  around the 
ame age (Monica, Rachel, Phoebe), and Darlene.
Correlation's were found with several characteristics.  With 
ndependence, power, and assertiveness, the older the characters were, 
he higher they were rated on these characteristics.  The exception in the 
ge rating was Darlene.  In all three categories, she was rated higher than 
any characters older than she.  

ignificant Results Summary

When looking at the ACR 3, and the average single female's overall 
verage, the television character is rated slightly higher, but still close 
o the ASF.  Both the ASF and the ACR 3 have the 2 (medium high) rating 
nd differ only by 0.26 points.  This shows that there was a similar rating 
ith between the ASF and the ACR 3.  These particular statistics 
emonstrate that in a broad sense, the ASF and "average" sitcom woman 
ere perceived as closely characterized.
When examining ACR 1 (average characteristic rating) numbers, they 
aried from characteristic to characteristic.  In general, the sitcom 
haracters were rated slightly (but not significantly) higher than the ASF.  
he exceptions were with intelligence, which had a higher ASF rating, and 
ith maturity and motivation, which had an equal rating.  Here again, 
here is a general similarity.
The ACR 1, ACR 2 , and ACR 3 are averages of characteristic and 
haracter ratings, which deals with the statistics on a very broad level.  
he purpose of the averages was to get a general sense of sitcom 
haracter representation.   When looking at these results in a very general 
evel, there is a closeness in ratings to the ASF.  The results vary though, 
hen looking at the individual characters.  In the discussion section, there 
s a more in-depth examination of individual character patterns, which 
an offer different explanations for varied character results.		

	Using cultivation analysis, one might assume that the more subjects 
ere familiar with a particular character, the closer her ratings would be 
o the average single female.  This comes from the idea of resonance. The 
ore a person is exposed to a symbol, the more the viewer plays his/her 
eal-life experience back in his/her mind and amplifies the experience.  In 
his study the "real-life experience" of the female is represented by the 
SF's averages.  Therefore, the most familiar character should have 
atings closest to that of the ASF.
In the case of this study, the character that was the most familiar 
o the subjects was Elaine from Seinfeld.  When comparing her averages to 
hat of the ASF, there is a wide difference between some of Elaine's 
ndividual characteristics and the ASF's characteristics.  For example, 
etween Elaine's and the ASF's independence rating, there is a .55 
ifference in score, which is significant for this particular study.  On the 
ther hand, when looking at individual statistics there was an 
nconsistency.   Caroline, who had 5  (out of 8)  closest characteristic 
atings to that of the ASF, was rated only 5th most familiar.  These 
ndividual character statistics do not support the idea of resonance, for 
he more familiar character's ratings were not closer to the ASF's ratings. 
The show's ratings (which would be another factor in determining 
amiliarity), were also taken into consideration to examine resonance.  At 
he time of the study, Seinfeld  was rated higher than Caroline in the City 
n Neilsen Ratings, therefore if more people were being exposed to Elaine's 
haracter, then Elaine's scores should have matched the ASF's more than 
aroline.  This was not the case.  Caroline was rated closer to the ASF.
The reason why resonance was not supported, may have had to do 
ith another factor that was not addressed by the survey; characteristic 
ikability.  The researcher approached this study with the assumption that 
he characteristics listed on the survey were positive characteristics for 
 female to have.  When the subjects rated the characters, they did not 
ave to indicate if being rated highly signified a positive/negative 
haracteristic.  For example, a subject may have rated a character highly  
n a characteristic (for example power), but not have thought of it as a 
ositive thing.  In turn, this could have affected the character rating by 
iving her a lower rating even though she was highly deemed (or vice 
On the other hand, with the subject of likability, the researcher also 
ound certain patterns in the surveys that may have suggested that the 
ore the subject liked a character, the higher the overall score for the 
haracter would be.  The researcher observed on several occasions with 
he female cast of Friends, subjects making verbal comments such as 
Wow, Monica is hot" then circling all 1's on the survey.  The same also 
appened in reverse with Darlene from Roseanne.  Two subjects verbally 
eferred to her as unattractive and then circled all 4's and 5's for her 
In regards to mainstreaming, it appeared that the characters who 
ere more "status quo" were rated closed to the ASF.  One example of this 
ould be Caroline from Caroline in the City.  Her character rated closest 
o the ASF, when looking at the individual characteristic ratings.  Her 
haracter on the show is a very middle-of the-road character (for a  
ingle woman on television).  She is a white, upper-middle class, thin, not 
oo tall, working woman.   Her scores reflected that the subjects also 
onsider her the "average single female" on television.  It is interesting 
hat in comparison to Caroline, Annie's scores contrast significantly more 
o the ASF's, yet they are on the same show.  
When conducting this survey, the researcher tried to get an idea of 
hat the subject thought of as the mainstream, by having him rate an 
hat he considered to be an "average single female".  Using this term on 
he survey, though did provide some problems.  Two subjects indicated 
hat they thought that rating the "average single female" was a trick 
uestion, since a rating of 3 on this Likert Scale equaled average.  And two 
ther subjects simply could not answer the question, they thought the 
erm "average single female" was too vague.  It was difficult to  use this 
erm, because the researcher realized that it was vague, but this was done 
urposely, not to lead the subjects toward a particular association with 
n ASF.
In addition, the researcher discovered that in general, everyone was 
ated fairly high.  On individual surveys, some characters and the ASF 
ere rated with 4's and 5's, but when averaged out, the range for the 
haracters in the survey was between  2.79-1.87. This meant that the 
haracteristics were on the medium high to high range. 
The study's results generally showed the male's perceptions of 
itcom women come close to their perceptions of real life women, but 
hen looking at individual character, there was a great variance.  This had 
o do with the fact that the characters ranged in age, class, personality, 
nd in other ways which offered a variety of women to rate.  They ranged 
rom  divorced mothers (Grace) to trendy college grads (the characters 
rom Friends), but top shows did not include any non-white primary 
emale characters.  One of the subjects wrote on the bottom of his survey 
what about African -American women?"  The lack of non-white 
epresentation in the top rated shows is clear in this study.   
Since the results were that of averages and were carried out to the 
undredth of a degree, the difference may have been accentuated.  If whole 
umbers were used (by rounding off averages), even less of a difference 
ould have been presented (but would have been less accurate).  The 
ifference in characteristics in many cases were to such a small degree, 
ven though the original rating scale dealt only in whole numbers.  There 
ere whole number equivalents to the original rating system, but for 
ecimals, there was no word equivalent.  For example, 1 = high and 
 = medium high, but what does 1.38 equal?  This was a problem for the 
esearcher.  Even the though the Likert Scale is a quick way to get general 
mpressions, it is limiting in several ways; it only offers five distinct 
egrees of rating (with no gray areas) and with averages, one can carry 
ut the ratings to decimal amounts, but there is no definite word 
quivalent for that fraction of a rating.
Cultivation theory suggests that television is the mainstream 
Griffin, 1994), which further suggests that television may be the cause 
r control of what the mainstream is.  One critique of this theory is that 
t draws too much from the idea that correlation equals causality.  
elevision in opposition may actually reflect  what society is.  The 
roducers of television (usually) live in American society, so perhaps they 
re reflecting the world which they are experiencing.  Another critique of 
elevision being the mainstream leads back to the idea that in sitcom 
elevision grossly exaggerates and stereotypes people for comedic effect.  
t may be presenting the world with a "slap-stick" version of females. 
Since there were so many different factors used in this study, there 
re many different possibilities for expansions of it.  One possibility 
ould be to look at other types of television shows like dramas or non-
iction television (news) to see if the results are similar to this study.  
he shows used could also include ones that have non-white primary 
haracters to see if there is a difference in the rating.  Married female 
haracters could also be used to see if they are viewed differently than 
ingle female characters.
Other possibilities would include surveying different populations to 
ee what effect different backgrounds have on the results.  Other 
rospective subjects include: women, non-college educated subjects, non-
ollege aged subjects, and subjects of different specified races.
If this study were to be reconducted, one suggestion might be to use 
n one characteristic as opposed to 9 for a more focused study. Any one of 
he characteristics would make a good subject to study.  Another 
uggestion might be to alter the term "average single female" to be less 
Hopefully this particular study will help people gain insight into 
hat extent television plays in the development of our social and 
ymbolic realities.  If there are in fact connections between television 
iewing and the shaping of one's realities, then it is imperative to 
uestion the accuracy of the images that bombard the viewer on a daily 
asis.  With comedy shows being watched by so many,  we must heed the 
arning:  "While we're laughing, we're also sensing that we're going to pay 
or this not too far down the road"  (Douglas, 1995, p. 78).

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	Douglas,  S.  (1995) .  Sitcom women:  we're come a long way.  maybe.
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	Ferrante,  C. L. ,  Haynes,  A. M. ,  &  Kingsley,  S. M.  (1988) .  Image 
f woman in television advertising.  Journal of Broadcasting and 
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ork,  NY:  McGraw-Hill Inc.

Ingham,  H.  (1995) .  The portrayal of women in television.  The 
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	Kolbe,  R. H. , &  Langefeld,  C. D.  (1993) .  Appraising gender  role 
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	Lichter,  R. S. ,  Lichter,  L. S. ,  &  Rothman,  S.  (1991) .  Watching 
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	Meehan,  D. M.  (1983) .  Ladies of the Evening: Women Characters of 
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edia.  30,  427-444.

ppendix I

                Western Connecticut State University
                          Danbury, CT
                          Informed Consent

Please be assured that any information that you will provide will be 
eld in strict confidence by the researchers.  At no time will your name be 
eported along with your responses.  All data will be reported in group 
orm only.  At the conclusion of the study, upon your request, you will 
eceive a report of the results.
	Please understand that your participation in this research is totally 
oluntary, and you are free to withdraw at any time during this study 
ithout penalty and to remove any data that you may have contributed.

igned_________________________________ Date___________
roject Director_________________________________________

								Page 2
What is your age?     _____
Circle one:
 am:         a)  a commuter student      or      b)  a resident in the halls

ou will be asked to rate 8 different female characters from current 
ituation comedy television shows on different characteristics.  The 
ating scale ranges from 1-5.  
1 = high
 = medium high
 = average
 = medium average
 = low
Only rate the characters you are familiar with.   If you are familiar with 
he character, circle "yes" and rate the character.  Circle the number that 
orresponds to the degree in which you think the character displays each 
haracteristic using the scale above.  If you are not familiar with the 
haracter, circle "no" and move on to the next character.  The instructions 
re the same for all 8 characters.
For the last question of the survey, you will be asked to rate what you 
onsider to be an "average single female" on the same set of 

(1 = high,  2 = medium high,  3 = average,  4 = medium low,  5 = low)
1.  	character:  Grace			
television show:	"Grace Under Fire"
are you familiar with this character?	yes	no
independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
2.	character:  Caroline
television show:  "Caroline in the City"
are you familiar with this character?  	yes 	no		   
	independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
3.	character:	Annie
television show:  "Caroline in the City"
are you familiar with this character?	yes	no
	independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
1 = high,  2 = medium high,  3 = average,  4 = medium low,  5 = low)
4.	character:	Monica
television show:	"Friends"
are you familiar with this character?	yes	no
	independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
5.	character:	Rachel
television show:	"Friends"
are you familiar with this character?	yes	no
	independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
6.	character:	Phoebe
television show:	"Friends"
are you familiar with this character?	yes	no
	independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
1 = high,  2 = medium high,  3 = average,  4 = medium low,  5 = low)

.	character:	Elaine
television show:	"Seinfeld"
are you familiar with this character?	yes	no
	independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
8.	character:	Darlene
television show:	"Roseanne"
are you familiar with this character?	yes	no
	independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
.	average single female
	independence	1   2   3   4   5
power		1   2   3   4   5
femininity	1   2   3   4   5
motivation	1   2   3   4   5
attractiveness	1   2   3   4   5
maturity	1   2   3   4   5
intelligence	1   2   3   4   5
assertiveness	1   2   3   4   5
self-esteem	1   2   3   4   5
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