ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

The comparison of six Spanish television dramas has enabled us to analyse the role of women in these fictional products. In the series analysed there is a persistence of males playing the leading roles, as well as a reiteration of female stereotypes. In the case of the Catalan television dramas on TVC (El cor de la ciutat, Ventdelplà and Infidels) a more positive treatment of femininity could be observed in the series dealing with social customs. In the Basque productions on EITB (Goenkale, Martin and Mi querido Klikowsky) there is a perpetuation of the cliché of the Basque woman as being strong and capable of managing her home and family, as well as of her feelings.
COMMUNICATION & SOCIETY
COMUNICACIÓN Y SOCIEDAD
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679767
©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedadISSN02140039
E ISSN 2174-0895
www.unav.es/fcom/comunicacionysociedad/en/
www.comunicacionysociedad.com
COMMUNICATION&SOCIETY/
COMUNICACIÓN Y SOCIEDAD
Vol.XXVIN.32013pp.6797

The Representation of Women’s Roles in Television Series in Spain.
Analysis of the Basque and Catalan Cases
La imagen de la mujer en series de televisión españolas. Análisis de los
casos Vasco y Catalán
ANNA TOUS-ROVIROSA, KOLDO MESO AYERDI, NURIA SIMELIO SOLA.
anna.tous@uab.cat, koldo.meso@ehu.es, nuria.simelio.sola@uab.cat.
Anna Tous-Rovirosa. Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Faculty of
Communication Sciences. Journalism and Communication Sciences Department. 08193
Bellaterra (Spain).
Koldo Meso Ayerdi. Basque Country University. Faculty of Social Sciences and
Communication. Journalism II Department. 48940m Leioa (Spain).
Nuria Simelio Sola. Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Journalism and
Communication Sciences Department. 08193 Bellaterra (Spain).
Submitted:April11,2013
Approved:May4,2013
ABSTRACT: The comparison of six Spanish television dramas has enabled us to
analyse the role of women in these fictional products. In the series analysed there is
a persistence of males playing the leading roles, as well as a reiteration of female
stereotypes. In the case of the Catalan television dramas on TVC (El cor de la
ciutat, Ventdelplà and Infidels) a more positive treatment of femininity could be
observed in the series dealing with social customs. In the Basque productions on
EITB (Goenkale, Martin and Mi querido Klikowsky) there is a perpetuation of the
How to cite this article:
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI,
K., SIMELIO SOLA, N., “The
Representation of Women’s Roles in
Television Series in Spain. Analysis of the
Basque and Catalan Cases”,
Communication&Society/Comunicación y
Sociedad, Vol. 26, n. 3, 2013, pp. 67-97.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679768
cliché of the Basque woman as being strong and capable of managing her home
and family, as well as of her feelings.
RESUMEN: La comparación de seis dramas televisivos españoles nos ha permitido
analizar la imagen de la mujer en estos productos de ficción. En las series analizadas
se observa una persistencia de la imagen del hombre en los papeles principales, así
como un mantenimiento de los estereotipos femeninos. En el caso de los programas
catalanes de TVC (El cor de la ciutat, Ventdelplà e Infidels) constatamos un mejor
tratamiento de la imagen de la mujer en los productos costumbristas. En los
programas vascos de la EITB (Goenkale, Martin y Mi querido Klikowsky)
observamos una perpetuación del cliché de la mujer vasca fuerte y capaz de gestionar
su casa, su familia y sus sentimientos.
Key words: Television series, gender, social representation, fiction.
Palabras clave: series de televisión, género, representación social, ficción.
1. Introduction
The purpose of this research1 is to make a comparative analyse of the point to which
Catalan and Basque soap operas and television series reproduce dominant social
models, and whether these respond to the desired equality between men and women or
if there is a persistence of models characteristic of machismo. The Catalain productions
El cor de la ciutat [The Heart of the City], Ventdelplà [the name of a fictitious village]
and Infidels [Unfaithful] and the Basque productions Goenkale [the name of a fictitious
village], Martin [Martin] and Mi querido Klikowsky [My Dear Klikowsky] are analysed
during the 2009 season. As a starting point the importance of television fiction is
considered; this occupies second place (31.4%) after news programs (38%) in the
television genres in the state sphere. As a contextual element, consideration is also
given to the languages and the migratory phenomenon in the autonomous communities
of the TV fiction analysed.
The Spanish state is made up of 17 autonomous communities, of which Catalonia and
the Basque Country are two that have the greatest history and identitarian character.
Both are considered “historical nationalities” of the Spanish territory and have their own
languages (Catalan and the Basque language, Euskera). The respective television
corporations are: in the Catalan case Televisió de Catalunya (TVC –Television of
Catalonia, which includes the channels TV3, Canal 33, 3/24, Esport 3, Canal Súper 3),
which broadcasts integrally in Catalan; and in the Basque case Euskal Irrati Telebista
(EITB –Basque Radio Television, which includes ETB 1, 2, 3, Canal Vasco, ETB Sat
and Betizu), whose broadcasts employ both Spanish and Euskera. Both television
corporations were pioneers in Spain as autonomous networks, as they were the first to

1 This article results from the research project “Gizona eta emakuneen irudia Euskal Herriko eta
Kataluniako telesailetan eta beren web orriak” (24/2009PRO), funded by Emakunde-Instituto Vasco de la
Mujer [Basque Woman’s Institute] and carried out by the researchers Koldo Meso (IP) and María
Ganzabal (Universidad del País Vasco); Anna Tous and Nuria Simelio (Universidad Autónoma de
Barcelona). The authors gratefully acknowledge senior lecturer Maria Ganzábal her contributions to the
paper and to the research.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679769
receive broadcasting licences, in 1983 and 1982 respectively. EITB and TVC were also
the first producers of soap operas in the Spanish state, with Goenkale (ETB1: 1994- ),
which is still broadcast today, and Poblenou (TV3: 1994), the first in a long list of soap
operas and series on Catalan television –more than 76 to date2.
2. Television contexts
El cor de la ciutat [The Heart of the City] (TV3, 2000-2009) is the longest running soap
opera in Catalan serial production. Broadcast daily in the early afternoon, its audience
varied significantly over its nine broadcast seasons (from 45% in the third season to
25.6% in the eighth3), as well as in the composition of its settings (the Barcelona
neighbourhoods of Sant Andreu and Sants) and characters. The soap opera presents an
ensemble of protagonists with multiple ramifications and relationships. Because of its
proximate, realist, family and serial character, involving an ensemble of characters and
dealing with social customs and the everyday life of several families in two Barcelona
neighbourhoods, this long-running serial can be compared to East-Enders (BBC1:
1985- ) and Coronation Street (Granada, 1960- ).
Ventdelplà [the name of a fictitious village] (TV3, 2005-2010) is a serialised series,
produced by Diagonal TV, which was broadcast two consecutive days per week, at
prime time. It is an open serial dealing with social customs, set in a small rural Catalan
village. Since January 2010 it has been broadcast on Bulgarian television with the name
Вятър от долината (a literal translation of Ventdelplà). In 2006, the same producer,
Diagonal TV, adapted the series for Galician television, with the name Valderri,
broadcast by TVG. The plot director and screenplay coordinator is Josep M. Benet i
Jornet, a Catalan dramatist responsible for many Catalan TV productions (Poblenou, La
Rosa, Nissaga de Poder, Zoo…). During the first four seasons, the series had over 20%
of the audience share, but in the fifth season this fell significantly (dropping to 11% on
12 April 2009, Diagonal TV).
Infidels [Unfaithful] (TV3, 2009-2011) is a series produced by Diagonal TV, which was
broadcast one day per week at prime time. It is notable for its urban and modern
character, unlike the other two serials which are more traditional (El cor de la ciutat)
and rural (Ventdelplà). It is situated in the line of female seriality, with four leading
female characters (like Sex in the City and Desperate Housewives), but it has even more
in common with Lipstick Jungle (NBC: 2008-2009), created by the author of Sex in the
City, Candace Bushell, and starring Brooke Shields. The audience figures fell over the
course of its 16 broadcast episodes from an initial 18% to 14% (www.formulatv.com).
Goenkale [the name of a fictitious village] (ETB1, 1994- ) is an open soap opera, the
oldest on all of the television networks in Spain. It is currently in its 19th season. It is
broadcast on two consecutive weekdays, and has changed with time (until 2004 it was
broadcast daily). At present, it is broadcast at prime time (22-23h). Its duration is
currently 1 hour. Its genre is the soap opera reflecting social customs in a rural setting.
Its language is Euskera. A significant number of relevant personalities from Basque

2 Cfr. TOUS ROVIROSA, Anna, “Usos i actituds juvenils davant les noves finestres audiovisuals”,
Alfabetització audiovisual, 2008b, http://www.cac.cat/web/recerca/estudis/llistat.jsp, accessed 7 July
2011.
3 BUSQUETS, G., ARTIGAS, L., “TV3 substituirà «El cor de la ciutat» al gener per un serial ambientat a
la costa”, El Punt, 12/03/2009, http://www.elpunt.cat/girona/article/13/20-comunicacio/13335-tv3-
substituira-lel-cor-de-la-ciutatr-al-gener-per-un-serial-ambientat-a-la-costa.html
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679770
society have played a cameo role in the series. In January 2010 its audience was 10.9%,
the highest since July 2003, according to the producer (www.pausola.com).
Martin [Martin] (ETB1, 2003-2009) is a sitcom that tells the everyday life of Martin,
played by José Ramón Soroiz, a sports commentator on the local San Sebastián radio
station Irutxolo. His life is the connecting thread of the series, which shows his work
milieu and his relations with his family. The series is produced by Globomedia and
Tentazioak (Mi Querido Klikowsky). It was broadcast one day per week, at prime time.
The episodes last for 30 minutes.
Mi Querido Klikowsky [My Dear Klikowsky] (ETB2, 2005-2010) is a series with comic
story lines that usually start and finish in each episode. It has a serialised nature
especially because of the evolution and continuity of the characters. The series was
produced by Globomedia and Tentazioak. It was broadcast once a week at prime time.
The episodes last for 50 minutes, and its genre is the comedy series. Its language is
Spanish. It narrates the everyday activities of an Argentinean who has settled in Eibar,
and his Basque family.
3. Television characteristics of the products analysed
The Basque and Catalan series and soap operas analysed share some television
characteristics that should be stressed, such as the importance attributed to “proximate”
serial products from the very outset, with EITB and TV3 playing a pioneering role in
creating the serials Goenkale and Poblenou. One of the differences is the fact that TV3
has continued to give a preeminent role to this television field. It is the network that
gives most importance to its own production4.
We should mention the coexistence of several television typologies that are mutually
complementary, giving the spectator an interesting and varied offer. The first of the
typologies, the most long lasting and offering the greatest returns, is the open serial
dealing with social customs, which can be set in a village (Goenkale) or in a
neighbourhood (El cor de la ciutat).
The open serial and the series are two television categories that correspond to two of the
existing television formats. The formats of television fiction, according to Buonanno
(2005), are the TV movie, the mini-series, the series and the open and shut serial
(Buananno 2005: 20). Two television genres that are of special interest in relation to this
question are the soap opera and the Latin American telenovela –a differentiation that
depends on the country of broadcast– as a basic initial differentiation. They are
characterised by the fact of their being open products, unlike series. Nonetheless, it
should be borne in mind that the serialisation of plots, the presence of greater continuity
and personal story lines, affect serial production as a whole. Logically, therefore, we
have not worked with any closed episodes in this research.
In Ventdelplà and TV3: during 2008 and 2009, the audience profile of the network and
the profile of the series coincided, which were in both cases rural, Catalan-speaking,
over 55 years of age, women and upper-middle class5. An intermediate typology is that
of urban social customs (El cor de la ciutat), where the action is situated in a Barcelona

4 Cfr. VILCHES, Lorenzo (coord.), Mercados globales, historias nacionales, Gedisa, Barcelona, 2009, p.
121.
5 Cfr. TOUS ROVIROSA, Anna, “Usos i actituds juvenils davant les noves finestres audiovisuals”,
Alfabetització audiovisual, 2008b, http://www.cac.cat/web/recerca/estudis/llistat.jsp, accessed 7 July
2011.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679771
neighbourhood; the case that is furthest removed is that of the urban series properly
speaking, like Infidels. In the Catalan case, a part of the television productions has been
characterised by its dealing with social customs, whose aim is “more to reflect the
present than to interpret it”6.
In broad terms, the differentiation between the types of productions leads us to establish
the categories: urban/series/limited leading roles (Infidels, Martin) and rural/open
series/ensemble of characters (Ventdelplà, Goenkale), which, while not ceasing to be
true in these cases, have nuances and exceptions, especially due to the hybridisation of
genres that is affecting contemporary serial narrative.
The urban series would be equivalent to modernity, the rural and open series to tradition
and social customs. The latter category, which tend to be the most long-lasting, have
precedents like the Coronation Street and East Enders, mentioned above.
With regard to the spaces, we can observe that the main spaces in all the productions are
the home, the office and the bar, the essential place of encounter for a large part of the
characters in television serial productions. On the other hand, a work/office opposition
is produced. In this sense, we should bear clearly in mind the possible influence of the
U.S. series set in places of work. The work place is a space that is being increasingly
serialised in audiovisual production.
4. Gender representations in television fiction
Research on gender relations in the communications field is of primordial relevance
when analysing TV fiction and especially series aimed at a specifically female public.
There are several studies showing the existence of marked differences in the forms in
which television represents roles between men and women7. These studies demonstrate
the perpetuation of gender clichés and stereotypes, amongst which the following stand
out: the representation of men as dominant and women as complementary, less
intelligent and dedicated to caring for others8, and the tendency to relegate female
characters to the private field, leaving the field of work as a basically male bastion9.
However, because of its focus on both public and private spaces and its dedication to
the intimate and personal field, fiction is also one of the communication genres that
provides more possibilities for showing social transformation. This can be achieved by
exploiting the relation of familiarity established between characters and audience and
the influence of such series as transmitters of values and models of socialization10. In

6 Cfr. LACALLE, Charo, “Èxits i fracassos. Anàlisi de cas: Temps de silenci i Cuéntame cómo pasó”,
Quaderns del CAC, 2002, p. 44.
7 Cfr. HERRETT-SKJELLUM, J., ALLEN, M., Television programming and sex stereotyping: A meta-
analysis”, Communication Yearbook, nº 19, 1996, pp. 157-185.
8 Cfr. DURKIN, K., “Television and sex-role acquisition”, The British journal of Social Psychology, 24
(2), 198, pp. 101-113; INGHAM, Helen “The Portrayal of Women on Television”, in
http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/hzi9401.html, accessed, 8 February 2012.
9 Cfr. INSTITUTO DE LA MUJER, Tratamiento y representación de las mujeres en las teleseries
emitidas por las cadenas de televisión de ámbito nacional, Instituto de la Mujer, Madrid, 2007; SCOTT,
Amanda Marie Irene, The roles of women in television situation comedies: a pilot study, Thesis presented
to the Faculty in Communication and Leadership Studies School of Professional Studies Gonzaga
University, 2011, http://web02.gonzaga.edu/comltheses/proquestftp/Scott_gonzaga_0736M_10072.pdf,
Accessed, 8 February 2012.
10 Cfr. BANDURA, Albert, “Social learning theory of aggression”, Journal of Communication, nº 28,
1978, pp. 12-29; MARTÍN-BARBERO, Jesús, De los medios a las mediaciones, Gustavo Gili, México,
1987; ANG, Ien, Watching Dallas. Soap opera and the melodramatic imagination, Routledge, London,
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679772
this respect, fiction series can be an ideal vehicle for showing women and gender
relations that are diverse and in accord with the present, making it possible to break
with dominant traditional stereotypes11.
These changes seem to have come about very slowly. Davis12 showed that there were no
significant transformations in the representation of women in North American series
between 1950 and 1980. Other studies draw attention to certain advances. Signorielli
and Aaron Bacue13 find a positive evolution in the female characters of North American
series, since in spite of their continuing to be in a minority and stereotyped (younger
and more beautiful), the percentage who have prestigious professions increased
significantly from the 1960s to the 1990s. Geraghty14 in her study on Anglophone soap
operas argues that they are not only used to maintain the status quo, but also to promote
change by validating the role of women in society as complex and three dimensional
characters who have a useful function in the private and public spheres, even if this is
traditional and conventional. The treatment of female characters is also related to the
audience that is aimed at; those series with a male target audience have female
characters who are more stereotyped15. In the case of series principally (but not only)
aimed at a female public, we can say that there is greater heterogeneity. Thus we can
find a broad range of products, from those promoting the reification of women, like
Hellcats (The CW: 2010-2011), Gossip Girl (The CW: 2007-2012), Privileged (The
CW: 2008-2009), to products that break and play with stereotypes, like United States of
Tara (Showtime, 2009-2011) or The Gilmore Girls (The WB: 2000-2007)16.
In Spain, TV series started to show this evolution in the late 1990s with the
incorporation of plots that referred to transformational aspects like the incorporation of
women into the professional field or the difficulty of balancing work and family life, in
spite of the continued appearance of gender stereotypes that were interiorized and
difficult to alter17.
Thus, the feminization of work is an aspect that finds reflection in current fiction, in
spite of the fact that the idea is often shown that production done by women is a type of
non-work and an almost fetishistic “vocational” reward. Such is the paradigmatic case
of the character of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), columnist and writer in Sex
and the City (HBO: 1998-2004)18. On the same line, we can situate the character of
Susan Meyer (Teri Hatcher) in Desperate Housewives (ABC: 2004-2012) and her work

1996; BRYANT, Jennings, ZILLMANN, Dolf (eds.), Media Effects. Advances in Theory and Research,
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, NJ, 2002; HOFFNER, Cynthia, BUCHANAN, Martha, “Young Adults'
Wishful Identification With Television Characters: The Role of Perceived Similarity and Character
Attributes”, Media Pshycology, vol.7, nº 4, 2005, pp. 325-351.
11 Cfr. GALÁN, Elena, “Construcción de género y ficción televisiva en España”, Comunicar XV (28),
2007, pp. 229-236.
12 Cfr. DAVIS, Donald M., “Portrayals of Women in Prime-Time Network Television: Some
Demographic Characteristics”, Sex Roles, vol. 23, nº 5-6, 1990, pp. 325-332.
13 Cfr. SIGNORIELLI, Nancy, BACUE, Aaron, “Recognition and Respect: A Content Analysis of Prime-
Time Television Characters Across Three Decades”, Sex Roles, vol. 40, nº 7-8, 1999, pp. 527-544.
14 Cfr. GERAGHTY, Christine, Women and Soap Opera: A Study of Prime Time Soaps, Polity Press,
Cambridge, 1991.
15 Cfr. EATON, Carol, “Prime-time stereotyping on the new television networks”, Journalism and Mass
Communication Quarterly, nº 74, 1997, pp. 859-872.
16 Cfr. TOUS ROVIROSA, Anna, “Los rostros de la mujer en la televisión de los Estados Unidos.
Tradición, feminismo y postfeminismo en las series estadounidenses (1950-2010)”, in LARRONDO,
Ainara and MESO, Koldo, 3ª Jornadas sobre mujeres y medios de comunicación, Servicio editorial de la
Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, 2011, pp. 187-202.
17 Cfr. GALÁN, Elena, op. cit.
18 Cfr. RUIDO, María, “Just do it! Bodies and Images of Women in the New Division of Labour”, 2007,
retrieved from http://www.workandwords.net/es/texts/view/501, on 10 March 2012.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679773
as an illustrator of children’s stories. These characters’ representation must be analysed
from the point of view of third wave feminism (Johnson, 2007). They are “stay-at-
home-moms”, as Marc Cherry said about their characters19.
When women are shown in broader roles like that of the professional woman and the
single mother, the focus on these latter seems to be based on patriarchal ideology: the
housewife is seen positively, the woman with power is frequently the villain (as in
Damages, FX: 2007-2012), and female characters can be intelligent or beautiful, but
rarely both at the same time20. When they are, as in the character of Lynette Scavo
(Felicity Huffman) in Desperate Housewives, they are overwhelmed by the difficulty of
reconciling work and family life, which entails negative consequences for their private
life.
Besides, archaic roles continue to be predominant and the modern woman is frequently
contrasted, in the same series or on the same network, with woman portrayed as a sex
object, victim and traditional housewife, as a commercial strategy of TV networks so as
not to lose a conservative audience. Timmins21 gives the examples of Grey’s Anatomy
(ABC: 2005-) and Dexter (Showtime: 2006-) to show this dual role of the female image
in United States fictional series. In the case of Spanish fiction, García-Muñoz, Feddele
and Gómez-Díaz22 underscore the representation of women’s work in TV series; in spite
of its having evolved favourably in numerical terms, it continues to contain gender
stereotypes in relation to age and the prestige of professions.
Other studies have shown the evolution of the concept of the family in TV series. In the
United States there has been a move from traditional family relations to the current
representation of parenthood as conflictive23, in spite of maintaining the mythification
of maternity as being exclusive to women24; moreover, new models of the family are
shown, such as single-parent and homoparental families25.
At the same time, the representation of women’s diversity from the ethnic and social
point of view has also been one of the concerns of the academic field. From the start it
was shown that ethnic minorities were underrepresented in fiction series and that the
interrelation of the gender, class and ethnic variables was one of the most common
forms of perpetuating negative clichés in fiction26.
The age of female characters is another of the factors that have drawn the attention of
researchers. In spite of audience studies showing that the public demands adult female

19 Cfr. WEINRAUB, B., “How Desperate Women Saved Desperate Writer”, The New York Times, 23-
10-2004.
20 Cfr. INGHAM, Helen, “The Portrayal of Women on Television”, 2007 in
http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/hzi9401.html, accessed, 8 February, 2012.
21 Cfr. TIMMINS, Kate, “The TV female Paradox”, 2011, retrieved from
http://annenberg465.posterous.com/the-tv-female-paradox-tag-dacci, on 15 March 2012.
22 Cfr. GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, Nuria, FEDELE, Maddalena, GÓMEZ-DÍAZ, Xiana, “The occupational roles
of television fiction characters in Spain: distinguishing traits in gender representation”, Comunicación y
Sociedad, vol. XXV, nº 1, 2012, pp.349-366.
23 Cfr. TOUS-ROVIROSA, op. cit., 2011.
24 Cfr. MEDINA, Pilar, et al., “La representación de la maternidad en las series de ficción
norteamericanas. Propuesta para un análisis de contenido. Desperate Housewives y Brothers & Sisters”,
2010, retrieved from: http://www.aeic2010malaga.org/upload/ok/137.pdf, on 25 January 2012.
25 MARTINS, Aline, A família homoparental na fillaô televisiva: as prácticas narrativas do Brasil e da
Espanha como relatos das novas representaçoês afetivo amorosas, UAB, PhD dissertation, Bellaterra,
2012.
26 Cfr. GERBNER, George, SIGNORIELLI Nancy, Women and Minorities in Television Drama, 1969-
1978, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1979; EATON, Carol, op. cit.; MASTRO, Dana E.,
GREENBERG, Bradley S., “Portrayals of racial minorities on prime time television”, Journal of
Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 44, 2000, pp. 690-703.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679774
characters with significant roles and interesting story lines27, Lauzen, Dozier and
Reyes28 draw attention to the fact that women over the age of 60 only represent 4% of
the total characters in North American series; moreover, they are shown as not very
attractive and lacking work and power –a notable exception is Patty Hewes, the
protagonist of Damages played by Glenn Close. This is on contrast to women between
the ages of 20 and 30, who seem to be living a type of eternal adolescence based on
leisure and sexual relations (the abovementioned Hellcats, Privileged, Gossip Girl).
Weitz29 provides an analysis of the “Cougar” phenomenon. This is a term that
designates women who maintain sentimental relations with younger men, which seems
to have gained prominence in American fiction, such as for example in the series of that
name, Cougar Town (ABC: 2009-) starring Courteney Cox. Weitz concludes that in
spite of this being a positive advance that shows elder women as independent and
having sexual desires, these characters are always middle class, slim, white and
frequently treated as the butt of humour in sitcoms, and they frequently prolong the
characteristics of adolescents over time. With reference to physical aspects, different
studies have drawn attention to the unrealistic image of extreme slimness of women in
TV series30 and the tendency to represent women as sex objects and as being physically
more attractive than their male companions31.
One of the positive aspects in the evolution of women’s representation in fiction is the
appearance of series aimed at an adolescent public where the young female characters
are presented as independent and intelligent heroines, such as the case of Charmed (The
WB, 1998-2006) or Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997-2003)32. In this respect,
research in fiction reflects how since the 1980s, and coinciding with the social advance
of women in the western world, there has been attempt to break taboos on sexuality and
show women in fields like those of friendship and cooperation with their partners33.
In any case, in spite of the proliferation of stereotypes, it is undeniable that fiction can
promote positive social change, as Howard-Williams also notes (2013). Different
research projects have shown that the broadcasting of Latin American telenovelas has
helped sex education and women’s control of reproduction, and has enabled a change in
values based on aspects like criticizing machismo or placing emphasis on the rights of
minorities and women34.

27 Cfr. ADAMS-PRICE, Carolyn, GOODMAN, Mark, et al., “An Analysis of Aging Women in Film and
Television”, 2003, http://www.clas.ufl.edu/ipsa/2003/goodman.html, accessed, 8 July, 2011.
28 Cfr. LAUZEN, Martha, DOZIER David, M., REYES Barbara, “From Adultescents to Zoomers: An
Examination of Age and Gender in Prime-Time Television”, Communication Quarterly. vol. 55, nº 3,
2007, pp. 343-357.
29 Cfr. WEITZ, Rose, "Changing the Scripts: Midlife Women’s Sexuality in Contemporary U.S. Film",
Sexuality & Culture, vol. 14, nº 1, 2009, pp. 17-32.
30 Cfr. TIGGEMANN, M., PICKERING, A. S., “Role of television in adolescent women's body
dissatisfaction and drive for thinness”, The International Journal of Eating Disorders, vol. 20, nº 2, 1996,
pp. 199-203; FOUTS, Gregory, BURGGRAF, Kimberley, “Television Situation Comedies: Female Body
Images and Verbal Reinforcements”, Sex Roles, vol. 40, nº 5-6, 1999, pp. 473-481.
31 Cfr. GORDILLO, Inmaculada, GUARINOS, Virginia (eds.), Todos los cuerpos. El cuerpo en televisión
como obsesión hipermoderna, Babel Editorial, Córdoba (Argentina), 2010
32 This has allowed young queers to define and explore their sexuality and, at the same time, create an
alternative sub-world of media representations and appropriation of popular culture. Cfr. DRIVER,
Susan, Queer girls and popular culture: reading, resisting, and creating media, Peter Lang, New York,
2007.
33 Cfr. GREENBERG, Bradley S., BUSSELLE, Rick W, Soap operas and sexual activity, Michigan State
University, Michigan, 1994; GALÁN, Elena, op. cit.
34 Cfr. FARIA, Vilmar, POTTER, Joseph E., Television, Telenovelas, and Fertility Change in North-East
Brazil, Population Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, 1994; LA FERRARA, Eliana, CHONG,
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679775
So, to summarize, research on gender and television fiction underscores the existence of
three principal periods: the first (s. XIX-XX) and second (1960-1990) waves of
feminism, and the third wave or post-feminism (1990 to date) (Johnson, 2007).
Researchers like Gallagher (1981) stressed the unequal representativeness of women in
all communication fields, and since then there has been broad and continuous research
on gender in the specific communication field of fiction series, in both the Anglophone
context (Gerbner and Signorieli; Durkin, 1985; Davis, 1990; Geraghty, 1991; Eaton,
1997; Fouts and Burggraf, 1999; Driver, 2007; Ingham, 2007; Scott, 2011; Timmins,
2011), and the Spanish one (Galán, 2007; Gordillo and Guarinos, 2010; Medina, 2010;
Rivadeneyra, 2011; García Muñoz and Fedele, 2012). The main problem concerning
this question is the perpetuation of gender stereotypes on television, and the added
advantage of these decades of study is a specialization in concrete questions like age:
adolescents (Tiggemman and Pickering, 1996; Lauzen, Dozier, Reyes, 2007) and aging
(Adams-Price and Goodman, 2003), racial minorities (Mastro and Greenberg, 2000),
homosexuality (Driver, 2007; Martins, 2012) or television genres and formats (Scott,
2011).
5. Aims
This is how we’re adding to it: in spite of the existence of studies on gender and
seriality in the Spanish state, besides those mentioned (Instituto de la Mujer, 2007), the
present study is novel insofar as it uses content analysis to compare the social
representation of women in a sample of fiction series of two of the autonomous
television channels that have the greatest importance and tradition, and are also the
longest running, in the Spanish state: EITB and TVC. The variables used are those that
received the most emphasis in earlier studies, that is, the importance of physical
appearance and age, profession, social class and geographic origin.
The purpose of the research was to analyse the value construction and value
transmission in gender relations that are favoured in the soap operas and television
series; and also to analyse the construction of characters on the basis of stereotypes. The
type of relation favoured, the role occupied by women (from the family, social and
professional points of view) and the image projected were all observed. The context of
these television productions and their diachronic relation with the television genres of
their respective autonomous communities are relevant elements for the analysis.
At the same time, we also propose to explore what differences and similarities exist in
the treatment of gender roles amongst the different fiction products analyzed on the
basis of variables of format (soap opera, open serial, sitcom), scenario of the action
(rural, urban) and nationality of the production (Basque, Catalan).
6. Methodology
As the previous bibliography stresses, television is a powerful transmitter of stereotypes
(Johnson, 2007), which is why we expected to find machismo in the series analyzed.
The two autonomous television channels in question, TVC and EITB, were the first to
produce series in the Spanish state (1994). We set out from the fact that in the Catalan
series a significant tradition of equitable treatment of gender could be observed, since

Alberto, DURYEA, Suzanne, Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil, Bread Working Paper nº
172, Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, London, 2008.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679776
Poblenou (1994) and La Rosa (1995-96) and we considered that the Basque series
might be more traditional in their treatment of gender.
In the present article we describe how television fiction addresses and gives meaning to
social transformations; concretely, we are referring to the 180 degree turn that the role
of women has undergone thanks to the advance of the feminist movement and changes
that have occurred in work settings (as can be observed through the abovementioned
three waves of feminism). How do these transformations influence the way women are
treated in fiction? How does fiction represent changes? To answer these and other
questions this article presents the results of a comparative study of six maximum
audience television series that were being broadcast in the Basque Country and
Catalonia at the time the study was made. The working hypothesis of the research
focused on the fact that an effort is made in the fiction seriality produced by the Basque
and Catalan autonomous public television corporations to avoid the perpetuation of
stereotypes, but that these persist on the axiological level (the construction of values).
6.1. Universe to be analysed
6.1.1. Basque productions
Series Martin ETB1: 2003-2009 Broadcast weekly
Soap opera Goenkale ETB1: 1994- Broadcast twice a week.
Daily repeats
Series Mi querido Klikowsky ETB2: 2003-2010 Broadcast weekly
6.1.2. Catalan productions
Soap opera Ventdelplà TV3: 2005-2010 Broadcast two days a week
Soap opera El cor de la ciutat TV3: 2000-2009 Broadcast daily
Series Infidels TV3: 2009-2011 Broadcast weekly
All the series were being broadcast at the time of the study. In fact, Goenkale is still
being broadcast nowadays (April 2013). The series analysed were chosen according to
audience level and the long-running character of the products, especially notable in the
cases of El cor de la ciutat and Goenkale. With respect to audiences, it is worth drawing
attention to linguistic differentiation in the Basque case: Goenkale and Martin are
broadcast on ETB1, in Euskera, and their audience share amongst the Euskera-speaking
population is not negligible. Mi querido Klikowsky was broadcast on ETB2 in Spanish.
There is no differentiation in the Catalan case as all the programs are broadcast in the
same language on TVC35. As can be appreciated in the graphs, besides the linguistic
distinction, the audience figures for in-house productions are higher in the Catalan than
in the Basque case.

35 Although repeats are at times broadcast on Canal 33, also part of TVC, the autonomous Catalan
television that broadcasts exclusively in Catalan.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)6797
77
Pie chart 1. Audience figures for the series. TVC, 2009
Elaborated by the authors. Source: FormulaTV. 2009.
Elaborated by the authors. Source: EITB
Analysis of the image of women in the six television series studied was focused on their
roles, profiles, interpersonal relations and the nature of female and male characters. For
this purpose 108 episodes were viewed during the year 2009. Given the differing nature
of each of the products analysed and the frequency with which they were broadcast, we
opted to select a longitudinal sample that would provide a homogeneous corpus of
episodes to be viewed in the research. Thus, although the television serial production
analysed in the case of EITB was significantly less in number than in the case of TVC
36
,
54 episodes were analysed on each of the networks
37
. The sample was analysed between
January and June 2009.

36 16 broadcasts a month on EITB and 36 broadcasts a month in the case of TVC.
37 3 episodes per month and season; a total of 18 episodes per series.
27%
18%
16%
39%
Audiences.TVC,2009
Elcordelaciutat
Ventdelplà
Infidels
Others
Goenkale
5%
Martin
4% Miquerido
Klikowsky
11%
Others
80%
Seriesaudience.EITB,2009
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679778
The methodology is structured in four large blocks, elaborated upon the above
mentioned literature review, to enable us to describe the quantity of appearances of
women, how they appeared and how they were represented.
1. Quantification of women and men. Quantity of men and women according to the
typology of the character (protagonists, secondary, extras).
2. Definition of the women’s socio-demographic characteristics: age, marital status,
geographical origin and sexual identity.
3. Explanation of the women’s roles in the series analysed: their profession, role and
social class.
4. Description of the women’s physical characteristics (complexion, stature, relevant
physical problems).
We opted for a quantitative methodology focused on content analysis, referring to the
presence of women in the fictional TV series, as well on their representativeness. We
fixed these questions into an analysis grid and we developed a coding book in which we
defined the categories to be assessed in the items. Coding consisted in noting the
presence or absence of the elements in the episodes. A common analytical file for all the
episodes viewed contained questions relating to these four blocks, as well as additional
elements on the axiological level, conceived from the start as items that would
supplement the analysis. We opted to prioritize those elements that could be compared
with social reality (quantification, but especially socio-demographic and professional
characteristics and those related to social class), as well as the physical image of women
in the series analysed, due to its undeniable importance in contemporary society and the
disorders it can occasion, as well as the importance conceived by the prior genre studies
to these questions38. We were trained to apply the analysis grid consistently, as coders.
In order to carry on the current research, intercoder reliability tests based on Cohen’s
kappa coefficient39 were performed with satisfactory results.
7. Results
7.1. Quantification of women and men
With respect to quantifying female and male characters in the series analysed, it can be
seen that the representativeness of men and women is equitable in both the Catalan and
Basque series. Variations of great significance are not observed in the quantity of
female and masculine characters. Cases like Infidels stand out due to the perfect
correspondence of characters of both sexes, as well as Goenkale due to the slight
numerical superiority of female characters. The case of Martin is also interesting, in
which there are more male characters in total, but the majority of leading characters are
women.

38 TIMMINS, op. cit., 2011; GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, Nuria, FEDELE, Maddalena, GÓMEZ-DÍAZ, Xiana,
op. cit., 2012.
39 Cfr. COHEN, Jacob, "A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales", Educational and Psychological
Measurement, 20 (1), 1960, pp. 37-46.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679779
Graph 1. Quantification of characters by gender. TVC, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
Elaborated by the authors.
11
6
27
20
15
5
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Elcordelaciutat Ventdelplà Infidels
Mainmalecharacters
Malecharacters
37
20
32
19
15
5
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Elcordela
ciutat
Ventdelplà Infidels
Mainfemalecharacters
Femalecharacters
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679780
Graph 2. Quantification of characters by gender. EITB, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
Elaborated by the authors.
9
4
2
4
3
2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
Goenkale Martin Miquerido
Klikowsky
Mai nfemal echaracters
Femalecharacters
13
8
4
3
1
2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
Goenkale Martin Miquerido
Klikowsky
Mai nma l echaracters
Mal echaracters
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679781
Elaborated by the authors.
There is one series that offers surprising percentage results. Mi querido Klikowsky
presents an image of a society based on a matriarchy and the influence of women, above
all in the family and private field, but, conversely, masculine characters predominate,
accounting for 45% of the total, although male and female main characters are shared
out in a quantitatively similar way. The relationship of the leading character with the
rest of the characters in the three Basque series should be understood in relation to the
so-called cuadrilla, or group of friends, one of the main elements in Basque
socialization. Klikowsky is an Argentinean individualist who is not fully integrated in
his Basque cuadrilla, which is made up of male characters. In Goenkale it is also
possible to observe the grouping of friends into cuadrillas, although in Martin such
cuadrillas are less frequent. Women in the Basque series do not appear reflected in
relation to the cuadrilla in a significant way. There is only one series where there is a
predominance of women, whose ages vary considerably (the male protagonist has a
mother, a wife, two daughters and female colleagues at work), and where the cuadrilla
has a very limited importance: Martin.
In the Catalan case, the group attitudes of men (the Catalan colla has less social
presence than the Basque cuadrilla) are of very low intensity. The Catalan series reflect
the lower importance of the group and the greater importance of the individual, man or
woman; this can only be compared to Martin in the Basque case. Where the group and
fidelity are important (in clear counter-position to the title) in the female field is in
Infidels, whose plot begins with the infidelity of one of the protagonists on her wedding
day (Paula). Where the group is not given cohesion by the cuadrilla, this is done by the
family (Martin) or the neighbourhood (El cor de la ciutat). If the question is focused
around the cuadrilla, women become complementary, with the obvious exception of
Infidels. In the Basque series the female role is doubly complementary due to the
general plot of two of the three series analysed, which revolve around the male
character who gives the product its title (Martin and Mi querido Klikowsky).
13
8
4
3
1
2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
Goenkale Martin Miquerido
Klikowsky
Mai nma l echaracters
Mal echaracters
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679782
7.2. Definition of the socio-demographic characteristics of the women
With respect to age, marital status, geographical origin and sexual identity, our focus is
on the geographical origin of the women represented, but beforehand we will briefly
comment on the age of the women represented, as it has been a concern of interest to
previous studies40.
Graph 3. Age of female characters. TVC, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.

40 Tiggemman and Pickering, 1996; Adams-Price and Goodman, 2003; Lauzen, Dozier, Reyes, 2007.
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
Elcordelaciutat Ventdelplà Infidels
Girlsandadolescents(018
years)
Youngwomen(1934)
Adultwomen(3539)
Elderlywomen(60andover)
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679783
Graph 4. Age of the female characters. EITB, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
With respect to sexual identity, we must mention that one of the couples in Infidels was
homosexual (Dani and Arlet), but did not appear in the sample analysed. The age
groups with the greatest presence in the Catalan series are 19-59, while in the Basque
series the presence of young characters is far higher, especially in Goenkale and Mi
querido Klikowsky.
Concerning age, another relevant aspect of Infidels with respect to the physical image of
women is the portrait of the character of Lidia, a psychiatrist and widow, who is the
oldest of the group (49 years old). She takes care of her physical appearance and has
relationships with men, at times younger than her, as in the case of her partner during
the first season analysed (Toni, played by Julio Manrique). At no point are these
characteristics presented as subject to parody, as happens in the abovementioned
Cougar Town.
In the Catalan series Ventdelplà and the Basque series Goenkale, there are immigrant
women, in the first case these are both Spanish –the bar keeper, who speaks in Catalan,
and her husband, who is free of complexes but has a strong Spanish accent and lexical
influences– and Latin American. In the Basque series there are no Spaniards (whose
language is always dominant, unlike the Catalan case) but there is a Cuban bar keeper,
who speaks Basque with a Carribean accent –a circumstance based more on wishful
thinking and the projection of an ideal image than on an abundance of real cases. But, in
general, and with respect to geographical origin, we find a limited representativity of
immigrant women.
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
Elcordelaciutat Ventdelplà Infidels
Girlsandadolescents(018
years)
Youngwomen(1934)
Adultwomen(3539)
Elderlywomen(60andover)
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679784
Graph 5. Geographical origin of women represented. TVC, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
Graph 6. Geographical origin of women represented. EITB, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
Attention can be drawn to the limited representativeness of immigration in the set of
series analysed, and to the fact they were broadcast in 2009, a year when the presence of
immigrants in both Catalonia and the Basque Country was still very significant; this was
at the start of the economic crisis that has had so much repercussion on the return of this
collective to their countries of origin. We should draw attention to some of the products,
like Martin, in which the women represented are Basque, live in the Basque Country
and speak Euskera. Infidels follows this pattern in the episodes analysed, obviously
involving Catalan women. So, this leads us a litlle bit away from gender and racial
minorities studies41. An interesting differentiation to note is the presence of immigrant
characters in long running seriality, i.e. Goenkale, El cor de la ciutat and Ventdelplà. In

41 Cfr. GERBNER, George, SIGNORIELLI Nancy, op. cit., 1979; EATON, Carol, op. cit.; MASTRO,
Dana E., GREENBERG, Bradley S., op. cit., 2000.
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Elcordelaciutat Ventdelplà Infidels
Catalan
Foreign
Spanish
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
Goenkale MiqueridoKlikowsky Martin
Basque
Foreign
Spanish
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)6797
85
these three products, a certain longivity coincides with the treatment of questions of
social interest
42
that are not observed, or more rarely so, in series that ran for fewer
seasons, like Martin and Infidels. The case of Mi querido Klikowsy deals with
immigration, focusing on the male protagonist, a male Argentinean.
7.3. Explanation of women’s roles in the series analyzed: profession, role and social
class of the women.
With respect to the professions represented in the Catalan and Basque series, and to the
social roles performed by the female characters, it is liberal professions of some prestige
that are most present in the three Catalan series, only surpassed by administrative
professions in the private or public sectors, a reflection of Catalan society itself.
Students and housewives are other important sectors, while there is a limited
representation of marginal sectors like prostitution. As Ruido states, there is a “
potential
effectiveness of the representation as a contribution to the social valorisation of some activities
(…) defined as work”43.
Elaborated by the authors.
We will now make a more detailed analysis of each of the three series of TVC that have
been studied. It is worth stressing that Ventdelplà and El cor de la ciutat, set in a village
in the interior of one of the provinces (Breda in Girona) and in popular neighbourhoods
of the capital (set in the Barcelona neighbourhoods of Sant Andreu and Sant)

42 In El cor de la ciutat, not only is immigration dealt with but also other questions of social interest, like
domestic violence, maltreatment and harassment at school.
43 RUIDO, María, op. cit., 2011.
Students
13% Retiredpeople
5%
Housewives
10%
Managers
2%
Financeme
nand
women
6%
Liberalarts
23%
Education,health
andpolice
8%
Publicorprivate
administration
25%
Services
3%
Prostitution
3%
Others
2%
JobsandSocialRolesofFemaleCharacters,
TVC2009
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679786
respectively, give much more weight to female characters. They are dedicated to the
sector of the liberal professions in one case, and to the administrative sector in the other.
The fictional village of Ventdelplà has a mayoress, although she is a secondary
character; the protagonist, Teresa (played by the actress Emma Vilarasau) is a doctor.
The male characters cover a wide range of professions, from the businesman Fornàs to
the farmer Jaume. Infidels, on the contrary, although it is an urban series set in the
capital, situated in the middle and upper classes of Barcelona in a milieu that could be
described as bourgeois and progressive, gives more weight to housewives. It must be
said that the four friends who are the protagonists are a housewife, a psychiatrist, a
schoolteacher and an executive. The mixture of prestigious professions and of mothers
and housewives caring for others in Infidels is a reproduction of the difficulties of
combining work and family life, without showing parodical stereoypes as in the
abovementionted case of Lynette in Desperate Housewives. Elisabet, a property agent
and single mother in Ventdelplà, would be a non-parodical representation.
Graph 7. Representativeness of professions or social roles of female characters, by series.
TVC, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
For their part, the Basque series reflect a different portrait: as corresponds to Basque
society itself, there is a great weight of the administrative sector, while the importance
of the liberal professions is considerably lower; other professions are more equally
distributed than in the Catalan series, and marginal sectors like prostitution appear to an
even lesser extent. The profession of waitress also appears to a greater degree than in
the Catalan series, a fact that is congruent with the greater presence of the bar as a space
of sociability in the Basque series than in the Catalan ones, and also congruent with the
5
1101
6
0
11
111
2
21
1
2
6
4
3
000
1
0
4
0
1
2
1
1
110
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
Infidels
Ventdelplà
Elcordelaciutat
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)6797
87
typical representativeness of women at the service of others. The importance given to
students stands out; the majority of young female characters do not work but study. We
are facing a portrait of Catalan society more homogeneous than it is in reality, where it
is worth stressing the demographic weight of Barcelona with respect to the other three
provinces. The province of Barcelona exceeds 5 million inhabitants (the capital has
1,621,000 inhabitants), while none of the other three provinces reaches one million
44
.
Pie chart 4. Representativeness of professions or social roles of female characters. EITB,
2009
Elaborated by the authors.
Once again, as in the case of the Catalan series, it is worth breaking down these data by
series. It should be borne in mind that, as occurs with the Catalan audiovisual
productions studied, the setting is varied as we mentioned above: Goenkale and Mi
querido Klikowsky are set in medium-sized villages or towns, like Ventdelplà. In one
case this is a town where the majority is Euskera-speaking, in the other (Eibar) the
majority is Spanish-speaking; while Martin, a Basque language series, is set in San
Sebastián, the only one of the three provincial capitals of the Basque Autonomous
Community that conserves a native use of Euskera, although it is not the majority
language of the inhabitants. The series thus reflects a certain sector of that city, and not
the city’s population as a whole like the Catalan series Infidels. On the other hand, this
is a sector that is not dominant in the urban nucleus, and Martin is therefore much more
a reflection of the middle-middle class than Infidels. This is also apparent in the
linguistic variety and register employed in Martin. The fact is that in Goenkale the
majority of the characters are administrative workers (in second place there is a certain
presence of doctors, teachers and police, in an attempt to give a good image of the

44 Idescat, “Població. 1900-2012. Províncies, Padró Municipal d’Habitants”,
http://www.idescat.cat/pub/?id=aec&n=245&lang=es
Students
21% Retiredpeople
7%
Housewives
10%
Managers
4%
Financemenand
women
0%
Liberalarts
10%
Education,health
andpolice
10%
Publicorprivate
administration
24%
Services
14%
Prostitution
0%
Others
0%
JobsandSocialRolesofFemale
Characters,EITB2009
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679788
Basque police corps, the Ertzaintza), and in Martin the majority are students (with a
similar percentage to that of Goenkale). This must be related to the fact that it is
precisely the young population –which, irrespective of area of origin and the real
presence of Euskera there, has been educated in that language– that is most represented,
at least its female sector. Therefore the daughters of the protagonist stand out and, as
corresponds to the reality of the native Euskera-speaking population, they employ a
more cultured register than the adult characters. It thus seems clear that the strategy is
not to ignore the adult public but to make a clear gesture towards younger spectators,
even to children: the youngest daughter of the protagonist is Janis (Amaia Iraundegi),
who is underage. The producers and the networks sought interlocution with younger
sectors amongst television viewers as we can see with Janis’ blog and the Facebook
profile of Arlet (Aina Clotet), the youngest of the leading characters of Infidels.
Graph 8. Representativeness of professions or social roles of female characters, by series
EITB, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
We have already mentioned some features that define the importance given to social
class. We will now focus on this in more detail. The Catalan series concede a majority
presence to the middle class, above all El cor de la ciutat (which is much more middle-
middle class than is the case of one of its referents, the Biritsh series East Enders).
3
111
0
1
3
6
1
00
3
11
0
0
1
0
0
2
00
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
1
1
00
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
MiqueridoKlikowsky
Martin
Goenkale
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)6797
89
Pie chart 5. Representativeness of the social class of female characters. TVC, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
On the contrary, the social class that receives by far the greatest representation in the
Basque series is the working class, when Basque reality is very different: it is a society
where there is a clear predominance of services and therefore a predominance of the
middle class. The working class has an even greater weight than the class that
predominates in the Catalan series. While in the Catalan case the most represented class
rises to 56% of the presence of female characters, in the Basque case the most
represented class has a weight that is ten points higher (66%). Only one-third of the
female characters in the Basque series is middle class. In the Catalan series the weight
of working class female characters is nearly three times less in percentage terms than in
the Basque series, not reaching a third of the total.
Marginal
1%
UpperClass
27%
MiddleClass
56%
HighClass
16%
SocialClassofFemaleCharacters,
TVC2009
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)6797
90
Pie chart 6. Representativeness of the social class of female characters. EITB, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
Another very evident feature is that while the Catalan series reflect a greater variety of
social classes, both upwards (upper class) and downwards (marginal female characters),
the three Basque series studied practically lack female characters from these two strata.
Furthermore, the presence of upper class characters in the Catalan series, nearly a sixth
of all the female characters, is a notable feature. By series in the Catalan case, the urban
series El cor de ciutat presents a picture that is mainly composed of middle or working
class characters. In Ventdelplà there is an overwhelming majority of female characters
from the middle class and, as we have seen, from the liberal professions. Infidels gives
more importance to upper class women, although –and this is not a contradiciton, or at
least it is only one in appearance– there is a notable presence of well-off housewives, as
we have seen.
Graph 9. Representativeness of the social class of female characters, by series. TVC, 2009
Elaborated by the authors.
Marginal
0%
UpperClass
66%
MiddleClass
34%
HighClass
0%
SocialClassofFemaleCharacters,EITB
2009
0
13 18
00
3
15
3
1
1
3
7
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
Marginal Working
Class
Middle
Class
UpperC
Infidels
Ventdelplà
Elcordelaciutat
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679791
In its turn, Basque television makes the majority of the characters of the rural Goenkale
(a fictitious fishing village that could well be Orio, for example) working class, while in
the series set in the medium-sized inland town that we identify with Eibar (a traditional
factory enclave full of workshops, an arms producing town) the women are middle
class. The same is true of Martin, where the Euskera-speaking woman from San
Sebastián is represented as belonging to this social stratum.
Graph 10. Representativeness of the social class of female characters, by series. EITB,
2009
Elaborated by the authors.
The immense majority of female characters have paid work or are students (teenagers or
of university age), while there is a more limited presence of housewives and retired
people. In this respect one can speak of a suitable representation of social reality and of
the presence of women on the labour market. However, if we pause to consider what
these professions are, we find that the focus does not attempt to break with schemes and
stereotypes and that the majority of women work in professions considered female in
the service sector, such as shop assistants or bar keepers, or which have become
feminized in recent years, like health professionals. The women under consideration are
involved in professions dedicated to caring for others, whether this is in health,
education, beauty or hostelry. Thus, women are represented as carers and servants, and
models of femininity are offered that do not break with the patriarchal tradition of the
myth of servitude and self-sacrifice.
7.4. Description of the physical characteristics of the women (complexion, stature,
relevant physical problems)
With respect to physical characteristics, we can draw attention to the exaltation of
beauty, attention to physique and youth in Infidels, in keeping with the television series
that are its precedent (Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle) and unlike the rest, in which the
physical representativeness of women is much more heterogeneous. One interesting
0
12
4
00
2
5
00
5
1
0
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
Marginal Working
Class
MiddleClass UpperClass
MiqueridoKlikowsky
Martin
Goenkale
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679792
aspect is that the meeting place in Infidels is the swimming pool, where the protagonists
practice sport (aquagym), instead of the traditional meeting places in soap operas, as
mentioned above. Ventdelplà includes two young people with serious health problems:
a paralyzed female character (Mónica, a writer) and an HIV carrier (Cristina, a student).
An elderly person, Dora, discovers that she is developing Alzheimer’s disease. One of
the protagonists of Infidels, Paula, has a brain tumour that conditions her approach to
life. In El cor de la ciutat, Sandra is a youth who lost a hand and spends her time
drawing. This is the dominant trend in the majority of cases: young people who have
had accidents or diseases that they have overcome in order to lead a normal life.
8. Conclusions
In the case of the Catalan productions, both El Cor de la Ciutat and Ventdelpà share
positive features for promoting gender equality, the personality traits of the female
characters break with stereotypes and the image of women that they offer is a good
reflection of real life. The women are strong and independent; they take decisions; they
undertake actions and are involved in different story lines, without necessarily being
linked to their relationship with men. They are also multidimensional characters; these
women are supportive of each other and are not subjected to a submissive focus. In the
two soap operas we find a group of women of different ages and of realistic and varied
appearance, and we can affirm that there is no exaltation of either youth or beauty. In
the two soap operas the women have relations and socialize in the same spaces as the
men, whether this is in bars, streets, shops or the domestic setting. We find well
developed story lines that are handled respectfully and that especially affect women,
such as domestic violence and sexual harassment in El Cor de la Ciutat, or the specific
problems of women’s health in Ventdelplà.
Ventdelplà also positively reflects the social reality of women in the work setting, with
women engaged in very different professions that are important in the public space, like
doctors, a mayoress, writers, entrepreneurs or police. The female characters in El Cor de
la ciutat are also inserted in the world of work, although there is an excessive emphasis
on feminized professions, related to care and serving others.
On the negative side, neither of the two series shows the diversity of women who
proceed from numerous geographic origins and social conditions and form part of the
plural Catalan citizenry, and heterosexuality is the dominant norm, with other sexual
identities being shown in a minority way.
The series Infidels does not try to be realistic, nor to reflect social diversity. In spite of
the seemingly positive feature that the protagonists of the series are women, these
characters conduct their lives entirely on the basis of their relations with men. In reality,
it is the series that most reproduces gender stereotypes as it shows some women who are
incapable of realizing themselves in any other than the sentimental aspect, and who are
desperately seeking the myth of romantic love. Moreover, this series does not reproduce
Catalan social diversity, either in terms of age, social class or geographical origin, and
their professions are not the most important aspect of the plot. Physically, there is an
exaltation of youth and beauty.
On the positive side, the importance of female solidarity and friendship amongst women
is shown in the series; in spite of these characters being strongly individualistic, they
also claim the right to decide on their own lives, to be free and to avoid social
conventionality. With respect to the differences observed between the traditional serials
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679793
(El Cor de la Ciutat, Ventdelplà) and the modern and urbanite Infidels, it should be
recalled that Catalan seriality of the traditional type has shown a special concern for the
treatment of gender from the outset (Poblenou, TV3: 1994).
With respect to the Basque productions, in general and at the quantitative level the
number of women and men in the three Basque series analysed is balanced. Neither in
the leading and secondary roles, nor in those of the extras, are there significant
differences in the number of men and women who play the different characters.
Nonetheless, we cannot overlook the fact that the titles of two of the three Basque series
analysed bear the name of their male protagonists: that is, Martin and Mi querido
Klikowsky, and only in the case of Goenkale is allusion made to a fictional Basque
village. The female roles thus gravitate around these men and their lives, and the women
are never the main protagonists of the TV productions.
We have thought it important to stress the reiteration of certain stereotypes associated
with the female gender and that are above all repeated in the field of work. It is at the
very least curious that the women protagonists of the three Basque television series
analysed basically work in bars and/or as housewives. Women’s access to higher
education is a well-established fact in Basque society (as it is in Spanish and Catalan
society) and their access to jobs of different types is a reality, however this does not find
reflection in these programs. Neither in the roles of the women protagonists of the soap
operas and series, nor in the secondary female roles, can women’s incorporation into
specially qualified work be observed. The women appear as a secretary (Goenkale) or as
a bar keeper (Goenkale Martin and Mi querido Klikowsky). In terms of work, the role of
men as protagonists is always superior. They are thus engaged in professions like radio
journalist (Martin), carpenter (Mi querido Klikowsky) or entrepreneurs (Goenkale).
Although the male role in performing household tasks has been introduced into these
series, in others like Mi querido Klikowsky the classic stereotype of the housewife
represented by a woman continues to be perpetuated, although treated in a humorous
way. We would draw attention to the presence of characters like Koldo or Kándido in
Goenkale, or Martin in the series of that name, who help in household tasks and in
caring for and bringing up the children. Although there is a perpetuation of the cliché of
the Basque woman as being strong and capable of using good criteria in managing her
home and her family (matriarchy) and of being able to control her feelings, on many
occasions this latter facet seems to prevail over the women. Feelings both towards their
family and towards the lover/husband of the women in the Basque productions analysed
often play too prevalent a role in their lives, frequently going beyond what is rational.
As a final conclusion to the study, we would underscore that a certain perpetuation of
gender clichés and stereotypes can be observed in the series analysed, especially with
respect to the following questions:
-The complementarity of women
Martin and Mi querido Klikowsky are two examples of serials that focus on male
characters, around whom the plot revolves. Their titles indicate the importance of this
fact. A series like Infidels, which has a much more modern aesthetic than the other two
Catalan products, presents female characters who are highly dependent on the male
ones, which is normal according to romantic love.
-Women caring for the rest
The stereotype of the woman-career is perpetuated, especially in social and professional
roles, as shown by the female characters in the series analyzed being assigned to jobs
related to service and caring for others (administrative employees, nurses, bar keepers).
-Reification of women
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679794
This is not found in all the series, but in some of them (especially Infidels) the female
protagonists adhere to the existing canon of beauty, slimness and body care prevalent in
contemporary society. Infidels contrasts especially with El cor de la ciutat, in which
women appear represented in a much more heterogeneous way with respect to their
physical appearance and ages, and where a much broader representativeness is sought
(Trini and Remei are overweight; the characters range from teenagers to elderly women
over 60, including young women and women of around 40).
We must also mention some more positive conclusions of the analysis of the
representation of women in the series analysed.
-Women’s incorporation into the world of work. In the six series analysed there is a
predominance of women who work, while, in the second place, there is a limited
representation of young female students and unemployed or retired women.
-Prestigious professions. Some of the female characters of the series analysed have
prestigious professions (Isabel, the mayoress, and Teresa, the doctor in Ventdelplà;
Lidia, the psychiatrist, Cruz, the bank manager, Paula, the journalist and writer, in
Infidels), and social roles and categories are heterogeneous in the case of both male and
female characters, although to a lesser extent in the Basque series.
-Reconciling work and family life. This question is shown in several series and
characters (for example Elisabet, a property agent and single mother in Ventdelplà),
without showing parodic stereotypes as in the previously mentioned case of Lynette in
Desperate Housewives.
-There is only a limited representation of immigrant women in these productions, but
where they are shown is in the more long-running seriality (Goenkale, El cor de la
ciutat, Ventdelplà), in which other questions of social interest also appear and where the
representativeness of age and physique is broader than in the series that ran for fewer
seasons. This more heterogeneous representativeness can be seen in the social classes
and ages found in the Catalan series portraying local customs, far higher than the
representativeness of the Basque series, which do without upper and marginal classes.
-The Catalan-produced fiction series focus on characters that are more individualistic
than those in the Basque series (with the exception of Martín). Besides, in these latter,
female characters tend to be more complementary and secondary than in the Catalan
series.
What we found in the Catalan case is that some apparently modern and urban series
show models of women who give great importance to their physical appearance and
depend sentimentally on men (Infidels); these series are more stereotyped than some
series dealing with social customs (El cor de la ciutat, Ventdelplà), in which equality of
men and women is promoted and many female characters have prestigious jobs (a
mayoress and a doctor in Ventdelplà). In the case of the Basque series we found the
traditional aspect we had expected to encounter, as well as a representation of women in
jobs bearing little resemblance to reality, with an emphasis above all on service jobs
(waitresses). We also observed the weight of matriarchy in Basque society and that the
management of emotions was basically in the hands of women.
The results of this content analysis make it possible to lay a foundation so that future
research on proximate fiction can take account of the point to which gender
representations form part of these products. In recent decades, the role of women has
undergone certain changes thanks to the advances of the feminist movement and
changes that have taken place in work settings. Basque and Catalan fiction has certainly
shown this evolution and made efforts to avoid the perpetuation of stereotypes, but it
has been seen how these still persist. It is therefore necessary to analyze these
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679795
stereotypes in greater depth together with how they are transmitted, especially amongst
the young and adolescent population.
References
ADAMS-PRICE, Carolyn, GOODMAN, Mark, et al., “An Analysis of Aging Women in Film
and Television”, 2003, http://www.clas.ufl.edu/ipsa/2003/goodman.html, accessed 8
July 2011.
ANG, Ien, Watching Dallas. Soap opera and the melodramatic imagination, Routledge,
London, 1996.
BANDURA, Albert, “Social learning theory of aggression”, Journal of Communication, nº 28,
1978, pp. 12-29.
BRYANT, Jennings, ZILLMANN, Dolf (eds.), Media Effects. Advances in Theory and
Research, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, NJ, 2002.
BUSQUETS, Gemma, ARTIGAS, Lourdes, “TV3 substituirà «El cor de la ciutat» al gener per
un serial ambientat a la costa”, El Punt, 12/03/2009,
http://www.elpunt.cat/girona/article/13/20-comunicacio/13335-tv3-substituira-lel-cor-
de-la-ciutatr-al-gener-per-un-serial-ambientat-a-la-costa.html, accessed, 8 July 2011.
COHEN, Jacob, "A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales", Educational and
Psychological Measurement, 20 (1), 1960, pp. 37-46.
DAVIS, Donald M., “Portrayals of Women in Prime-Time Network Television: Some
Demographic Characteristics”, Sex Roles, vol. 23, nº 5-6, 1990, pp. 325-332.
DRIVER, Susan, Queer girls and popular culture: reading, resisting, and creating media, Peter
Lang, New York, 2007.
DURKIN, K., “Television and sex-role acquisition”. The British journal of Social Psychology,
24 (2), 1985, pp. 101-113.
EATON, Carol, “Prime-time stereotyping on the new television networks”, Journalism and
Mass Communication Quarterly, nº 74, 1997, pp. 859-872.
FARIA, Vilmar, POTTER, Joseph E., Television, Telenovelas, and Fertility Change in North-
East Brazil, Population Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, 1994.
FOUTS, Gregory, BURGGRAF, Kimberley, “Television Situation Comedies: Female Body
Images and Verbal Reinforcements”, Sex Roles, vol. 40, nº 5-6, 1999, pp. 473-481.
GALÁN, Elena, “Construcción de género y ficción televisiva en España”, Comunicar XV (28),
2007, pp. 229-236.
GALLAGHER, Margaret, Unequal Opportunities: The Case of Women and the Media, Unesco,
Paris, 1980.
GARCÍA-MUÑOZ, Nuria; FEDELE, Maddalena, GÓMEZ-DÍAZ, Xiana, “The occupational
roles of television fiction characters in Spain: distinguishing traits in gender
representation” Comunicación y Sociedad, vol. XXV, nº. 1, 2012, pp. 349-366.
GERAGHTY, Christine, Women and Soap Opera: A Study of Prime Time Soaps. Polity Press,
Cambridge, 1991.
GERBNER, Goerge, SIGNORIELLI Nancy, Women and Minorities in Television Drama,
1969-1978, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1979.
GORDILLO, Inmaculada, GUARINOS, Virginia (eds.), Todos los cuerpos. El cuerpo en
televisión como obsesión hipermoderna, Babel Editorial, Córdoba (Argentina), 2010.
GREENBERG, Bradley S., BUSSELLE, Rick W, Soap operas and sexual activity, Michigan
State University, Michigan, 1994.
HERRETT-SKJELLUM, J., ALLEN, M., “Television programming and sex stereotyping: A
meta-analysis”, Communication Yearbook, nº 19, 1996, pp.157-185.
HOFFNER, Cynthia, BUCHANAN, Martha, “Young Adults' Wishful Identification With
Television Characters: The Role of Perceived Similarity and Character Attributes”,
Media Pshycology, vol. 7, nº 4, 2005, pp. 325-351.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679796
HOWARD-WILLIAMS, Rowan, KATZ, Elihu, “Did Television Empower Women? The
Introduction of television and the changing status of women in the 1950s”, Journal of
Popular Television, vol. 1, nº 1, 2013, pp. 7-24.
IDESCAT, “Població. 1900-2012. Províncies, Padró Municipal d’Habitants”, in
http://www.idescat.cat/pub/?id=aec&n=245&lang=es, accessed 6 March 2013.
INGHAM, Helen, “The Portrayal of Women on Television”, in
http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/hzi9401.html, 2007, accessed, 8 February, 2012.
INSTITUTO DE LA MUJER, Tratamiento y representación de las mujeres en las teleseries
emitidas por las cadenas de televisión de ámbito nacional, Instituto de la Mujer,
Madrid, 2007.
JOHNSON, Merri Lisa, Third Wave Feminism and Television: Jane Puts it in a Box, IB Tauris,
New York, 2007.
LACALLE, Charo, “Èxits i fracassos. Anàlisi de cas: Temps de silenci i Cuéntame cómo pasó”,
Quaderns del CAC, 2002, pp. 37-49.
LA FERRARA, Eliana, CHONG, Alberto, DURYEA, Suzanne, Soap Operas and Fertility:
Evidence from Brazil, Bread Working Paper nº 172, Bureau for Research and Economic
Analysis of Development, London, 2008.
LAUZEN, Martha, DOZIER David, M.; REYES Barbara, “From Adultescents to Zoomers: An
Examination of Age and Gender in Prime-Time Television”, Communication Quarterly,
vol. 55, nº 3, 2007, pp. 343-357.
MARTÍN-BARBERO, Jesús, De los medios a las mediaciones, Gustavo Gili, México, 1987.
MARTINS, Aline, A família homoparental na fillaô televisiva: as prácticas narrativas do
Brasil e da Espanha como relatos das novas representaçoês afetivo amorosas, UAB
PhD dissertation, Bellaterra, 2012.
MASTRO, Dana E., GREENBERG, Bradley S., “Portrayals of racial minorities on prime time
television”, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 44, 2000, pp. 690-703.
MEDINA, Pilar, et al., “La representación de la maternidad en las series de ficción
norteamericanas. Propuesta para un análisis de contenido, Desperate Housewives y
Brothers & Sisters”, 2010, retrieved from:
http://www.aeic2010malaga.org/upload/ok/137.pdf, on 25 January 2012.
RIVADENEYRA, Rocío, “Gender and Race Portrayals on Spanish-Language Television”, Sex
Roles, 65, 2011, pp. 208-222.
RUIDO, María, “Just do it! Bodies and Images of Women in the New Division of Labour”,
2007, retrieved from http://www.workandwords.net/es/texts/view/501, on 10 March
2012.
SCOTT, Amanda Marie Irene, The roles of women in television situation comedies: a pilot
study, Thesis presented to the Faculty in Communication and Leadership Studies School
of Professional Studies Gonzaga University, 2011,
http://web02.gonzaga.edu/comltheses/proquestftp/Scott_gonzaga_0736M_10072.pdf,
accessed, 8 February, 2012.
SIGNORIELLI, Nancy, BACUE, Aaron, “Recognition and Respect: A Content Analysis of
Prime-Time Television Characters Across Three Decades”, Sex Roles, vol. 40, nº 7-8,
1999, pp. 527-544.
TIGGEMANN, M., PICKERING, A. S., “Role of television in adolescent women's body
dissatisfaction and drive for thinness”, The International Journal of Eating Disorders,
vol. 20, nº 2, 1996, pp. 199-203.
TIMMINS, Kate, “The TV female Paradox” 2011, retrieved from
http://annenberg465.posterous.com/the-tv-female-paradox-tag-dacci, on 15 March
2012).
TOUS ROVIROSA, Anna, “Los rostros de la mujer en la televisión de los Estados Unidos.
Tradición, feminismo y postfeminismo en las series estadounidenses (1950-2010)”, in
LARRONDO, Ainara and MESO, Koldo, 3ª Jornadas sobre mujeres y medios de
comunicación, Servicio editorial de la Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, 2011, pp.
187-202.
TOUS-ROVIROSA, A., MESO AYERDI, K. & SIMELIO SOLA, N. The Representation of Women’s Roles
ISSN02140039©2013Communication&Society/ComunicaciónySociedad,26,3(2013)679797
TOUS ROVIROSA, Anna, El text audiovisual. Anàlisi des d’una perspectiva mediológica,
Doctoral thesis, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, 2008ª, retrieved on 7
July from: www.tdx.cat.
TOUS ROVIROSA, Anna, “Usos i actituds juvenils davant les noves finestres audiovisuals”,
Alfabetització audiovisual, 2008b, http://www.cac.cat/web/recerca/estudis/llistat.jsp,
accessed 7 July 2011.
WEITZ, Rose, "Changing the Scripts: Midlife Women’s Sexuality in Contemporary U.S. Film."
Sexuality & Culture, vol. 14, nº 1, 2009, pp. 17-32.
VILCHES, Lorenzo (coord.), Mercados globales, historias nacionales, Gedisa, Barcelona,
2009.
WEINRAUB, B., “How Desperate Women Saved Desperate Writer”, The New York Times, 23-
10-2004.
... Esos nuevos aspectos que distorsionan la esencia tradicional de los estereotipos y que reestructuran los patrones clásicos generan nuevas tendencias y personajes que reinventan los clichés más cotidianos (Hidalgo, 2015: 3). Varios estudios sobre estereotipos de género en contenidos de ficción señalan una lenta evolución en la composición de los mismos que, a veces, puede incluso producir confusión en el público (Tous et al., 2013;Swink, 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
En los últimos años asistimos al auge de dos fenómenos independientes en el con-sumo cultural del público joven: el aumento del visionado de series de ficción y el éxito mundial de la música urbana en español, especialmente la producida en Latinoamérica. En este trabajo pretendemos estudiar ambas manifestaciones en su conjunto, desde una perspectiva de género necesaria para rei-vindicar el papel protagonístico de la mujer dentro de un estilo musical tachado de misógino y sexista. Las series de ficción, como el resto de productos culturales, son vehículos de proyección social en los que se produce la transmisión, entre otros aspectos, de roles de género. Por tanto, el objetivo de esta investigación es analizar, de forma exploratoria, la representación de los personajes femeninos en las dos únicas series latinoamericanas sobre música urbana protagonizadas por mujeres, Bravas y La Reina del Flow. Para este cometido se ha optado por métodos cualitativos y cuantitativos consistentes en el análisis de contenido atendiendo a la representación estética, psicológica y social de sus personajes femeninos. Los resultados revelan la proyección de tópicos y estereotipos a la vez que se realza el rol de mujeres independientes y empoderadas dentro de un contexto geográfico tradicionalmente machista.
... Los medios de comunicación y en concreto las series televisivas han presentado siempre una capacidad innata a la hora de trasmitir estereotipos, pero igualmente han presentado una capacidad RLCS, Revista Latina de Comunicación Social , 77, 413-430 [Investigación] DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2020-1465| ISSN 1138-5820 | Año 2020 para mostrar y trasformar lo social por medio de la relación que establecen con la audiencia, a través de la identificación con los personajes a la par que la trasmisión de valores y socialización, que son percibidos como algo natural (Tous Rovirosa et al., 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Introducción: Este artículo presenta los resultados parciales de una investigación interdisciplinar consecuencia de un proyecto de innovación subvencionado por la Universidad de Salamanca. Los estudios de género dentro del marco de la interseccionalidad surgen como una herramienta analítica a través de la cual comprender la complejidad del mundo, la diversidad de las personas y de las experiencias. Las desigualdades sociales, en este Introducción: Este artículo presenta los resultados parciales de una investigación interdisciplinar consecuencia de un proyecto de innovación subvencionado por la Universidad de Salamanca. Los estudios de género dentro del marco de la interseccionalidad surgen como una herramienta analítica a través de la cual comprender la complejidad del mundo, la diversidad de las personas y de las experiencias. Las desigualdades sociales, en este caso, relacionadas con el género, la sexualidad, la edad o la capacidad vital, después de la juventud son los motores que subyacen a la investigación. Los medios de comunicación son todopoderosos como pantalla de reflexión de modelos sociales y culturales, de patrones masculinos y femeninos. Metodología: Se utilizó una metodología basada en la aplicación del test de Bechdel para discriminar la presencia y temática dialógica entre las dos protagonistas, y el Inclusion Rydel para evaluar el equilibrio por géneros en los equipos artístico-técnicos. Los objetivos fueron la identificación y ruptura de los estereotipos de género representados en la serie Grace y Frankie, cuyas protagonistas superan la barrera de los 70, continuando con expectativas vitales de forma activa e intensa. Resultados: Se constata un cambio de paradigma de los estereotipos tradicionales dado que las protagonistas de edades avanzadas siguen teniendo principios vitales importantes, con la aceptación de las debilidades consecuencia de la edad como algo natural y existencial. Conclusiones: Los resultados ofrecieron datos sorprendentes en el test de Rydel. caso, relacionadas con el género, la sexualidad, la edad o la capacidad vital, después de la juventud son los motores que subyacen a la investigación. Los medios de comunicación son todopoderosos como pantalla de reflexión de modelos sociales y culturales, de patrones masculinos y femeninos. Metodología: Se utilizó una metodología basada en la aplicación del test de Bechdel para discriminar la presencia y temática dialógica entre las dos protagonistas, y el Inclusion Rydel para evaluar el equilibrio por géneros en los equipos artístico-técnicos. Los objetivos fueron la identificación y ruptura de los estereotipos de género representados en la serie Grace y Frankie, cuyas protagonistas superan la barrera de los 70, continuando con expectativas vitales de forma activa e intensa. Resultados: Se constata un cambio de paradigma de los estereotipos tradicionales dado que las protagonistas de edades avanzadas siguen teniendo principios vitales importantes, con la aceptación de las debilidades consecuencia de la edad como algo natural y existencial. Conclusiones: Los resultados ofrecieron datos sorprendentes en el test de Rydel.
... Y desde entonces ha ido en aumento, hecho que demuestra cómo la ficción internacional, y en concreto la ficción norteamericana, actúa como promotora de nuevas tendencias y patrones audiovisuales que sirven como influencia a la ficción nacional (Hidalgo-Marí, 2017). De todas formas, estos cambios no siempre han conllevado una representación realista de la mujer, ya que algunos estudios han demostrado cómo los hombres siguen teniendo los papeles principales y se siguen manteniendo los estereotipos femeninos (Tous-Rovirosa et al., 2013;Sink, Mastro, 2017); así como que las mujeres con cargos de responsabilidad son caracterizadas frecuentemente de forma negativa, al tiempo que los problemas de conciliación de los roles familiares y profesionales se eluden sistemáticamente (Lacalle, Gómez, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
El objetivo de este estudio es analizar las ficciones televisivas contemporáneas protagonizadas por madres y centradas en el proceso de reproducción y crianza, con el fin de observar qué relatos se muestran de los procesos biológicos vinculados a la maternidad y de la etapa de la crianza. Después de siglos en los que la búsqueda del embarazo, la infertilidad, los abortos, la gestación, las pérdidas perinatales, el parto, la lactancia o el postparto han sido infrarrepresentados en las obras culturales, o tratados de forma simbólica sin incluir la subjetividad femenina, se observará si en la actualidad las reivindicaciones de género, la mayor producción de ficción y la facilidad de acceso a contenidos específicos han generado mayor pluralidad de discursos. A partir del análisis de contenido de cinco series estrenadas en los últimos años se detallarán sus características de producción, cuáles son las etapas de reproducción y crianza más representadas, las connotaciones que obtienen, las problemáticas que muestran y con qué perspectiva se abordan temas como la conciliación, el papel del padre, las relaciones familiares y los cambios en el cuerpo. El estudio concluye que la digitalización y la distribución de contenidos en streaming ha propiciado un aumento de obras que se centran en la etapa de reproducción, que existe una clara relación entre el aumento de mujeres en los equipos creativos y la mayor exploración de estas temáticas y que en ellas se representa la maternidad de forma diversa, incluyendo la descripción detallada de etapas vitales que no habían tenido cabida en la ficción televisiva con anterioridad.
... La televisión, en especial la ficción televisiva, transmite roles y conductas que son fácilmente reproducibles por cualquiera de sus espectadores. Así, la investigación académica, que no ha permanecido ajena al poder que tiene la televisión y la ficción televisiva, ha centrado sus investigaciones en este medio, analizando cómo diferentes colectivos son representados (Galán, 2006;Belmonte y Guillamón, 2008;González-de-Garay, 2009;Lacalle, 2011;Tous, Meso y Simelio, 2013;Ramírez y Cobo, 2013;Marcos-Ramos et al. 2014;etc.). En los estudios de género, la maternidad también ha sido analizada (Chodorow, 1978, Ortner, 1979, Rosaldo, 1979o Firestone, 1976. ...
Article
Full-text available
El presente artículo propone una revisión de los personajes protagonistas lésbicos en las series de televisión de producción española en su relación con la maternidad. Se trata de averiguar si, como tradicionalmente se ha hecho con la mujer, se asocia maternidad -o deseo maternal- con los personajes lésbicos, así como de descubrir de qué manera acceden a la maternidad en cada época histórica y como se representa su experiencia en la crianza de la descendencia. Se concluye que la maternidad sí es importante en las tramas de los personajes lésbicos y que su tratamiento narrativo ha cambiado considerablemente tanto por la forma en la que se accede a la maternidad como por la caracterización de los propios personajes lésbicos.
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyses the acts of sexual violence in the miniseries I May Destroy You (HBO, 2020), with the objective of finding out how they are treated in fiction and identifying the main defining features of their representation from three main perspectives: the individuals involved (aggressor and victim), the act of sexual violence committed and the consequences of said act for the victim. To do this, we will use a methodology focused on content analysis and, based on an analysis sheet, the data obtained from the 12 episodes analyzed are recorded and categorized for subsequent analysis and interpretation. The results show that the representation of sexual violence is carried out from a feminist perspective, far from stereotypes that contribute to perpetuating the male hegemonic perspective, and that said representation has an informative vision which aims to educate the viewer’s gaze in terms of consent and sexual freedom.
Article
Full-text available
En este trabajo se analizan los actos de violencia sexual de la miniserie I Can Destroy You (HBO, 2020) con el fin de conocer qué tratamiento se hace en la ficción de ellos y de identificar los principales rasgos definitorios de su representación desde tres grandes perspectivas: los personajes implicados (agresor y víctima), el acto de violencia sexual acometido y las consecuencias de dicho acto para la víctima. Para ello, se recurre a una metodología centrada en el análisis de contenido y, a partir de una ficha de análisis, se registran y se categorizan los datos para su posterior análisis e interpretación. Los resultados obtenidos ponen de manifiesto que la representación de la violencia sexual se hace desde una perspectiva feminista, alejada de estereotipos que contribuyan a perpetuar la mirada hegemónica masculina y que cuenta con una visión divulgativa que pretende educar la mirada del espectador en materia de consentimiento y libertad sexual.
Article
The vindication of female sport at an international level and the visibility of this subject in the media provided the groundwork for the release of the fictional television series Les de l’hoquei/The Hockey Girls (TV3, 2019–2020; Netflix, 2019). After a successful first season on TV3, it was included in the Netflix catalogue. Through content analysis of its first season and an ad-hoc analysis sheet, we conclude that this series promotes equality by creating a new collective subject that unites men and women. We also find that it builds new models of masculinity, female empowerment, sisterhood and better relations between genders. Therefore, the series moves away from post-feminist postulates and shows that it is still necessary to establish equality between men and women.
Article
Hipsters are considered as one of the most relevant American subcultures at present. However, the term hipster is notoriously difficult to define and has not received sufficient academic attention, especially when referring to women. Thus, one of the main objectives of this interdisciplinary study is to reverse this situation by bringing to light information and bibliography about this prominent cultural phenomenon in the US context. To prove its importance, this theoretical aspect will be complemented by its practical implementation, as this essay includes the evaluation of the representation of the hipster in one of the main cultural products which have reflected it, television and, more concretely, in Lena Dunham’s TV series, Girls. This analysis responds to the aim of discerning if Girls’s alleged hipsterism can be considered authentic and of elucidating the reasons that may have led Dunham to this choice for the creation of her characters and, also, for her self-branding.
Article
Full-text available
El objetivo de este artículo de revisión es ofrecer una valoración de los estudios sobre series televisivas españolas de ficción. La unidad de análisis son los artículos académicos publicados en revistas científicas indexadas en las bases de datos multidisciplinares: Web of Science (WoS), Scopus, y Dialnet, entre 1998 y 2020. Para ello se utiliza una metodología mixta, cuantitativa y cualitativa, basada en el Framework SALSA, con el propósito de construir una revisión bibliográfica de tipo sistematizada. Los resultados muestran que el estudio más habitual es el de la representación que se propone en las series de ficción de determinados grupos o escenarios sociales. Otros acercamientos se refieren al desarrollo de los géneros de ficción televisiva, a las adaptaciones, así como a las audiencias y la recepción de los públicos. Como temas emergentes surgen investigaciones que apuntan a la transmedialidad, las audiencias participativas, los estudios híbridos que explican el contenido desde la producción y la autoría y los trabajos de corte feminista. Entre los vacíos se señalan como oportunidades de investigación enfoques que aborden el lenguaje audiovisual y las estéticas de la ficción televisiva.
Article
Full-text available
La presente investigación aborda, de manera transversal, la representación de género en la ficción televisiva española partiendo de dos estudios elaborados en los años 2010 y 2017. Para ello, se realizó un análisis de contenido de 46 series de televisión producidas en España, con 1187 personajes, para conocer si existe una representación desigual entre hombres y mujeres. Los principales hallazgos indican que, a pesar de la evolución en el tiempo, existe una infrarrepresentación de las mujeres, una excesiva sobrerrepresentación de personajes con orientación heterosexual y de nacionalidad española y una asociación de la mujer con ocupaciones laborales poco cualificadas. Además, sus temas de conversación giran en mayor medida sobre aspectos personales, como familia y amor, que sobre aspectos laborales, más tratados por los personajes masculinos.
Article
Full-text available
This article presents the main findings of a study on the portrayal of occupational roles in fiction series broadcast by the general nationwide channels during the 2009/2010 season in Spain. Fiction is one of the most highly appreciated genres amongst audiences, thus the study of fiction characters allows us to identify the models and roles portrayed and transmitted by television. The gender- related variable shows that the representation of male and female occupational roles in television fiction remains unequal, although there has been some improvement in relation to previous studies.
Article
Full-text available
This chapter reports the results of three meta-analyses of studies considering the relationship between television programming and sexual stereotypes. The first statistical summary indicates that television content contains numerous sexual stereotypes. The results of the meta-analytic summaries of experimental and nonex-perimental investigations demonstrate that exposure to televised material increases the acceptance of sexual stereotypes.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Abstract: Esta investigación tiene como objeto de estudio el análisis de la representación que se hace de la maternidad en la ficción televisiva a través de dos títulos con buenos índices de audiencia en los últimos años: Mujeres Desesperadas y Cinco hermanos. Mediante el análisis de contenido de ambas series, se procede a la delimitación de un tipo de maternidad que entenderemos como 'maternidad intensiva'(siguiendo el concepto de Hays, 1998).
Conference Paper
Full-text available
En este artículo se plantea la presencia del feminismo y el post-feminismo en las series televisivas estadounidenses, con el objetivo de describir los diferentes retratos de la mujer en la ficción seriada. Se describen series contemporáneas femeninas (Gossip Girl, Mujeres desesperadas, United States of Tara) y se recurre a la diacronía del género, desde sus inicios, para comprender sus claves y la mella que la evolución social en cuanto al feminismo ha hecho en dichos productos. Se completa el texto con un listado de las series femeninas estadounidenses (1950-2010). Se concluye que las series centradas en mujeres no suelen ser feministas, pero que, paralelamente, se produce una inclusión de series de profesionales centradas en mujeres, que conviven con productos televisivos de ridiculización de la mujer o de reducción de la mujer a aspectos superficiales (físico y vestimenta) vinculados a la dependencia del hombre.
Article
This article examines the possibility that the introduction of television may have played a role in women’s empowerment. Focusing primarily on the historical context of the post-war United States, this article takes as its starting point the temporal coincidence of the very rapid uptake of television in the late 1940s and 1950s, followed in the 1960s by the women’s liberation movement and the increasing social status for women. It draws from a wide range of literature, focusing on three broad areas: the technological features of television, in particular its equalizing mode of address; the domestic and social context to which it was introduced; and the subversive and counter-hegemonic content that was available on early television.
Article
El text audiovisual: Anàlisi des d'una perspectiva mediològica és una investigació de cinc sèries dels Estats Units: El ala oeste de la Casa Blanca (The west wing, NBC: 1999-2006), Perdidos (Lost, ABC: 2004- ), Mujeres desesperadas (Desperate housewives, ABC: 2004- ), House (House, Fox: 2004- ) i CSI: Las Vegas (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS: 2000- ), pel que fa als contextos productius, les característiques genèriques i les invariants temàtiques. S'hi desenvolupa una metodologia sincrètica (Lévi-Strauss, 1969; Dumézil, 1973; Ginzburg, 2003; Nagy, 2006), i s'estudia la seva adscripció a un gènere concret (perspectiva diacrònica) i la presència i actualització del mite mitjançant la recurrència temàtica (perspectiva sincrònica). La pervivència de la recurrència temàtica en les sèries és la hipòtesi de partida de la recerca. S'analitza la influència de les diferents eres televisives en la serialitat estudiada.
Article
This content analysis of week-long samples ofprime-time network dramatic programs broadcast betweenthe fall of 1967 and the spring of 1998 found thatwomenconsistently receive less recognition than men on television. While programs broadcast in the1990's had more women than those broadcast in the 1960'sand early 1970's, the women were still under representedin relation to their numbers in the U.S. population. There has been, however, somechange in the amount and degree of respect given towomen on prime time. While women are still categorizedas younger than their male counterparts, over the past 30 years more women are presented as employedoutside the home and the percentage of women cast inmore prestigious occupations has increased considerably.Whereas in the 1970's about a quarter of the women were depicted in traditionally femaleoccupations such as teachers or nurses, during the1980's and 1990's a smaller portion of the women werecast in these jobs. In contrast, the percent of women intraditional male or genderneutral jobs increasedsignificantly from the 1970's to the 1990's.
Article
A content analysis of 28 different prime-timetelevision situation comedies examined the body weightsof 52 central female characters (88% White, 10% Black,2% Asian), the verbal comments they received from other characters as a function of bodyweight, and their self-comments with respect to theirown body weight, shape and dieting behaviors. Comparedwith the general population, below average central female characters were over-represented insituation comedies; above average weight characters wereunder-represented. Below average weight femalecharacters received significantly more positive verbal comments from male characters with regards tobody weight and shape than their heavier counterparts.Dieting female characters gave themselves significantlymore verbal punishment for their body weight and shape than those less involved in dieting.This combination of modeling the thin ideal and theverbal reinforcement associated with this modelinglikely contributes to the internalization of the thin ideal and may put some young female viewers atrisk for developing eating disorders.