University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


This content analysis examined the use of gender stereotypes, in the forms of product association and various behaviors traditionally expected of a particular gender, in children’s advertisements aired on Nickelodeon network. In spite of the current trend of Fem-vertising and successful campaigns such as Always’s #LikeAGirl, results of this study revealed that although children’s commercials appear to be breaking away from some long-standing gender stereotypes, many stereotypes remain. These stereotypes can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem, self-view and self-realization. We find that commercials on Nickelodeon favor boy characters in overall time on-screen while girls-only commercials made up the lowest percent of advertisements in the sample. Additionally, children’s commercials reinforce the social expectation that boys play outdoors with construction and transportation toys, while girls play indoors with dolls and stuffed animals. Enduring behavioral stereotypes include the idea that boys are competitive and aggressive, while girls are nurturing and domestic.