The issue of gender bias on television has been a hot topic for quite some time. In each different category of shows, the effect of gender bias is greatly fluctuated. Though, in each of the four categories of nightly news, situational comedies, drama's, and children's programs, all showed signs of bias in them.
The bias of women in nightly news is one of the most obvious. Most females on nighttime television are young, attractive, thin, and ornamental. Most female characters appear to be either under 35 or over 50, where middle-aged women are rare. The nightly new show "The O"Reily Factor", an hour-long news program, there were a total of 2 women with a total airtime of 4 minutes. Females are consistently placed in situations where looks count more than brains, and helpless and incompetent behaviors are expected. .
In the drama category, the bias was a little less of severity. In the instance of "JAG: Judge Advocate General", the power role of women was slightly less than of the male counterparts. While there was a male and female character with the same rank, the show portrays a male superiority over the "equal" female. The main bias that surfaced in this show was that of the lower ranked officers, who both females were very much portrayed as the "catfight", and "back stabbing" that is often portrayed upon the females in television.
Gender bias in comedies is another that lends itself to male domination. On the ABC show "Friends", the women are portrayed to work for a clothing designer, a restaurant kitchen, and one that is a "hippy-type" floater. While the men are a business professional, a anthropologist, and a TV actor. The gender bias then goes past that point to the competence of the individuals themselves. The females all have a more "flighty" personality to them, while the men are a more grounded into their lives. The females are often shown to move jobs due to "petty issues", while the males are career minded and stay in the field and company for long periods of time.