Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

The Portrayal of Women in Prime-Time Crime Dramas: A Content Analysis of Law and Order Special Victims Unit

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

There is little research on the portrayal of women and the evolution of their roles in crime dramas on prime-time television. This research explores the current portrayal of women in speaking roles in the prime-time crime drama Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. This research explores the evolution of women's roles using episodes from the first, fifth and seventh seasons spanning from 1999 - 2006. All women with speaking roles were coded for multiple characteristics including occupation, marital status, and personality traits. Initial findings show that, although progress has been made regarding the portrayal of women on prime-time television, many trends that were present in research conducted over a decade ago are still present in the portrayal of women today. Males still outnumber females by 20%. There has been only a minimal change in the number of Hispanic and Asian women in prime-time television which shows that there is still a lack of diverse representation of women in prime-time television.

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The Portrayal of Women in Prime-Time Crime Dramas: A Content Analysis of Law and Order Special Victims Unit

There is little research on the portrayal of women and the evolution of their roles in crime dramas on prime-time television. This research explores the current portrayal of women in speaking roles in the prime-time crime drama Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. This research explores the evolution of women's roles using episodes from the first, fifth and seventh seasons spanning from 1999 - 2006. All women with speaking roles were coded for multiple characteristics including occupation, marital status, and personality traits. Initial findings show that, although progress has been made regarding the portrayal of women on prime-time television, many trends that were present in research conducted over a decade ago are still present in the portrayal of women today. Males still outnumber females by 20%. There has been only a minimal change in the number of Hispanic and Asian women in prime-time television which shows that there is still a lack of diverse representation of women in prime-time television.