This dissertation explores the ideology of the role that the media plays in shaping gender roles. This is a study which has been going on over some time and this study will be a comparative and explanatory study on the analysis of how the media has become pivotal in shaping gender roles amongst the young adults in Mumbai and for this study, the evaluation will be based on the portrayal of women and even men in Indian television serials and commercials. The main type of media that the later on data collection will be analyzed on will be of Indian media which included only Indian serials and Indian commercials or the Indian television serials. Here the serial’s theme and background is of the Indian family orientation where a family is playing their roles and their daily life is represented.


Gender roles play an important part in shaping who we are and what is expected of us. This study will especially focus on what is expected of men and women in regards to expression, emotions, and relationships which has been trough the relation, manipulation, or even socialization of the media and its agencies. Media plays and has always played an immense role in creating social norms because various forms of media and its agencies including advertisements, television, and film, are present almost everywhere in this modern-day world. Gender roles as an example exist mainly because society as a whole chooses to accept them, but they are perpetuated and rephrased by the media.

Conspicuous and curious viewers must be aware of what the media is presenting to them, and make sure that they are not actively participating in a culture of oppression. The world of media has played and continues to play a significant role in shaping numerous trends in most issues within society. Media programs and their representations can influence the perceptions of people concerning the nature, functions, and behaviour of different gender in society. Studies conducted about the contribution of the print and electronic media indicate that the ability of individuals to comprehend their position in society depends heavily on the influences of media. In this study, the research seeks to explore the significant relationship that exists between media representation of the concept or nature of gender, and the image shaped by the media as the social image through which the society views its self.

This significance is not only persistent during the later period of life one’s life but also even on young children, gender roles are being pushed through advertisements. There are many advertisements where one can see a boy playing with Barbies and girls playing with hot wheels which is a toy car figure or model. These kinds of advertisements may be sending different messages to the little children and may have even framed it to be boys versus girls scenario.

This may be only one of the instances but the media is sending them the message without being stopped, but there are also advertisements like for Tide, a Proctor and Gamble laundry detergent, has taken its advertisement in a better direction, recently showing a clip where the leading male actor proudly proclaims that he is a stay at home dad, and later goes on to braid his daughter’s hair. By showing a man playing out typically “feminine” behaviours, Tide is promoting more equality in society.

Although numerous studies have studied the effects of media on social issues, limited emphasis, confront the role played by media images in shaping the perceptions about different gender., the study can also offer an insight into the role played by the media in stimulating gender perceptions. More specifically, this research shall be beneficial in contributing to the development of the field of sociological studies. The research serves as a basis for conducting future studies.

Statement – that Indian serials have a pivotal role in shaping gender roles and portraying expectations of society.


  • To find out Indian media’s (Indian serials and commercials) role in determining gender roles in modern society.
  • Does gender image depend upon the value images played by this type of Indian media?
  • Do these kinds of Indian medium contribute to gender parities among individuals?
  • To determine the effect of media on value creation among different gender
  • To see if there is a positive correlation between media representations and the nature of the image portrayed in society.


Primary data will be collected through surveys, interviews, reports, and questionnaires and secondary data will be collected through the means of published articles books or websites concerning the topic, this content will be of a case study. For this dissertation, the researcher will also be using the inverted funnel approach which is a way of ordering questions in a questionnaire where the specific questions are asked before the general questions and this approach is being used since it is unknown whether my respondents will or will not have a strong feeling or a general view on the subject.

The questionnaires will be framed in English and will also be explained, if not clear in other dialects like Hindi and Assamese to the subjects. My research design will be a combination of explanatory research design as I will be building up a working knowledge about the theme of the subject and also a descriptive research design as I will explore converting the social field which is my research into numerical data as well.


The ideology of this dissertation topic is a vast ongoing work that can be is being studied in great detail. There are many comparative studies, case studies, experiments of various kinds attached to it. Julia T. Woods’s article “Gender Media: the influence of media on views of gender” is one platform that depicts how many elements which is portrayed in media can influence gender behaviours and roles. She discusses the Themes in media and also the interpretation of it such as underrepresentation of a woman, stereotypical portrayals of men, women’s dependence and man’s independence, stereotypical images of the relationship between men and women, etc.

The repression of women is an ongoing fight that has been going on for a long period and the media mostly do not successfully showcase this issue in the modern-day world as well. The stereotypical roles of women and even men have played a crucial role in moulding gender roles in India.

When we watch a movie or a television series we always see how the male is usually the more dominant character and the woman is the more submissive one. The roles of women are romanticized on how she typically waits for her prince charming and how he is supposed to do anything she wants. This portrayal of the stereotypical woman is not very accurate as to why do the women have to wait for her prince charming and why does he have to do whatever she wants? If a girl sees this she may interpret it in a way that may jeopardize her social image.

This notion may set the bar very high for her expectation of men and she may never be satisfied with anything she has or gets. The rooting of this notion may be scared as well; the girl may seem more demanding and selfish.

This notion may affect boys as well, stereotypically they may feel overwhelmed by the pressure of the society already but romanticizing a stereotypical male may make the boy tough and make him feel like he is a king for being a boy and he will have a beautiful girl with him all the time but few others can interpret the roles of men in a way where they can feel victimized and owing to someone, they may think they only have to follow orders and many elements can cause stress, pressure, and agony as they might fear what will happen if they fail to be an ideal man, they might feel inferior, useless, incapable of love and many other elements maybe lead them to evaluate them negatively.

There are also positive sides to this where a boy might gain confidence, charisma, charm, and they may seek out to be a real gentleman. Before we go any further we should also know what the meaning of an “ideal” man is, generally ideal man is our stereotypical male who is romanticized, who we call the man that every woman desires, who needs to be charming, charismatic, a good orator, and flawless in every action. This is usually how an ideal man is denoted.

Information is power. It is a source of knowledge. The modern age is the age of information. Information plays an important role in every sphere of life. This is a very accurate phrase and it is very self-explanatory, as in S.J. Tamakuwala’s chapter three “Mass media and gender stereotype” explains what media is and what kind of problems it is upbringing through the depiction and means of advertisements and also touching the functional perspectives of it.

Adhikari Sharda’s journal, “Media and Gender Stereotyping: The need for Media Literacy” talks about how media channels emphasize more on or tend to give more preference to political and economic issues and also try and repress social issues and especially issues of women. This has lead to the issues on women take a backseat Media can play a significant role in sensitizing the society about gender issues.

The topic that she talks about is another very sensible and important issue; it is very sensitive but in the modern-day world especially in India social issues have been discarded for a long period now. Many issues like Dalit issues, minority issues, and many other issues were not put under the limelight and another very important element that has been repressed or not put under the limelight is the issue of the problems connected with gender especially women.

This part of the study deconstructs the media and criticizes the unfair trade of the media content that a person consumes. Media influence has increased to such an extent that an individual finds it difficult to maintain an identity and self-understanding without using media is the reference point. The power of the media in shaping the world’s perception has increased manifold over the years. Due to the outreach and technological sophistication, Media’s role has now expanded and increased beyond the mere supply of information.

Media can effectively shape public opinion, influence personal beliefs, and even alter people’s self-perceptions. Ideologies thought processes, and the methods of socialization are greatly influenced by the media. It is time that the media becomes highly sensitive to gender issues. There is no doubt that the stereotypical portrayal of women and minorities in India could help to reinforce cultural stereotypes rather than stimulate new thinking about the roles in Society.

There are also gender differences seen in some Social situations, the romanticism of the ideal male is one of the biggest issues that the media can portray, it may not be bad intentionally or directed towards anyone but this is a sensitive world and romanticism of an ideal man can be interpreted in many ways hence if evaluated negatively can cause issues.

In the portrayal of social roles, it demands that the head of the family is always a male. He is also the main breadwinner while the woman is usually seen as a house-maker, nurturer, and caregiver. In political situations, power-sharing between men and women is biased and not equally distributed; Men are seen mostly at a higher level of political field in the national forum, while women are expected to be at the local level, but this has changed throughout times and more women are getting representation in the national lever as wee, we can take our first female prime minister, Indira Gandhi but this is still an ongoing fight and more women should represent at national levels.

Even though the procedure of getting representation is fair and equal for males and females both in India, Women tend to dig through a deeper struggle than men in getting national representation. The political scenario is given a lot of importance because present-day Indian media is very political and this can in turn play in shaping minds and gender roles.

The medial cover a lot of political elements and the repression of women can be seen here as well. The educational situations through media and in reality portray that there is an obvious definite gender bias in educational opportunities and expectations. It is the boy in the family who gets the resources for higher education. Girls are usually expected to go to less challenging academic fields, but it should be noted that this was usually a traditional ideology and this has been modified over time.

More women are studying now and are completing their higher studies but some sections of society still believe in the traditional way of education and the portrayal of this in through the medium of media may be harmful or even beneficial in the long run. Harmful because it is another form of repression of women in India and can psychologically affect a person. A young girl may think that a higher study is something that she cannot do nor has no access to, it may promote this tradition in some people.  It can be good as exposure to this kind of issue can raise awareness and people will fight to break the barriers to overcome this injustice.

The financial issue is also important. Usually, in media, it is portrayed that a woman must marry a man who earns more than she does or she is arranged with someone like that. This is completely false and it may even affect a man’s self-evaluation if this is an issue that is portrayed through media. There should be equality and a man should not feel inferior to a woman if he earns lesser than her, but the society has portrayed this in such a way that this becomes unacceptable by many and some may even give the males the upper hand or better opportunity to prosper. We also see a wide gap between access to lucrative careers and finance between a male and a female. For example credit and loans; land ownership policies, etc are more biased towards men as portrayed by the media.

Media Content and Gender Identity: Deodrin Correa (2011) in ‘The Construction of gender identity in India through television advertisements: A semiotic analysis’, this is a part of Adhikari Sharda’s journal where she emphasizes about an investigation on how television advertisements in India construct or mould gender identity. Advertisements are something that is part of every Indian’s daily life it comes in many forms like billboards, newspapers but the most eye citing of them all is through motion pictures like television commercials.

In this investigation, some advertisements appeared during popular Indian television serials which were obtained from a local video rental outlet and recorded every week for six months. A representative sample was then screened and used for analysis. This study employed and explored semiotics as a method for analyzing the ideological messages of Indian television advertisements and commercials. Here, Correa found out that most of the advertisements or commercials involved domesticity and emphasized the traditional role of women as a wife and mother which by many are assumed to be the ethical role and this is stereotypical.

Through the ideologically and stereotypically constructed messages of the advertisements, the domestic roles of women were made to be seen normal while highlighting their traditional bearings. This study is one of the first major studies of the vicious cycle or connection between the media and the construction or moulding of gender identity in India during this present day.

Therefore, this study will be repeatedly referred by the policymakers as well as educators for developing and implementing media literacy programs that aim at developing student’s critical thinking and their ability or capability to evaluate the role and power of the media in lives. In the recent past there have been many and numerous attempts to project images of women in power and authority to showcase and denote their empowerment, these images supposedly attempted to erase or eradicate the already established negative gender stereotyping and challenge these elements for the development of the Indian mindset. They usually try and be more different from the typical objectification of women although, after digging it deeper it was found that most of these so-called ‘challenging’ and even ‘feminist’ images served only to reinforce the norm and form they were refuting.

For example, men working in kitchens or using domestic appliances are portrayed as stupid, incompetent, very unlikely, and as misfits. Or a man taking care of an infant does not seem likely. The general public laughs at these male shenanigans because we feel that it is strange for men to work in a kitchen or take care of a child, it is a woman who should be working in the kitchen and taking care of a child. The men appear stupid because stereotypically they do not belong in the kitchen or with an infant at least it is never shown in any advertisement where the father is with an infant and usually it is the mother who takes care of the child.

We are therefore reinforcing the common and traditional stereotype that women are born to be in a kitchen and take care of a child while for men it would be stupid to work in a kitchen or take care of an infant. In these subtle ways and through these undertones of these gender ideologies the media creates gender bias in our society and imbibes it in the cognitive processing of an advertising consuming population. Similarly, women in positions of power and authority often run the risk of appearing non-feminine or even outlandish in media.

These portrayals reinforce gender stereotypes. An authoritative, powerful woman is usually seen as aberrance in society and portrayed as one neglecting her family roles and other stereotypical feminine chores. Usually, in a television serial, an ambitious career woman is often portrayed as greedy, selfish, and usually even made the antagonist while men tend to be portrayed as breadwinner, ambitious, and usually the protagonist.

With very few exceptions, the mainstream media usually carry on these stereotypical gender-based divisions and explore its dimensions. There always seems to be a perplexity regarding the media’s viewpoint of women and their roles in society. The transition from a submissive role to an independent one is usually the one that the media is finding hard to depict or portray. A woman still has this everlasting stereotypical image of being the one restricted to the boundaries, duties, and responsibilities of her home and her family roles. Then there exists the uber woman who knows what she wants and usually gets it these are two very contradictory but not necessarily mutually exclusive images of women comes up.

For example, in an advertisement, the lady of the house is shown doing all the household chores while catering to the beck and call of all the other members of the family. A backache forces her to take a break from her work. The family acknowledges her pain and they try and help her by passing on a tube of a pain reliever which the husband offers to apply on her. After a short relief, she is back on her feet catering to the orders and requests from her family.

The message here is conveyed as her being docile, submissive and this depicts the nature and characteristics of women. She is being reduced to an object for satisfying the needs of her family. The dangerous consequence of objectifying women has been highlighted by Dr Jean Kilbourne who notes that “turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step in justifying violence against that person.”

Caroline Knorr in her article of explains evidently that, what media teach kids about gender can have a lasting effect. This was mentioned in her article of common sense Media and was displayed by the CNN website. In this article of hers, she explains how media can shape gender roles which are the motive of this dissertation as well, this can be used as a comparative study on the elaborative side of how cognitive processes in young minds can frame their thought processes through their lives. In this article, it is explained how gender stereotypes affect the minds of children. She states that “It’s not just one movie. It’s not just one TV show.

Its constant exposure to the same dated concepts in the media over and over, starting before preschool and lasting lifetime concepts like Boys are smarter than girls; certain jobs are best for men and others for women; that girls are responsible for their sexual assaults.” We can completely agree on the statements made here, as it was explained even earlier about Indian advertisement and the concept of an ideal man, and the other elements that were explored we have face gender stereotyping from our society at some point in our lives.

Every person goes through this phase, for example, if you are watching a typical movie with your parents when you were a child, and this movie has an ideal man playing a protagonist or it may even be a superhero movie where the heroes are always portrayed as the standout and the one with the most power, parents tend to teach their children a lesson of how they should be like the hero of the movie. Usually, most of the superhero movies have men playing the protagonist and this may affect girls and may make them feel inferior to men or portray only them as superheroes and feel they are the ones who always need help from men and start victimizing them.

There are reports according to which there was an analysis of more than one hundred and fifty articles, books and other social and scientific research experiments where typical gender stereotypes in movies and on television series are more than persistent and relentlessly shown and they are quite amazingly effective at moulding young minds and teaching children what our culture and society expect from boys and girl. Movies and television series are emphasized her because in this modern-day these are the media contents that are consumed the most and there are also videos and commercials which are on par with movies and series.

The element that makes this message stick and herder for parents to counteract is that they are timed for precise and specific stages in children’s development and with their tender age they are very receptive to their influence. This article stated this and it always explores the dimension of how kids learn about gender stereotypes. Here an explanation is elaborated where preschoolers are taken into account that is just beginning to identify themselves as a specific gender which is a boy or a girl. The characters that they see on television and in movies often have an evident masculine or feminine manifestation like a superhero having big biceps or a princess having long beautiful hair, these characteristics are usually associated with specific traits or elements like big muscles usually implies being strong, brave, fearful, bold, daring, or fearful, meek, etc.

Now looking forward by a few years when the kids reach another tender age which is the teenage, it is explained that when characters begin to wrestle with relationships, sex and job prospects, that character of the strong and brave superhero becomes aggressive, hostile and dominant whereas the fearful princess becomes submissive and weak. For the youth audience who are consuming such content apprehend ideas on how to behave and what to become, these characterizations can lead to false assumptions and damaging conclusions. These extremely oversimplified portrayals of these characters play out in numerous ways over and over again.

Finally, according to the report, lifelong exposure to gender-stereotypical media becomes so ingrained in the minds that it can even affect a child’s career choices, evaluation of self-worth, relationships, ability to achieve their full potential, and many other stepping stones of life. Many parents are concerned about these issues, they believe the media has a significant influence on their kids and it is true, from how girls should look and behave to how seeing violence can affect the belief of the boys about themselves.

Fortunately, parents can assert control over the messages that movies and series dishes out because we know that exaggerating the differences between boys and girls is just a way to keep the audience entertained. It’s not what one wants their kids to emulate or the process.

While there are movies and television series that defy gender stereotypes the movie industry is making progress for empowerment, for example as we have talked only about a superhero movie, the Avengers endgame which was released during 2019 presented a scene where all the female superheroes unite and fight alongside each other against the evil. This scene from the motion picture was evaluated very positively by the public and is one of the baby steps that the industry is taking for empowerment.

Lastly, one cannot prevent or stop your kids from seeing everything that sends the wrong message and kids usually will probably prefer media that reinforces stereotypes, fortunately, the most powerful messages kids absorb are from their peers, parents, and role models. When an effective body actively portrays gender equality, speak out against stereotypes, and challenge outdated ideas, kids will hear that loud and clear. Choosing quality media that reflects good values to kids about the movies and television series they watch should be given priority and there should be a modification of this in stages as children and pick up new interests.


Most of what this topic is about has already has been discussed or described the section about the review of the literature but this too conventionally needs to be explained as this is a crucial element that binds the entire research. Coming to a dimension more inclined to the kids of Mumbai, their view on gender and its portrayal in media may be subsequently different than the people of rural places in India or even the more orthodox states with lesser development and even lesser medium through which media content can be presented.

Mumbai is an urban city with many resources and is a very advanced city compared to most of the cities present in the subcontinent of India. The content which Indian media portrays is usually very gender stereotypical for instance of advertisements, if there is an advertisement for any household product such as cooking ingredients, detergents, cleaning products it is usually portrayed by a female. It is shown either in pictures where she holds and presents the product or even in television commercials where she is shown in action using that product, etc. For this study Indian television serials and commercials will be evaluated, where the basic notions will mostly be of the objectification of women in Indian commercials or serials, stereotypical portrayal of women in Indian television, and commercials.

Here, stereotypical means pertaining the characteristics of a sanskari women where a woman is supposed to mostly listen to their families and are suppressed due to the presence of patriarchy, they are mean to obey they families orders and only take care of the households and if she does anything unethical according to of societal standards like engage in sexual activities or even extramarital affair, consumption of contrabands and alcohol, etc. this notion is mainly the base because Indian television has many entertainment channels which broadcast serials which is about or revolves around the Indian household and these are also known and Indian drama or Indian soaps.

Indian television serials still portray stereotypical notions of angry mothers-in-law, weeping daughters-in-law, women always carrying out the household chores in traditional or ethnic outfits which and are always decked in jewellery or as Indians like to call it Shringar, which means women getting dressed in a very ornamental way for the presentation of herself. They show very less working women and the working women culture in Indian television serials. CID, for instance, is of the few shows that represent women working and their working culture as well.

Conventionally there are always elements of disbeliefs, suspense which is expected from these television series for entertainment purpose but this may not always send out a right message to the viewers. Indian women in these televised series are constantly stereotyped as timid, sanskari, good, and if they do not follow traditional societal norms are branded as uncultured, uncouth or bad women and in the mindset of the masses, it may not even innate the notions of sexism and patriarchy which is already embedded in these mediums of Indian television media. Many educated urban Indian women do not even watch these Indian television dramas or serials in the modern-day because of the stereotypes and traditional values attached to it and the consumption pattern of media content is more oriented towards American dramas as they are more flexible in the idea of gender portrayals and representation compared to Indian dramas.

Commercials have been the catalysts of people’s aspirations for over many years and in their journey to sell their products, Indian commercials or advertisements have had many undertones of some socio-cultural dimensions that may even be sensitive to a large population. The concentration on Indian commercials or advertisements has been placed in this study as an alternative to Indian serials and also for the comparison of the socio-cultural dimensions of the two and also because it is something that spectators are always exposed to during commercial breaks between television broadcasting.

Not only women are subjects of objectification in Indian television commercials but men are subjects to objectification in it as well. Many products highlight superficial elements of men to provide aspiration to the targeted spectators, for instance, men are shown half-naked just to promote a can of deodorant. There are countless commercials in the Indian advertisement scenario that objectifies women even for a small product and many instances of how even selling of household products are represented through women in the scenario.

This is very relatable to the kind of stereotype that has been explained of a woman being sanskari and also about the household activities that the women carry out. In advertisements for any cooking product or things like Horlicks and various protein mixes it is always typically a woman who represents a story of how she uses the sponsored product, to cook her meals.

Also for detergents and other products that are used for cleaning, a typical advertisement of the product will show how the sponsored product has made the woman’s work which is cleaning easier or faster. Indian television commercials have evolved significantly over the last few decades and they have been the catalyst and even reflection of societal aspirations or even of a society’s aspiration if we look in more particularity. In their endeavour to sell or persuade, they have created images and metaphors which over time have assumed strong socio-cultural dimensions and the physical images of these dimensions have indeed been very overwhelming.

Indian televised commercials or advertisement has not only created a perfect image but also has woven many pressing narratives that make the desire to achieve that perfection imperative and these images down the line have somewhere gotten domesticated and appropriated through time resulting in formulating a stereotype for gender and how they promote their product by relating it to a certain gender.

However in the modern times, people are trying to challenge these traditional norms and be more inclusive to an open-minded system, for instance, a commercial by Amway which is a company producing beauty enhancing products, portrayed a stereotypically Sanskari girl and it seems she has come home from a long visit someplace else, as soon as she steps out of her vehicle everyone in the family blesses her and then comes out another girl who is covered in tattoos and has piercings who steps out of the same vehicle, she seemed to shock the whole family but after a certain pause, the whole family blessed her and greets her as well even though she is not the typical ‘sanskari’ kind and seems like a rebel or what the sanskari mindset would consider a bad woman.

A women usually, since their childhood is programmed or at least oriented to look and be perfect or ideal, the ideal woman by society like in the Indian scenario means a woman should be tall, thin, gorgeous, formulating an image of perfection which is very superficial and the Indian advertisements gladly exploit these ideas to see off their product as well.

Advertisements for beauty products are the ones which have their base of the objectification of gender and many women even want to conform to these values or notions of an ideal woman, many feel if they cannot be an ideal woman they can use these products to at least being close to an ideal woman hence these companies are successful in this persuasion manner and earn through the production of commercials which objectifies gender. Advertisements at many levels carry out elements that they should not be carried out as it may contain undertones of ideas which may be sensitive to society. At times in Indian commercials portray men wired to desire and see a woman as such without a hunch of unpleasant attitude and Indian advertisements have normalized such kind of behaviour.


For this research, there has a been a total of 65 samples that have been collected or there were 65 respondents for the survey that was formulated by the researcher and there were also 5 samples for the interviews that have been conducted by the researchers, hence there was a total of 70 respondents and this is the sample group as well. The target group for the research data collection was adults ageing around 20-year-olds to 40 years old, having access to television with DTH service carriers to have an exposure to Indian television serials and also ones who have consumed the related content.

The reason behind the range of age difference of the target group was to analyze the views and perspectives of different generations in the context of the research and see how much the data or their answers vary. Almost 48 per cent of the subjects or participants were from the age group of 20 to 26 years which is relatively a younger generation and another 33 per cent of the subjects belonged to the age group of 33 to 40 years which is a comparatively older generation.

The explanation of the term ‘sanskari’ in the context of this research study has been done to the subjects orally for the ones who volunteered for an interview and in writing or it has been mentioned in the questionnaire itself for the participants who responded through surveys. There was even an option of executing an interview in a different dialect which would be either Hindi or Assamese apart from the standard dialect which is English since some may not be able to follow it.


There have been some limitations during formulation data and collecting responses from participants who were faced by the researcher. The participants were not very convincing in volunteering in the first place and many of them justify it by stating that they were busy at the moment hence it took a while for the participants to send in the responses and for many of the participants I had to personally request them to fill in the questionnaire even though it would just take around 5 to 7 minutes of their time.

More or less some participants also believed that taking this survey would fetch them some kind of reward and hence but this was not true and hence their expectations were not met but a thank you note was delivered to many of the participants who did fill in the survey. It was also difficult to take the interviews and this too came with few limitations as well but the limitations here were external in some cases. Few of the participants who were willing to be interviews dwelled in places that were far from the area where the researcher resides.

Few of them were professionals hence they had a strict schedule according to which the researcher had to adjust. There was a lot of travelling during the peak hours and traffic became another issue as Mumbai is infamous for its traffic congestions stating 4th in the world rankings. During the interviews, most of the participants cooperated but some terms needed explanations for two of the participants since their English was not very strong hence the questionnaire was also explained in another dialect which was Hindi.


For the data and data analysis, data is graphically represented and each data is analyzed in the following relating to the questionnaire that was circulated. Most of the participants or subjects who volunteered for this study were professionals and were working men or women; almost 30% of the subjects were not professionals which also includes housewives. All the participants belonged to the city of Mumbai.

figure 1

Fig. 01

It represents the distribution of the survey between genders i.e. the ratio of the participants as to which gender they identified with. The graph represents that it is almost divided into two halves where 53.5% were males and 46.5% of the participants were females. The representation of this is essential as it gives an overview of the responses as to the difference or even similarity between the values and opinions of the different genders. There were no participants that identify themselves with any other gender groups and all the subjects were either males or females. In the 5 interviews that were conducted four of the participants were females and only of them was a male.

figure 2

Fig. 02

It mostly represents what the participants feel about the objectification of women in Indian serials and commercials. 76.7%, which is also the majority of the participants feel that women are objectified in the mentioned branch of Indian media and only 7% of the participants feel 7that women are not objectified in the mentioned form of Indian media and the other 16% of them have a relatively neutral view about it.

Objectification has been prolonged debate over time, while some have their personal views about it; objectification is a very sensitive issue for many others. The literature review presented has also mentioned many ways in which women and even men are objectified it has to be looked at from a bigger point than just its embodiment. Objectification also leads to value formation at the time concerning gender, since women have been objectified extensively compared to men, it leads to some factor in which women are looked at a certain way by men just for the sole purpose of entertainment or even attraction it gives the chance for the people to exploit it.

Due to the embodiment of the objectification of women, to a wider extent compared to men acts as a positive catalyst for men to even establish authority over men. It is clearly represented in the following figure i.e. figure .03 that the majority of the participants feel that women are objectified more than men as 46.5% of the subjects feel that men are objectifies but 76.7% of the participants feel that women are objectified, hence the justification of the comparison.

The objectification of men is relatively more recent and many factors engage in it like the change during time, gender equality, etc. All five participants who were part of the interview procedure have also expressed that they feel women are objectified, interestingly three out of four of the female interview participants felt that women are elements of objectification in the mentioned form of Indian media and the two participants of whom one was a male and the other one was a woman expressed that men are elements of objectification along with women.

figure 3

Fig. 03

As represented and mentioned in fig. 02 the objectification of men is a recent trend due to some reasons that were mentioned, the conclusion of male objectification was drawn by the researcher as most of the participants who felt men are objectified along with women were younger with i.e. around 20 to 30 years old and the ones who felt that men are not objectified or only women are objectified ranged around 33 to 40 years old, which is comparatively of an elder sample.

There were many changes with the progression through time like trends, and even the orientation and construction of these new forms of media where the objectification of men was prevalent and these factors may have played as a factor to have portrayed the answer of no male objectification by the older subjects. The analysis of figure .01 and .03 is based on the relation of the 2nd and 3rd objectives of this study which mentions if gender image depends upon value images played by Indian media and if these elements contribute gender parities. As mentioned gender image does to some extent depend upon value images as the and also in the formulation of it and these values formed can contribute to gender parities and this can even be justified in the following figure.

figure 4

Fig. 04

There are many examples mentioned in the literature review that the stereotypical element of the Sanskari factor revolves around constructing of many Indian entertainment serials and also commercials for products of household goods, cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids and other household work.

As represented in fig. 04 83% of the participants feel that women in Indian media content are stereotypes in this manner, 14% have a more neutral response, and only 2.3% feel that they are not represented in that manner. The stereotyping can, as the objective states can lead to value formation and gender parities. People consume this kind of content on daily basis and they are bound to develop an idea of what an ideal sanskari woman is and there is a positive co-relation tied to this where the sanskari behaviour is accepted and even promoted in many households.

This gives the formation of expectation as to the interpretation of behaviours and values that is to be shown in society in society. According to some of the participants who were mostly males and only a few women agreed that the sanskari was is the way women should behave in the Indian society as it is ideal and this is justified with reasons that men are the provider and women also have a right to work but they too should do the other household work and serve their husband, children and families unconditionally. The justification was patriarchal.

These subjects also mentioned that the sanskari stereotyping is tied with a positive co-relation as a portrayal of these elements in media is a medium through which the ideal nature is portrayed and even learned or picked up by the consumers. Hence this kind of information does lead to the formulation of gender values as well which is again mentioned in the objectives. Some of the other participants had polar opposite views about this notion and justified it by stating that women too have right to be served by her husband or to live their lives however they wish and challenging the principle of patriarchy. The element of stereotyping directly leads to gender parities as the concept stereotyping is directly grouping a whole faction as outgroups and this is too analyzed in the following fig. 05

figure 5

Fig. 05

In fig. 05 65.1% which is the majority, of the participants, feel that these kinds of Indian serials and commercials can lead to value formation and this was justified in the previous figures.

Participants too had different opinions about stereotyping and of the concept of patriarchy and this too showed the values and believe they hold which is their interpretation or views. The concept of stereotypic portrayals of genders can affect value formations and even classifying genders and out-groups, e.g. people who are from the same gender or have the same opinions about another gender are included as in group while the rest can be classified as outgroups. Media can orient a being to the values of represented or portrayed content with its power and can manipulate people in ways by representing hints of real life in these kinds of content by which consumers can picture being in it.

figure 6

Fig. 06

In fig. 06, interestingly almost half which is 48.8% of the participants feel that the scenarios portrayed in Indian serials and commercials are prevalent in real life. The other half of the participants believe that Indian serials are too dramatic to occur in real life; also it is just a work of fiction and based solely on entertainment purposes.

The participants who expressed that scenarios of Indian media do occur in real life justifies it in ways like, the sanskari stereotyping is true, the values are true, the representation of patriarchy is true, etc. this is not very wrong, the portrayal of gender and the formulation of gender parities and notions of patriarchy does revolve in Indian serials and it also does prevail in real life. India as a nation is patriarchic and there are only a few states that have a matriarchal dynamic but that too is not very authentic and in reality, is patriarchic e.g. Meghalaya.

There have been many changes through the progression with time and many notions have become more flexible concerning gender the majority of the societies. In the political scenarios, there are also bills regarding transgender which is the transgender bill of 2014 and other measures article 377 that have been included representing the growth of the state, however, societies in real life in India still pertain patriarchy and the representations of elements portrayed in Indian serials and commercial. Women still in many societies are not encouraged to work and only present her to suitors to have a happy life, where they would only be home to do typical household work, take unconditional care for their families, etc while their husbands work and provide for the family.

This is a basic principle that revolves around India serials as well as around many Indian societies. These notions have also been challenged by some Indian serials like “Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai” where the protagonist is a woman who dominates over her husband, but again this too is not very appropriate as this element is seen as a form of insult to men conveying the message that men who are dominated by their wives are supposed to be an element of ridicule which does occur in real life again. So it is true that many factors and elements that are shown in Indian serials and commercials do occur in real life as well. Only deconstructing factors and elements of Indian serials and commercials like patriarchy, value formation, gender parities, etc are elements that occur in real life and not for sure about the stories and drama of these serials.

figure 7

Fig. 07

In fig. 07, it represents if boys and girls in their tender learning age who consume Indian serials and commercials get conditioned to feel that scenario and depiction is relevant in the real world as well and if they are meant to be or behave in the way it is represented in these form of media. As the represented majority of the participants at least agree to this notion and these forms of media do form and evaluate gender roles, behaviours, and expectations.

Participants feel that boys and girls in their tender age pick up factors like this with may establish a notion about a particular gender and can carry it throughout their lives. It is true that in an Indian society a man is tied with a lot of expectations to be the sole provider for a unit and hence there is immense pressure that is formulated and put on men from parents, society, and even themselves as self-actualization. Many are pressurized to pursue a career in which they might not be at all interested.

There are many careers also that are gendered in Indian society, society feels men are better than women in some jobs and have a better skillset for it as professionals. Being a doctor, a policeman, businessmen, engineer, and many other jobs are structured in a more masculine nature by society and jobs like cook, dancers, waitress, bakers, models, etc are considered more feminine by the Indian society and this estimation may not be correct by many but it becomes a subjective opinion and views on gendered jobs vary. In the Indian serials and commercials too, men are not portrayed as a baker, a dancer, or anyone with a so-called feminine job but usually as businessmen, doctors, politicians, etc representing more authority and also establishing more power over women where they are usually portrayed as housewives.

This notion also has changed with the progression of time and is comparatively more flexible than before. These elements if viewed to boys and girls may affect their opinions and construct, or manipulate values which may not be true like gendered careers. Indian media creates fallacies; they don’t generally portray the truth and rather creates an impractical idea of how things should be. The idea of a superwoman or the idea that fair and slim is the only way to be beautiful or to gain attention.

Men are typically given the role of being the provider and the authority within the family. The objectification of women is also effective in formulating gender roles and society’s expectation is portrayed in that too, it is even more interesting how in families want their daughters to be an ideal sanskari bahu but she should not showcase themselves as it is represented in media where they are objectified if she does she is said to be unethical or pertain ‘bad sanskaras’ funny thing is that it through these forms of media that evaluated the nature of an ideal woman to the consumers.

Hence, we can conclude that expectations are generated from these forms of media in the minds of a learning child and usually children do try to meet these expectations to gain approval from their parents or even their peers. Many of the participants justified it by stating similar views of how the dominance of patriarchy, gender parities, etc contributes to the formulation of different values in children. They do learn what society expects from them and behave in these manners to gain approval from society. Caroline Knorr in her article of explains evidently that, what media teach kids about gender can have lasting effects. This was mentioned in her article of common sense Media and was displayed by the CNN website.

figure 8

Fig. 08

Fig. 08 was very subjective; anyhow majority which is 53.8% of the participants expressed their views about the accuracy of gender portrayals in Indian serials and commercials and they feel that it is wrongly presented. There was a minority of who did not agree to the wrong portrayal but this group has very interesting justifications on it.

Many people feel that gender roles are portrayed wrongly in Indian entertainment and there are many justifications to it like It still believes in stupid concepts like ‘Girls like pink and boys like blue’ and that is where it ends. It is full of stereotypes and also promotes body negativity for everyone. Gender is a social construct and it can be proved clearly through the Indian media and commercials. It mainly shows male dominance and the glamorous side of a woman which is the concept of an ideal woman, the objectification.

Most of the serials portray women as the weaker gender enjoying less privilege and rights than their male counterparts which can come under as patriarchy and many more. Looking at it in a polar opposing view gender is not at all wrongly presented in Indian media and commercials it is very accurate as stated in multiple occasions Indian media does portray patriarchy which is prevalent in the real world, it portrays sanskari stereotypes which again is prevalent in the Indian society, it portrays what an ideal woman or even man is again consistent with society and many other notions which can be derived by examples in the literature review is depicted and shown in Indian serials and commercials very accurately.

Hence, gender roles are not portrayed wrongly the only difference is the interpretation of what is wrong and the idea of it. For the participants who have stated that it is portrayed wrongly meant to say that the ideas and parities and the portrayal of the difference of gender, in general, is morally wrong or ethically wrong, hence it should not be portrayed in such manner.

figure 9

Fig. 09

The representation of fig. 09 is directly interconnected to my objective and it can be concluded that Indian serials and commercials do contribute to forming gender parities. There were many instances in the figures above and also in the literature review which has already proven that Indian serials and commercials do contribute to formulation gender parities. The following figures i.e. fig. 10 has also been explained many times throughout the analysis and the review of literature, which is the secondary data.

Gender parities are something that people are challenging and fighting against, this leads to many negative factors like discrimination of women in many fields, marginalization of gender, etc. the fact that Indian serials and commercials refrain from having cast from other genders or the LGBTQ community as well can lead to gender parities. It is a negative effect if gender parities are formulated by this kind of presentation by the Indian serials and commercials and to fight and challenges this there have been more flexible notions that are coming up to make a better and equal future and to broaden the perspectives of this stereotype of the Indian society. Representation of working woman in a serial named CID is one, the domination of a wife in Bhabi Ji Ghar par Hai is another and gradually many others are coming up as well.

figure 10

Fig. 10

This is something that has revolved around the Indian serial and commercial industry for a long time and still pertains to do so. Fig. 10 represents if there is a presentation of patriarchy in Indian serials and commercials and the majority of the participants have agreed to it which is 74.4% of the participants. As already explained in the analysis of figure .06 India as a country pertains a patriarchal structure and male dominations over females are very much prevalent in this country, the reason for the emphasis of the idea of patriarchy is that patriarchy is accepted in the Indian society but this is also exploited by many of the males to portray power over females and even other genders and hence become very toxic and can again have negative outcomes like gender parities, discrimination, marginalization, violence against women, etc.

The moment it is shown in a serial that a male is dominating over a female it is something that is expected and also accepted but not very morally right and if a female is shown dominating a male character it is instantly connected to humour because a male getting dominated over a female is an element of ridicule and not accepted by the society. Hence again to challenge this and an attempt to make this idea a little more flexible there have been changes in the content presented in the modern times in the Indian serials and commercials i.e. of factors portraying empowerment of women, e.g. having more female protagonists, portraying financial independence of woman, etc and it hopes to make the country see a brighter and more open-minded future.


To conclude it can be said that all the criteria of the objectives were met in the analysis and proven as well. The statements, that Indian serials have a pivotal role in shaping gender roles and portraying expectations of society. The primary and secondary data were big contributions to the conclusion of this study. After all the analysis and interpretation of data, we can conclude that the media does play a role in shaping gender roles.

We also see that the Indian serial and commercial industry has changed through time and new notions are developing to make it more flexible and friendly but it portrays many regressive factors like toxic patriarchy and is still very limited compared to industries in the United States, France, and other countries that are more liberal with patriarchy even if their society may be patriarchal. Indian serials and commercials have been extremely biased until recently, Indian serials too are very stereotypical which means sanskari here and needs to progress from it and many of the participants to agree with it and they even stated solutions like increase in literacy and the main elements is the teaching of gender roles at home which is one of the most initial stages of the social construction of a person.

The kind of patriarchy that is presented in Indian serials and commercials is mainly that men are masculine and strong with authority and power over women, who are the sole breadwinners of the family, who are not supposed to feel sad, weak, and shouldn’t break down or cry. Whereas women are portrayed as weaklings relying on their husbands and other male figures, who should obey the elders and other males without voicing their opinions, who are often excluded from the decision making process in the family, who should stay at home, cook and clean rather than going out to earn, however, these stereotypical notions are changing and the media also is starting to portray this positive change.

There were many contrasting effects throughout the study as well as Indian television shows and commercials content is way behind and conservative. Producers/makers aren’t able to come up with fresh stories that may inspire youth. It appears they are just entertaining housewives with traditional shows and this requires a great deal of improvement and a broader perspective for content. It is sad to see but also true that a lot of dominant discourses plague the Indian media like fair skin v/s dark, lack of homosexual representation, normalizing the idea of a “helpless” woman starting from underwear ads to TV serials.

There have been exceptions in this regard but by definition, these are exceptions and not the rule. These were some of the most interesting factors that were explored while conducting research and formulating this study. And it seems it was effective in many ways. This study stands out as some of the primary data samples did belong to different generations as well. Which helped in seeing how notions and ideas have changed, become more accepting of what people reject.


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