It is hard to argue with the belief that television commercials have a compelling effect on us. To best check this assumption, the cultivation theory is applied to discover the effects of television commercials on the attitudes and behaviors of the general public. According to Das,
“Cultivation theory suggests that consumers’ perceptions of social reality are heavily influenced by how they see themselves and others portrayed in the media. Many researchers are of the opinion that television ads present idealized images of appropriate behaviors and roles for men and women, making television advertising an important factor in developing notions of what appropriate behaviors and roles are for each sex” (2011:208).
Among mass media, television is the most widely used form of advertising, and the influence of television on the average American’s behavior and role are immense. We are repeatedly exposed to this influence, and we absorb it subconsciously and become naturalized with it. In many commercials, there is a large and consistent difference in the way men and women are portrayed. As observed by Water,
“Women in commercials were typically portrayed as deficient in credibility, product users but not product authorities, most often situated in domestic locations, having no occupation except homemaker, and demonstrating a dependent role. This is in contrast with men, who were typically portrayed as credible, product authorities, and situated outdoors. Also, men were perceived to be powerful and thrived in independent roles” (2006:17).
The role of gender application is imbalanced, with the female gender being represented in an inferior manner compared to their male counterparts; one is being served and is strong and independent, while the other is serving, and is weak and dependent.