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IMPACT OF STEREOTYPES In short television has the power and capability to change views of women and to promote less stereotyping among a generation of young viewers In fact part of the now largely obsolete code of the National Association of Broadcasters 1981 cited in Liebert et al 1982 states that children should be exposed at the appropriate times to a reasonable range of the realities which exist in the world sufficient to help them make the transition to adulthood Liebert et al 1982 p 39 Too often however television not only has failed to foster positive change to the extent that it might have but worse it has not portrayed realistically the myriad roles in which women actually find themselves today It has reflected and continues to reflect a distorted image This is not a simple matter of frequency however Viewers are very complex and the effect of such portrayals depends on the childs sex-role orientation and beliefs especially in middle childhood and on which information is attended to comprehended and used Durkin 1985 As we saw in earlier chapters this cognitive processing of the television information is itself affected by many other aspects of a childs developmental level and experiences According to Durkin there is no strong evidence for a linear effects hypothesis in which more viewing is straightforwardly associated with a greater effect That hypothesis neglects variations in the contribution of other factors such as school siblings and peers which are not constants Durkin 1985 Frequency of portrayal is not necessarily a measure of impact or salience because the context of such presentations varies a good deal Durkin 1985 Moreover according to Durkin 1984 children do not simply absorb television information they actively process it and impose their own interpretations and expectations They not only take in information but bring stereotyped ideas to bear in interpreting characters motives and emotions Durkin 1984 Durkin noted that although the relationship of
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