Event Title

Portrayals of Women Law Enforcement Officers in Crime Television Shows

Location

CSU 204

Start Date

16-4-2013 3:25 PM

End Date

16-4-2013 4:25 PM

Student's Major

Gender and Women's Studies

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Shannon Miller

Mentor's Department

Gender and Women's Studies

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

The field of law enforcement is hyper-masculinized. This often leaves women police officers in the margins as they experience pressures to conform to a specific image. These women may move on to encounter resistance unknown to their male counterparts. Television shows that feature police officers, both scripted and reality, become a means through which the general public derives their knowledge of women in law enforcement. This research study examined two crime television shows Dexter, a scripted show, and Police Women of Broward County, a reality show. We conducted a content analysis of the first season of both shows to explore the portrayals of women police officers, as well as their interactions with coworkers and the public. Regardless of whether they were dressed in uniform, women police officers wore makeup and jewelry on a regular basis, despite the strenuous nature of the job. In addition, women police officers in these shows frequently encountered comments that were sexist or derogatory in nature from fellow officers, administration, and the public. Though the comments made in Dexter were more blatant than in Police Women of Broward County, the sexist or derogatory comments were still problematic in the reality television program. Because the average American citizen bases most of their perceptions of law enforcement off television shows, it is important to look at these perceptions in order to change the way women law enforcement officers are viewed and treated in real life.

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Apr 16th, 3:25 PM Apr 16th, 4:25 PM

Portrayals of Women Law Enforcement Officers in Crime Television Shows

CSU 204

The field of law enforcement is hyper-masculinized. This often leaves women police officers in the margins as they experience pressures to conform to a specific image. These women may move on to encounter resistance unknown to their male counterparts. Television shows that feature police officers, both scripted and reality, become a means through which the general public derives their knowledge of women in law enforcement. This research study examined two crime television shows Dexter, a scripted show, and Police Women of Broward County, a reality show. We conducted a content analysis of the first season of both shows to explore the portrayals of women police officers, as well as their interactions with coworkers and the public. Regardless of whether they were dressed in uniform, women police officers wore makeup and jewelry on a regular basis, despite the strenuous nature of the job. In addition, women police officers in these shows frequently encountered comments that were sexist or derogatory in nature from fellow officers, administration, and the public. Though the comments made in Dexter were more blatant than in Police Women of Broward County, the sexist or derogatory comments were still problematic in the reality television program. Because the average American citizen bases most of their perceptions of law enforcement off television shows, it is important to look at these perceptions in order to change the way women law enforcement officers are viewed and treated in real life.

Recommended Citation

Kadlec, Megan and Anne Katchmark. "Portrayals of Women Law Enforcement Officers in Crime Television Shows." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 16, 2013.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2013/oral-session-16/2