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“ing daughters However, exam In J, R. Walker and R. V, Bellamy, Jr. eda., The Ranote Control in the New Age of Television (pp. 169-186). Westport, OT: Praoger (1993). 12 Gender Differences in Remote Control Use Elizabeth M. Perse and Douglas A. Ferguson ‘The popular media (eg, cartoons, erecting cards, television shows) ave satirized gender diferences in RCD behavior by portraying men as channel hoppers (The bale 1991; Kissinger 1991). The image of the man in the recliner with a beer in one hand and the remote in che ther has become 3 altura icon. The popular media image is that men control the television Set and dominate use ofthe remote contol device. On May 30, 1991, the [ABC program “Primesime Live” speculated on why men ae channel hoppers ‘with the emote. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld offered his explanation: “Men hunt and women nest. And thats why we watch TV diferenty. Because we're stil hunting. Men ae sil hunting, Bat there's nothing kll anymore ‘This [the RCD] ithe only weapon left that men have, on nightly bass, with which dhe ean sill une” (Sawyer 1991). Can something with so much face validity be wrong? This chapter focuses fon gender differences in the use of remote control devices. We undertook this study to identify which artiudes and behaviors showed significant gen- der differences and what motivations were behind the diferences. Taking into consideration diferent approaches co explaining gender diferences we anticipated that differences in soalization would minimize some differences {in remote contol use for younger adults. But we expected that inherent male-female differences in information processing would be revealed in Aiferences in the reasons for changing channel. RESEARCH ON GENDER DIFFERENCES IN RCD USE ‘Men and women approach and use the remote contol device diferent. Several studies have noted gender differences in perceptions of RCDs, re- ‘ency of use, and motivations for changing channel, 0D croreemn tree Clie Perceptions of RCDs ‘The view ofthe emote control device (RCD) a. part of the male domain hasbeen enforced by research, Gray, for example shed women to detribe household technology as ether pink (Feminine) or Bue (aasculine), THS strategy “produces almost uniformly pik ions and blue elec dels (4987, 42). Video technology i way desrbed in mixed colors: VCR “record buttons ate usally ae but he timer are lly be lowever, “the lueness of the imer is exceeded aly By the deep indigo of thermore conta” because i slmost always controlled by men Males view the emote contol device as» source of ower. Ina seis ‘of focus groups, Ferguson observed that several male paripanssdmted ‘0 fighting over she remote conto: "My roommates aad {ight ove the remote, When we lave the foom we hand i off to another guy to make sre someone ese doesn’t get it: Sometimes we'll hige Reminds me of ‘peopl who cll dhe remote Gd [because] controlled thei lie” (190, 2), Ferguson and Perse (1991) also found that men are more likly tha ‘omen fel powerful when they a in conrl of te RCD. Walker ad Bellamy (19912) noted ehat male were aio more key t wse the RCD to snnoy hes. ‘Women, onthe other hand, view the remote conto asa source of fas teation, One ofthe ix shermes to emerge fom focus group research (Fe son 1990s) was feutration over conrl asa part of RCD we, Females Fepored a sense of fustaion directed at the person (always ln this Simple of women and men) who controlled the remote contol My dais cise, He ii ack and forth ad ite el iain My dad owt jst someting Bee emerson Fs doy an el te watching something rd i wach an js at ie ott don kw bo Ie dos hist a ee pot when geting a oe ck sore fhe. Then Ti watch eae jae tn ny fel ik some he, Everyone ver him» hard tne, bth thas hey hing hi ergot 1380a. 3) “The frusation that women fel because of lass of contol over their television viewing may lead women to have mice negative fecigs about the remote contol device. Anse observed that "more than half of women ‘wes (wh ate often forced to ran by ther spouse or chen) a) they enjoy TV es whe grazing (988,57), Frequency of Ure Some limited research suggests tha males use RCDs more shan women, Hester (1985), for example reported that alms ange channels ore ‘e e, and engage in several other behavior tha tft higher eels of channel ‘hanging: Male we viewing guide les watch inore diferent chanel, engage nls concentrated channel we anda nce ar with diferent channel Hecte (19886) also noted hat males are more likely to change chanel ‘before setingon a program to watch, during commercial nde mile ‘of programs. Moreover, Hester found other ender dillerece hat ay be ue to greater Use of remote contol devices Men exhib es tlevaion iwing loyalty. Ten separate studies sting variety of methods reread ‘hat females af more likely to watch these daily and weey programs and that men ate fs ely to plan thee viewing beloce raring on the tdevson se Ferguson and Perse (1991) observed several gener differences in remote ‘onto se. Men changed channels more. Women, onthe ober hand, mete tess likely to graze (ip channels) daring thei favorite programs. Aine summarized chat "men graze moce than women and coy sigifcay smote” (1988, 54-55), ‘Gender Direc in Rect Contd Use Motivations for Changing Channels Several suis have also identified gender difrences in the reasons for ‘hanging channels Consistent wath he Bigs that males change chanel ‘more, mals are moe likely wo endone reson for changing channel In general, men are more kl change channels o avon commercials (winli 198; Ferguson and Pere 1991), 0 watch two or more shows at the sme time (Aisle 1988; Ferguson and Pere 1991; Wenner and De chy 1990) and to check what i sring on other channel (Arse 1988, Ferguson and Perse 1991), Walker and Bellamy (19913) found hat college men were more lily to change channel o avoid certain types of content, ‘speclly pital ad and to watch news or mente, Summary Heeter (19886) noted shat men seen to peer gests vary eather than familiarity, in television viewing. And remote contol devices take eset for men t achieve that variety. Thus, sade reveal that ales have more postive perceptions of remot contol devices, se het moan te more likey to endorse reasons for changing channcle tht focts om power of varity seeking. However, few sebolars ave pected about the ndedying ‘aus of hese penderdifeences. "THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON GENDER DIFFERENCES Feminist weiter have identi thee perspectives on gender ferences liberal adic and socals (Steves 1987; ran Zoonen 1991} In general, m Group Viigo Remote Cartel Uae Sterne explanations ae based onthe soclization of chile, biological and psychologieal characteristics, and soda and economic power. Each Ferspecive as impleatins for RCD we The liberal perspective holds that chee is no inherent bilgi or py: chologial bass for mon gener dferences, The strongest factorincesing Allerences berween male and female x scialiation, Stereotypical roles fre pervasive in society, cdren lean tee roles fom parent, choo pees, andthe media. An imporant implication of Ubesl perspectives is ‘hat gender ferences can be eliminated through soc leuningSoices fan diminate gender bared wercoryping though education and soi > ‘Conversely the radial prspecive hota there ate profound biolog- ical and psychological diferenes berween men and women, Med and ‘women fer greatly in physiology, and some scholars arp tha here are physiologically based gender differences in information processing (Meyer Lewy 1989) and ethical resoning(Ciligan 1982), Ths perspective scone sidered “radical” because it proponents believe the followings Baca female characteristics areblieledm patarchal ois, women can elise thee goals only when they separate fom men. “The socialist perspective pons that women’s socal roles promote gender ferences The patracchy cretes and maintains these roles to maintain ‘conomic and paiitial power. The domerse roles acupisd by women, focusing on nurturing and concerns for family, are seconded le soca power: According to tis view, gender diferences are soil bassd std fam be eliminated only by societal upheaal Like the bheral pepsi, the socialist perspective is concerned with gender differences leaing agznder inequality. The two pespecves dle, though, in eve of concem {nd assumptions about society "The liberal perspective Tocscs on reducing gender diferences though changes at the individual level~equal socialization of cidren and elim: ination of gender stercoypes. Te ideral perspective is rooted in socal ttaition and affirms the value of existing soceelstracars The socialist perspective, on the other hand, holde that individ change con eect only through changes a the sci eel. Gender dienes ae Sed im ocah econome, and case divisions efleed in fly and work truce. Thy the scale pepecive argos for change a the exis social sracures Explaining Gender Ditferenees in RCD Use Liberal Explanations The eidene suger that difrences bexwcen men and women’s use of remote contol devs ete diferences in socal tion. In recent studi adult respondent, socalized in an cartier ea of ‘song gender ferentiation, exhbied clearer dileences in RCD use han ° (ender Deets in Rete Cont Use mm ‘younger respondents. Hester (1988) found many gender ferences in dul simples across en separate studies, bony few dferences in three Samples of fh and tench graders. Ferguson and Bese (1981) mowed several {ender ferences ia RCD behaviors and atta n men and women bt these differences were aot apparent in young women ad young men (er sgson 19322; Walker and Bellamy 19912; Wenner and Denaehy 1990), "This teducion in gender diferenesFoud in samples of younger viewers is consistent with findings associated wrth mental abies (egy verbal, spatial and mathematical and socal behaviors (es influences, help Ings aggression). Hyde, for example, fund that eseatch on soil beavis ‘over the past ifen 10 ewenty years has shown "dain in the age ‘of gender differences 1990, 72), Sb aed d scores where d = My. Md Syeding an fet sie (posve when male greater, negative whe female eater. Between 1966 and 1973 her metaanayis showed gene der nce eet ies = .53,but only d= 4 beeen 1978 and 1981, Female ‘vantage in vecbal ably among pro-1973 smuies was d = —23 bat only d= ~ 10 afer 1973, The liberal view suggests chat older ads acquired their media we a tudes and leaned television behaviors when US. sey was more scx ‘elneted, Thos females in general would be expected owe the RCD les. Barth Behavior of younger women raed in more feminist ines shold reflec fewer gender diferencs ‘Rodizal Explanations, Another pos ble explanation for RCD lated gen- er diferences highligh ferences Between males and females in ae ‘onal tls information processing, snd jdgent. The superior veel ‘evelopment of female, which i exhibited san early aglow them fo listen to television without loking more often than boys do, However, males have superior vasa skil.Alarer, Huston, Wight, nd Kerkman (1988) reported several experiments and scondaty analyses that demon strated conssten diflerencesBerween boys and gl in wal stenton, “They concluded that boys focus more on the visa content of terion and pile focus more on the verbal suitory content. ‘Other reseatchers have studied gender difrenes in atention and eal. Anderson, Lorch, Field, Collis, and Nathan (1986) reported that men Tooked atthe revision see more than women. Akhough Saf, Fost and Rybol (1983) found no gender ferences in the recall of network {elevsion news programs, Gould (1987) ote hat younger females rele ‘more television commercials than other male and female groups Gould ented such ndings to pester seltconsouanes sot inet thous and figs and preater socal anxiety in the presence of ofhers mong, Younger female ‘MeyeseLery (1989) presented an extensive review of he Ieatre on information processing. Meyers Levy was able recone sometimes con ttaditory findings by postulating 2 select hypothesis; Males do not