The key objective of this work is to answer the question: To what extent do contemporary Polish TV series try to change stereotypes about women and to what extent do they preserve them? The analysis involved a total of eight series produced and broadcast by Telewizja Polska, TVN and Telewizja Polsat, grouped by genre into: (1) drama series – soap operas; (2) historical drama series; (3) crime dramas and (4) comedy series. The analysis included 76 episodes of the above series with a total length of 49 hours and 51 minutes.
The subject of quantitative analysis was the total speaking time of female characters and their visibility on the screen. The qualitative analysis was based on the identification of the most important gender stereotypes and their use in the series’ storylines. In the analysed series, female characters speak for one fifth of the time longer than male characters and are visible on the screen 15% longer than male characters.
The dominant plots in the sample are issues of interpersonal relationships, i.e. partner relationships, emotional and sexual relationships (29%) and casual social relationships (meetings, visits, parties – 26%). Together, both contexts account for 55% of the time. Their analysis establishes (with a few exceptions) the most prevalent cultural stereotypes about women, including in particular: greater emotionality, strong focus on family and home matters (but not necessarily childcare), and general life orientation on building lasting interpersonal relationships. Due to the requirements of the plot, these stereotypes are nevertheless broken through. In particular, women often turn out to be resourceful and entrepreneurial. The analysis of stereotypes also indicates that the introduction of women into traditionally male roles is much easier than introducing men into roles traditionally considered female.