Beginning this post, I want to check results so far. So, what did we find in media? We found many stereotypes and controversials involved in the construction of female and male identities and approaches to separate them by confirming them with “typical” male and female activities, topics and lifestyles.
Now let’s have a look at a famous example of gender separation: The German TV channels DMAX (exclusively for men) and SIXX (even more exclusively for women). How do they create their “typical manhood and womanhood”? Therefore, I looked at the television program of both channels on three days.
To be honest, the concept of DMAX and SIXX is reeeaaalllly not hard to decrypt – especially when having a look at their program.
What are the topics they depict?
DMAX mainly deals with science/knowledge and cars, what becomes clear when looking at titles like “Mythbusters”, “Tank Team – Erfindungen für die Army” (Inventions for the Army) and “Fast and Loud”. What both topics have in common is their focus on technique. Therefore, many programs deal with machines, be it for cars, weapons or instruments. However, DMAX also picks up cooking……well, once in three days. Called “Barbeque Battle”, it includes a “feminine” topic in male identity by establishing a competitive character and thereby promoting a “manly way of cooking”. Sounds familiar, right?
And what about SIXX? Exactly, it depicts several topics which are coded feminine. Examples are “Mein perfektes Hochzeitskleid” (My perfect wedding dress), “How do I look” and of course cooking with Jamie Oliver for hours. What becomes clear when looking at the first two programs is the already known emphasis on appearance. Moreover, SIXX shows several “women series” like “Emergency Room”, “Gossip Girl” and “Desperate Housewives”. The peak of this stereotyping and gender coding can be found in a program called “Stalked – Leben in Angst” (Life in fear). DMAX on the other hand shows no TV series at all (not even manly ones like “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones”).
Looking at word choice is quite interesting, however not surprising.
SIXX offers soft and emotional titles like “Sweet & Easy”, “Hundeflüsterer” (dog-whisperer) and “Was das Herz begehrt” (What the heart desires). DMAX on the other hand comes up with a full load of adventure and danger. “Manhunt”, “Survival Duo” and “Asphalt-Cowboys” are just a few examples. What DMAX also does is that it professionalizes eeeeverything. There are the used-car pros, the barbeque masters and (not kidding) even the tree house and aquarium pros.
Moreover, SIXX repeatedly mentions “girls” whereas DMAX never refers to “boys” but just to “men” (so two chummy men are “Steel Buddies“, I guess).
Weighing the program of SIXX against DMAX, I honestly have to say I prefer the former.
So now I will sit on my couch, watch an episode of Desperate Housewives and have a glass of Coke Light!
 = Pictures taken from http://www.goldbachmedia.com/de-ch/newsroom/medienmitteilungen-pdf/dmax-logo-1.png, 19.03.2016 (DMAX); http://www.prosiebensat1.com/uploads/2015/11/04/sixx_ikone_cmyk.jpeg, 19.03.2016 (SIXX)