Successful Minority Representations on TV Count: A Quantitative Content Analysis Approach

B. G. Żerebecki*, S. J. Opree, J. Hofhuis, S. Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
222 Downloads (Pure)


Numerous studies provide critical analyses of TV minority representations but only few examine successful portrayals. Moreover, there is no consensus on what makes a given depiction successful and how to measure it. Bringing insights from representation studies and media psychology, we propose that successful representations showcase minorities in a way which may foster audience engagement with characters and improve their diversity attitudes. In the current project, we developed a quantitative content analysis codebook with the following representation strategies: portrayal of minority experiences, recognizable representation, attractive representation, psychological depth, stereotypical representation, and friendly interactions. We demonstrate our approach by analyzing the portrayal of non-heterosexual and Black characters in Sex Education. We coded all the scenes with Eric, Adam, and Jackson from the first season of the TV show. Results indicate that these characters are predominantly shown as recognizable to viewers and in friendly interactions with other people. Moreover, they are depicted with attractive personality traits, and indicators of psychological depth. They also undergo various minority experiences. Some stereotypes about gay men are shown but anti-Black stereotypes are rare. In the results’ discussion, we suggest different ways of using our codebook in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2023

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© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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