Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Gender impacts every part of life. From the moment a baby is bom, that child is placed in a gender categoiy. As one grows, these categories define how the person should act as well as how they should speak. These stereotypes become such a part o f an individual that often they are seen as an innate or biological part o f women and men, but this is not the case. These stereotypes can be broken and many are, particularly by women who feel it necessaiy to conform to the male standard to get ahead in business. Therefore, it is important to not only understand the social stereotypes, but it is also vital that their historical evolution be realized.

Throughout gender research, many differences between the language of women and men have been observed. These disparities were expected to be apparent throughout the communication between co-hosts, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, on the Today show. Along with the verbal gender differences, cohost communication was examined for differences, hard and soft news approaches and interruptions. The methodology was a qualitative content analysis using feminist theory and gender communication research.

After both the history of stereotypes and gender communication research is discussed, a brief look at qualitative research follows. The artifact, one week of NBC’s Today, from January 30-February 3, 1995, was used to examine gender stereotypes as they do or do not influence the news as well as if and how they might be reflected in the co-hosts speech patterns. A variety of articles on gender research, ranging from Campbell (1973) and Spender (1973) to Borisoff and Merrill (1985) and Sanders (1993), was used to determine i f co-hosts Katie Comic and Matt Lauer follow social gender stereotypes or not. While it was expected that both co-hosts generally would follow the stereotypes, this proved untrue. Comic was not a stereotypical female and Lauer also deviated from the expected patterns.