The Allure of Aphrodite: How Gender-Congruent Media Portrayals Impact Adult Women's Possible Future Selves

Ashley R. Kennard, Laura E. Willis, Melissa J. Robinson, Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated how media exposure affects how noncollege women envision their futures. Over 5 days, a prolonged exposure experiment presented childless women (aged 21-35) with magazine portrayals of females in gender-congruent (mother/homemaker or beauty ideals) or gender-incongruent (professional) social roles. Responses to an open-ended question revealed that 3 days after media exposure, only gender-congruent roles remained salient. Exposure to homemaker portrayals induced more thoughts about possible future selves (PFSs) and fostered concerns about motherhood and career roles; it also produced more positive affective valence compared with exposure to portrayals of professional women, particularly among women with gender-congruent life circumstances. Exposure impacts were mediated by the extent to which women linked the magazine portrayals to their own PFSs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-245
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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