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Sex Role Stereotypes in the Media

Joy L. Hart


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Sex role stereotypes represent women and men in highly generalized, often unrealistic, ways. Such media →  stereotypes are important because representation plays a key role in shaping what becomes social reality (→  Information Processing: Stereotypes ; Media and Perceptions of Reality ). Mediated messages influence knowledge as well as what is deemed significant and interesting ( Brooks & Hébert 2006 ). Repeated media images shape →  attitudes , beliefs, and values. The media communicate to audiences the contours of current social reality while simultaneously helping to create it. Within television studies, for example, it has been argued that heavy viewers are most likely to accept stereotypical assumptions about certain groups in society (→  Gerbner 1998 ; →  Cultivation Theory ; Cultivation Effects ). Considerable research addresses the media's role in perpetuating stereotypes, including sex role stereotypes (→  Stereotyping and the Media ). Scholars have examined a variety of media types – e.g., movies (→  Cinema ), →  Television , →  Radio , advertisements (→  Advertising ), →  Newspapers , →  Internet – and highlighted the potential negative social influence of repeated exposure to stereotypical presentations of sex roles. Sex role stereotypes convey messages about expected appearance and behavior of women and men, shaping both our ideas and expectations of women ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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