Nav: Home

In fiction young people choose traditional love and gender stereotypes

March 06, 2019

Fictional television series can have an influence on the construction of young people's identities and values. In relation to the depiction of love in television series, young people express a preference for traditional gender stereotypes, reveals a study conducted to identify gender and love stereotypes displayed by young people compared to those they prefer in fictional television series in three Iberian-American countries: Colombia, Spain and Venezuela.

Maria-Jose Masanet and Rafael Ventura, researchers with the Department of Communication at UPF, and Maddalena Fedele, a researcher at Ramon Llull University, published it on 1 February in the journal Masculinities and Social Change.

The main goal of this study was to identify stereotypes and models related to gender and the relationships that young people claim to have and compare them with those they consume in their favourite fictional series, i.e., those that have the potential to unconsciously and emotionally influence their conceptions and values. The research was conducted from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining cultural and audience study methods along with contributions from the fields of sociology and psychology. It consisted of a survey carried out on 485 first-year university students and qualitative analysis of the participants' favourite media depictions.

From the survey results, among the respondents the authors have identified a gap between the cognitive and the emotional sphere. Although in the surveys the young respondents distance themselves from stereotypical, heteronormative and patriarchal models, the media representations they choose coincide precisely with these models and with the traditional gender stereotypes.

"The data show that the ideal amorous relationship between young people belongs to Stemberg's (2000) concept of romantic love and fosters the myths that this implies. Young people value aspects based on intimacy and passion above those that are based on commitment", state the authors of the work. Young people also show preferences for "amor ludens", love that is based on enjoyment and the present time. Sharing and enjoying time together, emotional involvement and support for the partner have become some of the most important aspects for the young people who participated in the survey. "Amor ludens" is a concept coined by the authors based on the results of their research.

By countries, the most notable differences are that young Spaniards are furthest from the ideal of romantic love and identify rather with "amor ludens"; young Colombians tend towards falling in love; Venezuelans value commitment and identify more with romantic love. In addition, the study reveals gender differences in the way of understanding love. Men emphasize elements related to passion and physical and sexual values and, therefore, values corresponding to heteronormative and patriarchal stereotypes. However, women give more importance to intimacy and the romantic ideal, and therefore feelings. Thus, it is shown that the romantic ideal and associated myths do not permeate both sexes in the same way, since men tend less to associate romantic relationships with emotions.

The authors infer that the different conceptions of love between men and women observed in the study could lead to a situation in which women were more willing to be subordinate and passive in their relationships, with men being more active and dominant. "It is clear that traditional gender stereotypes, including those related to "machismo", are still active in the younger generations around Iberian-American setting", point out Maddalena Fedele, Maria Jose Masanet and Rafael Ventura, the study authors.

Healthier, more equitable amorous relations

This is also reflected in the preferences in serialized fiction. While men prefer series based on violence, sex or drugs and alcohol, women prefer plots based on personal relationships: love or friendship. Again, stereotypes are observed that associate men with violence and action, and women with more intimate and emotional aspects.

This study shows that fiction series are widely consumed by young people and have great potential to become useful educational and transformational tools to help promote models based on equality and affect the attitudes of young people in their current and future amorous relationships. "The potential for series to influence youth could help facilitate discussions aimed at challenging gender stereotypes and help them to create healthier, more equitative amorous relationships", the authors conclude.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Barcelona

Related Relationships Articles:

'Feeling obligated' can impact relationships during social distancing
In a time where many are practicing 'social distancing' from the outside world, people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual.
We can make predictions about relationships - but is this necessary?
'Predictions as to the longevity of a relationship are definitely possible,' says Dr Christine Finn from the University of Jena.
Disruptions of salesperson-customer relationships. Is that always bad?
Implications from sales relationship disruptions are intricate and can be revitalizing.
Do open relationships really work?
Open relationships typically describe couples in which the partners have agreed on sexual activity with someone other than their primary romantic partner, while maintaining the couple bond.
The 7 types of sugar daddy relationships
University of Colorado Denver researcher looks inside 48 sugar daddy relationships to better understand the different types of dynamics, break down the typical stereotype(s) and better understand how these relationships work in the United States.
Positive relationships boost self-esteem, and vice versa
Does having close friends boost your self-esteem, or does having high self-esteem influence the quality of your friendships?
Strong family relationships may help with asthma outcomes for children
Positive family relationships might help youth to maintain good asthma management behaviors even in the face of difficult neighborhood conditions, according to a new Northwestern University study.
In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a 'type'
Researchers at the University of Toronto show that people do indeed have a 'type' when it comes to dating, and that despite best intentions to date outside that type -- for example, after a bad relationship -- some will gravitate to similar partners.
Advancing dementia and its effect on care home relationships
New research published today in the journal Dementia by researchers from the University of Chichester focuses on the effects of behavioral change due to dementia in a residential care home setting.
Passion trumps love for sex in relationships
When women distinguish between sex and the relational and emotional aspects of a relationship, this determines how often couples in long-term relationships have sex.
More Relationships News and Relationships Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Our Relationship With Water
We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water – water is in crisis and so are we. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around restoring our relationship with water. Guests on the show include legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, and community organizer Colette Pichon Battle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote. Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it's not a state, and it wasn't until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further? This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari. Check out Latif Nasser's new Netflix show Connected here. Support Radiolab today at