Do degrading TV portrayals of women cause gender harassment?

December 16, 2013

A new study in Psychology of Women Quarterly considers whether objectifying women in television and harassment are causally linked. Researchers Silvia Galdi, Anne Maass, and Mara Cadinu designed two experimental studies that used video materials of actual TV shows to investigate the causal relationship between TV exposure and harassing conduct. Together, the findings suggest degrading TV portrayals of women play a causal role in both gender harassment and sexual-coercion intentions and this relationship with gender harassment is at least in part attributable to a shift in masculinity norms. Therefore objectifying TV productions seem to create a normative context conducive to gender harassment, attesting to the responsibility of the mass media in promoting a climate that is hostile toward women.

"These conceptions go beyond harassment by men but involve society at large, including responsibilities of women and men to promote a different set of values," the researchers stated. "On a positive note then, the same TV programs can also promote a change in social and cultural norms, including those related to masculinity, which suggests that they can be used as means to reduce sexual harassment behavior and more generally to promote respect for women and men."
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Find out more by reading the full article, titled "Objectifying Media: Their Effect on Gender Role Norms and Sexual Harassment of Women" in Psychology of Women Quarterly. For an embargoed copy of the article, please email Camille.Gamboa@

Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ) is a feminist, scientific, peer-reviewed journal that publishes empirical research, critical reviews and theoretical articles that advance a field of inquiry, brief reports on timely topics, teaching briefs, and invited book reviews related to the psychology of women and gender. Topics include (but are not limited to) feminist approaches, methodologies, and critiques; violence against women; body image and objectification; sexism, stereotyping, and discrimination; intersectionality of gender with other social locations (such as age, ability status, class, ethnicity, race, and sexual orientation); international concerns; lifespan development and change; physical and mental well being; therapeutic interventions; sexuality; social activism; and career development. 2011 Impact Factor: 2.115

2011 Ranking: 2/38 in Women's Studies | 24/124 in Psychology, Multidisciplinary

Source: 2011 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2012)

SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, and medicine. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. http://www.sagepublications.com

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