Gendered and classed stereotyping : the effects of viewing Teen Mom
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Media effects research demonstrates that television is impactful on audiences beyond simply serving an entertainment function. Television messages serve a socialization function, communicating cultural values and expectations to audiences. Mediated representations of sociocultural groups such as gender, race/ethnicity, and class are thought to influence group-based attitudes and beliefs. Although class is a powerful social organizer in society, the study of class representations is most often ignored in the examination of television effects. Little is known about how class representations in entertainment television may affect class stereotyping. To more wholly understand the complexities of the influence of cultural representations on television, media effects research should focus on the intersections of identity representation, specifically for this study, gender and the far less studied category of class. The purpose of the present study was to experimentally examine short-term effects of how the cultural representations of gender and class in the popular MTV reality show Teen Mom affect female viewers' (1) gender role beliefs, (2) gendered parenting beliefs, (3) class stereotyping, and (4) perception of the responsibility of the teen moms and dads as parents. This docudrama series highlights the roles of class and gender in the struggles of teen parenthood. Social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation and affinity (i.e. identification, homophily, and parasocial interaction) with media models are utilized to explain the processes through which viewers are affected by viewing the gendered and classed representations on the show. The findings from this study suggest that participants exposed to working-class representations reported more favorable attitudes about individuals in the working-class, but viewed working-class moms as less responsible parents. Condition had no significant main effect on gender stereotyping. Also identification, homophily, and parasocial interaction moderated the
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