Event Title

Gendered Comics: Reactions to Superheroes Presented Inconsistently with Gender Norms

Presenter Information

Elizabeth Camberos

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Start Date

5-21-2015 7:00 PM

End Date

5-21-2015 7:30 PM

Abstract

The attitudes and beliefs that individuals form towards men and women are influenced by role models in the environment and how men and women are portrayed in media. Such portrayals, though not necessarily overtly sexist, represent subtle sexism. Forms of subtle sexism are difficult to change because they are accepted as normative behavior and are not easily recognized as detrimental but are harmful to individuals as a function of their gender. Previous studies have discussed how implicit gender beliefs influence the expression of prejudice towards women in roles that contradict those perceived gender expectations. This dissonance is known as role incongruity and it explains the prejudice women face in leadership roles. Since leadership roles are defined in traditionally masculine terms, women must violate role expectations in order to be effective leaders. Prejudices are stronger when evaluators hold traditional or rigid gender norm beliefs. Gender portrayal in popular media often perpetuates gender norms by presenting males and females in traditionally gender consistent ways. This contributes to general beliefs about what is appropriate behavior for men and women. Research has been done on how advertising shapes beliefs about men and women, but less consideration has been given to gender based portrayals of superheroes. As superheroes transition from comics to films and television, the size of the audience consuming these gender portrayals increases. This research furthers our understanding of how gender-related attitudes influence consumer acceptance of fictional superheroes in roles that are not congruent with gender stereotypes.

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May 21st, 7:00 PM May 21st, 7:30 PM

Gendered Comics: Reactions to Superheroes Presented Inconsistently with Gender Norms

The attitudes and beliefs that individuals form towards men and women are influenced by role models in the environment and how men and women are portrayed in media. Such portrayals, though not necessarily overtly sexist, represent subtle sexism. Forms of subtle sexism are difficult to change because they are accepted as normative behavior and are not easily recognized as detrimental but are harmful to individuals as a function of their gender. Previous studies have discussed how implicit gender beliefs influence the expression of prejudice towards women in roles that contradict those perceived gender expectations. This dissonance is known as role incongruity and it explains the prejudice women face in leadership roles. Since leadership roles are defined in traditionally masculine terms, women must violate role expectations in order to be effective leaders. Prejudices are stronger when evaluators hold traditional or rigid gender norm beliefs. Gender portrayal in popular media often perpetuates gender norms by presenting males and females in traditionally gender consistent ways. This contributes to general beliefs about what is appropriate behavior for men and women. Research has been done on how advertising shapes beliefs about men and women, but less consideration has been given to gender based portrayals of superheroes. As superheroes transition from comics to films and television, the size of the audience consuming these gender portrayals increases. This research furthers our understanding of how gender-related attitudes influence consumer acceptance of fictional superheroes in roles that are not congruent with gender stereotypes.