This study investigated how media exposure affects how noncollege women envision their futures. Over 5 days, a prolonged exposure experiment presented childless women (aged 21-35) with magazine portrayals of females in gender-congruent (mother/homemaker or beauty ideals) or gender-incongruent (professional) social roles. Responses to an open-ended question revealed that 3 days after media exposure, only gender-congruent roles remained salient. Exposure to homemaker portrayals induced more thoughts about possible future selves (PFSs) and fostered concerns about motherhood and career roles; it also produced more positive affective valence compared with exposure to portrayals of professional women, particularly among women with gender-congruent life circumstances. Exposure impacts were mediated by the extent to which women linked the magazine portrayals to their own PFSs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language