The media provide strong and persuasive messages about the intersection of culture and gender roles. Given the power of the media to influence and "educate" the public, understanding its images of girls and women is critical. Featuring Females analyzes the portrayals of women in a variety of outlets including reality television shows, films, print and electronic news programming, magazines, video games, and commercial advertising.

A highly esteemed group of scholars and researchers provides informed original psychological study, and their thought-provoking findings address the ways in which aging, race/ethnicity, body image, gender roles, sexual orientation and relationships, and violence are treated in the media. Featuring Females is a diverse and provocative volume, exploring images and characterizations of women young and old, and inspiring discussion of the effects that these representations have on girls, women, and society at large.

Table of Contents


I. Beginning with Girls: Gender Roles, Body Image, and Sex

  1. The Impact of Media Use on Girls' Beliefs About Gender Roles, Their Bodies, and Sexual Relationships: A Research Synthesis
    —L. Monique Ward and Kristen Harrison
  2. "He Left Her for the Alien": Girls, Television, and Sex
    —C. Lynn Sarsoli, Michelle V. Porche, and Deborah L. Tolman
  3. The Media's Role in Body Image and Eating Disorders
    —Stefanie C. Gilbert, Helene Keery, and J. Kevin Thompson

II. Defining Reality

  1. Clash of Cultures: Women and Girls on TV and in Real Life
    —Diana Zuckerman and Nicole Dubowitz
  2. Outcast, Outlast, Out-Flirt? The Women of Reality TV
    —Laura S. Brown
  3. Narratives of Gender in Computer Advertisements
    —Laura J. Burlingame-Lee and Silvia Sara Canetto
  4. Hollywood's Portrayal of Psychologists and Psychiatrists: Gender and Professional Training Differences
    —Harriet T. Schultz

III. Aggression and Violence: Victims and Perpetrators

  1. Violence, Sex, Race, and Age in Popular Video Games: A Content Analysis
    —Karen E. Dill, Douglas A. Gentile, William A. Richter, and Jody C. Dill
  2. Mama Bears, Bitches, and Monsters: Motherhood and Violence in Popular Film
    —Lynn Edith Paulson
  3. Violence and Women: News Coverage of Victims and Perpetrators
    —Elizabeth K. Carll
  4. Gender and the Portrayal of Direct and Indirect Aggression on Television
    —Norma D. Feshbach

IV. Gender Images With a Focus on Race and Age

  1. African American Women in Search of Scripts
    —Thema Bryant-Davis
  2. Reflection and Distortion: Women of Color in Magazine Advertisements
    —Janis Sanchez-Hucles, Patrick S. Hudgins, and Kimberly Gamble
  3. Aging to Perfection or Perfectly Aged? The Image of Women Growing Older on Television
    —Kim S. Kjaersgaard



About the Contributors

Editor Bios

Ellen Cole, PhD, is professor of psychology at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage and a former editor of the journal Women & Therapy and of the Haworth Press book program, Innovations in Feminist Studies.

She is the president-elect of the Alaska Psychological Association. She has received a Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology (AWP), was twice the recipient of the Jewish Scholarship Award from AWP's Jewish Caucus, and has hosted a mental health call-in radio show.

Dr. Cole is a fellow of two APA divisions — Society for the Psychology of Women and Media Psychology — and chaired APA's Committee on Women in Psychology.

Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, ABPP, is director of training in psychology and associate director of training in adolescent medicine at Children's Hospital, Boston. She is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and adjunct associate professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Boston University.

Dr. Daniel is a member of the APA Board of Directors and is a recipient of the 2002 APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology. She is past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women of the APA.

Her teaching and presentations have focused on the impact of media images on people of color, especially women.

Reviews & Awards

Highly recommended.
—CHOICE Magazine

…this book makes a much-needed contribution to media studies.
—Sex Roles