Boys to Men: Entertainment Media Messages About Masculinity, 1999

Sep 01, 1999

Download file: boys_to_men_entertainment_1999.pdf

This groundbreaking study provides valuable insight into the identity formation of boys. How young people absorb and integrate the media’s images along with their personal experiences will have a profound impact on the expectations and behavior of a new generation of men. Highlights include:

Vulnerability and Emotions
Although male characters in the media displayed a range of emotional behavior, including fear, anger, grief, and pain, they rarely cried.

Violence and Anger
Almost three-fourths of children describe males on television as violent and more than two thirds describe men and boys on television as angry.

One in five male characters employs some form of physical aggression to solve problems.

Work vs. Domestic
Across boys’ favorite media, men are closely identified with the working world and high prestige positions, while women are identified more often with their domestic status.

Over one-third of children say that they never see television males performing domestic chores such as cooking and cleaning.

Race
Men of color are more likely to focus on solving problems involving family, personal, romantic, or friendship issues; while white men in the sample are consistently motivated by succeeding in work, preventing & managing disaster (i.e. “saving the day”), and pleasing non-romantic others (e.g., family members, friends, co-workers).

TV vs. Reality
Across race and gender, the majority of children believe that the boys and men they see on television are different from themselves, boys that they know, their fathers, and other adult male relatives.

Many kids believe that financial wealth is an over-represented sign of success on television, and that their ideas of real-life success are underrepresented on television.

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