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Sex and Women, It’s a Magazine Thing. Or not.

“Our results suggest that the complex and sometimes conflicting representations of female sexuality proliferating in the mass media and popular culture could potentially have both empowering and problematic effects on women’s developing sexual identities.”

Magazine articles! About sex! Apparently they both empower AND jeopardize women’s sexuality. Yes, both.

Wouldn’t it be more honest to just say: magazine articles ‘make not the slightest bloody difference’ to how the whole spectrum of women worldwide develop sexually over the course of their adolescence and adult lives? Whether they are straight or gay, rich or poor, tall or short,  white or (in the researchers’ own rather mealy-mouthed term) ‘women of colour’ ? Or that the researchers don’t really know, actually?

And is one’s status as a woman ‘of colour’ or, presumably, ‘of no colour’ really a relevant dataset in this instance? Compared to culture, nationality, religion, economic status, whereabouts?

Sometimes there are just too many science papers.


Magazine articles jeopardize and empower young women’s sexuality

Los Angeles, CA (September 4, 2012) While the effects of sexualized media on young women has long been debated, a new study finds that women who read sex-related magazine articles from popular women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan are less likely to view premarital sex as a risky behavior.

Additionally, the women who are exposed to these articles are more supportive of sexual behavior that both empowers women and prioritizes their own sexual pleasure. This study was published in a recent article from Psychology of Women Quarterly (published by SAGE).

Study authors Janna L. Kim and L. Monique Ward wrote, “When exposed to explicit textual messages about female sexual assertiveness in women’s magazines, readers regarded women’s capacity to experience and act on feelings of sexual desire more favorably.”

To execute the study, 150 women college students were randomly assigned to read articles from two popular magazines: one set of articles about women’s roles in sexual relationships and the other set about general entertainment unrelated to sexual relationships.

In addition to finding that the group of women exposed to the sex-related articles endorsed more risky sexual behavior, the researchers found that white women in particular viewed premarital sex as less risky and endorsed taking on a more assertive sexual role than women of color.

Kim and Ward concluded, “Our results suggest that the complex and sometimes conflicting representations of female sexuality proliferating in the mass media and popular culture could potentially have both empowering and problematic effects on women’s developing sexual identities.”

Source: SAGE Publications

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