Adults’ Perceptions of their Childhood Media Role Models
Erlandson, Kayley Karen
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The media’s effects on children have been frequently discussed, but the effects that childhood media has when individuals reach adulthood is not fully understood. Current research in this area has mostly focused on present day media figures, not past role models. Studying media role models retroactively shows the power of messages that people receive when they are children. This study used data collected from 18 undergraduate students through interviews (6 males, 12 females) to investigate three research questions regarding gender’s role in choosing a media role model, the articulation of gender identity during discussion of media role models, and how assessments of childhood media role models change over time. Findings that could lead to potential future research include the underlying hegemonic masculinity, where men are accessing their power in society through fictional characters’ masculine traits, and the influence of shared experience of media when choosing a childhood media role model.