Women's reactions to sexually aggressive mass media depictions

Carol Krafka, Daniel Linz, Edward Donnerstein, Steven Penrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The idea that the media contribute to a cultural climate that is supportive of attitudes facilitating violence against women, diminishes concern for female victims (desensitization), and produces negative changes in women's views of themselves was investigated. Women viewed a film per day for 4 days from one of three categories: a) sexually explicit but nonviolent stimuli, b) sexually explicit, sexually violent stimuli, and c) mildly sexually explicit, graphically violent stimuli. They then served as jurors in a simulated rape trial. Exposure to both types of violent stimuli produced desensitization and ratings of the stimuli as less degrading to women. Women exposed to the mildly sexually explicit, graphically violent stimuli were less sensitive toward the victim in the rape trial than were other film subjects. However, no differences were obtained between the film groups and the no-exposure control group on women's views of themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-181
Number of pages33
JournalViolence Against Woman
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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