A National Prospective Study of Pornography Consumption and Gendered Attitudes Toward Women (2015)

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Sexuality & Culture

September 2015, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 444–463

Paul J. Wright

Soyoung Bae

First Online: 23 December 2014

DOI: 10.1007/s12119-014-9264-z

Abstract

Whether consuming pornography leads to gendered attitudes toward women has been debated extensively. Researchers have primarily studied pornography’s contribution to gendered sexual attitudes such as rape myth acceptance and sexual callousness toward women. The present study explored associations between pornography consumption and nonsexual gender-role attitudes in a national, two-wave panel sample of US adults. Pornography consumption interacted with age to predict gender-role attitudes. Specifically, pornography consumption at wave one predicted more gendered attitudes at wave two for older—but not for younger—adults. Gender-role attitudes at wave one were included in this analysis. Pornography consumption was therefore associated with interindividual over time change in older adults’ gendered attitudes toward women. Older adults’ attitudes toward nonsexual gender roles are generally more regressive than those of younger adults. Thus, this finding is consistent with Wright’s (Commun Yearb 35:343–386, 2011) script acquisition, activation, application model (3AM) of media socialization, which posits that attitude change following media exposure is more likely for viewers’ whose preexisting behavioral scripts are less incongruous with scripts for behavior presented in mass media depictions. Contrary to the perspective that selective exposure explains associations between pornography consumption and content-congruent attitudes, gender-role attitudes at wave one did not predict pornography consumption at wave two.

Keywords

Pornography Gender-roles Socialization Selective exposure 3AM