Sex Roles

, Volume 45, Issue 1–2, pp 31–52 | Cite as

Young Adults' Perceptions and Memories of a Televised Woman Hero

  • Sandra L. Calvert
  • Tracy A. Kondla
  • Karen A. Ertel
  • Douglas S. Meisel


One hundred and thirty-nine young adults viewed one of three episodes of a television program about a female action hero titled Xena: Warrior Princess. Programs varied in portrayals of Xena's shadow, the dark but also life-preserving facet of the personality. Participants of both genders who had higher levels of traditionally masculine personality characteristics were most likely to perceive Xena as a role model. Men were more likely than women to perceive Xena as a role model when she was portrayed with very little male shadow. Story themes describing women's heroic roles involved using your mind, not the sword, as well as the value of compassion during conflicts, themes that are in keeping with traditional feminine values. The results suggest that viewer acceptance of heroic qualities in women depends on viewer characteristics as well as program themes that include valued feminine qualities. Implications for portrayals of heroic women characters are discussed.


Young Adult Social Psychology Personality Characteristic Role Model Television Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra L. Calvert
    • 1
  • Tracy A. Kondla
    • 1
  • Karen A. Ertel
    • 1
  • Douglas S. Meisel
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityUSA;

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