Media use and Black emerging adults' acceptance of Jezebel and Sapphire stereotypes
Although African Americans are increasingly featured on TV, persistent stereotypes of Black women remain that frame them as hypersexual Jezebels or verbally aggressive Sapphires. Priming participants with these stereotypes negatively affects White emerging adults' perceptions of Black women; however, parallel findings among Black participants have yet to emerge. We investigated this dynamic via two studies, testing mechanisms proposed by cultivation, social cognitive, and social identity theories. In Study 1, 204 Black emerging adults reported their exposure to 6 reality programs and 17 dramas that prominently feature Black women, their perceptions of the realism of TV, and their endorsement of Jezebel and Sapphire stereotypes. As expected, viewing of TV dramas that prominently feature Black women predicted notably greater support of the Jezebel stereotype among women and statistically greater support among men. Attributing greater realism to TV portrayals was associated with stronger support of the Sapphire stereotype among women. In Study 2, we exposed 438 Black and White emerging adults to depictions of the Sapphire stereotype and examined whether evaluations of women, Black women, and a Black woman job applicant varied by race or condition. Participants who had viewed Sapphire depictions perceived women, in general, to be less "feminine,"and White participants viewed Black women to be less warm. Our results offer support for multiple mechanisms and highlight implications for workplace and romantic relationships.
Journal of Media Psychology
Ward, L. Monique; Bridgewater, Enrica E.; and Overstreet, Nicole M., "Media use and Black emerging adults' acceptance of Jezebel and Sapphire stereotypes" (2023). Psychology. 538.