Through the looking glass: comparing crime and gender involvement in both the media reality and the real life crime situation using 1396 synopsis texts over a period of 37 years

Gent, B.S. (2013) Through the looking glass: comparing crime and gender involvement in both the media reality and the real life crime situation using 1396 synopsis texts over a period of 37 years.

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Abstract:Purpose: While media effect on aggression and violent behavior is under dispute, media still factors into the shaping of world view and stereotype reinforcement of the viewers as described in for example Cultivation Theory. The purpose of this study is to illustrate and explore this fact by using an unexplored field of movie content analysis of crowdsourced synopsis texts in order to examine the similarities and differences between crime and gender in American contemporary movies. Methods: A total of 1396 synopsis texts were analyzed from the Internet Movie Database ranging from 1973 to 2011 and coded categorizing the type and severity of violence as well as the gender of both perpetrator(s) and victim(s) of the crimes that occurred. The results of this analysis are then compared to real life crime statistics from the Bureau of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation released during the same time period. Results: Violence in movies over time is remarkably similar to the real life crime statistics, in both cases showing a constant discrepancy between the amount of violence men are involved in compared to women. Men are in both datasets almost 4 times more likely to be the perpetrator in violence, and almost 5 times as likely to be the victim. Men and women are in both datasets most likely to commit murder with a firearm. In both situations firearm violence is the most common type of violence in general. Conclusions: This study shows that the ratio of violence in movies between genders over time is remarkably similar to the crime statistics. This implicates a reinforcing principle where the movies influence the perception of violence and gender stereotypes, keeping the status quo in violent behavior for the genders intact over a long period of time. Crowdsourced content analysis is recommended as a new field of research.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63814
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