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How Media Frames Move Public Opinion: An Analysis of the Women's Movement

Nayda Terkildsen and Frauke Schnell
Political Research Quarterly
Vol. 50, No. 4 (Dec., 1997), pp. 879-900
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the University of Utah
DOI: 10.2307/448991
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/448991
Page Count: 22
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How Media Frames Move Public Opinion: An Analysis of the Women's Movement
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Abstract

We examine the weekly print media's coverage of the women's movement and ascertain the presence of five unique frames from the 1950s through the 1990s: a sex roles frame, a feminism frame, political rights frame, economic rights frame, and an anti-feminism frame. After describing the frames we discuss an experimental test of four of the media packages on voters' political attitudes using a non-random sample of adults. Experimental results indicate that the economic rights and anti-feminism frames had a strong, negative impact on subject attitudes toward gender equality, support for women's rights, support for non-traditional gender roles and the frequency with which subjects mentioned "women's issues" as among the most important issues facing the U.S. In addition, the feminism frame also exerted negative effects; while, conversely, the political rights frame had a positive influence on similar gender attitudes. Results were moderated by respondent gender with men demonstrating greater susceptibility to issue framing than women.

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