The entertainment industry, especially the dramas, affects the political views of its viewers in many ways. The audiences of three popular political dramas with female lead characters—Madam Secretary, The Good Wife and Scandal—say that these dramas not only entertain them but also influence their real-world political activities and engagement, according to a recent study.
Purdue University’s Brian Lamb School of Communication assistant professor Jennifer Hoewe and her co-researcher Lindsey Sherrill of University of Alabama conducted the study. A total of 218 respondents, who watch these TV shows regularly and entitled with fan forums and dedicated sub-Reddit pages, participated in the five-week survey in January and February of 2017. Of the respondents, 71% were women and 29% were men while their ages varied from 18 to 73.
The three shows share not only a strong female lead role but also an emphasis on political activities along with vigorous and available fan bases. The study found that the dramas can also play huge role in a viewer’s political beliefs, interest and political participation process, and they the viewers build para-social relationships with the lead roles. The non-stereotyped representations of women in the dramas also help the viewers in developing positive social relationships as well.
Hoewe, J., & Sherrill, L. A. (2019). The Influence of Female Lead Characters in Political TV Shows: Links to Political Engagement. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 63(1), 59-76.