The Influence of Female Lead Characters in Political TV Shows: Links to Political Engagement

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© 2019, © 2019 Broadcast Education Association. This study examined political television dramas with lead female characters, proposing a model that links viewing of these shows with political engagement. A survey revealed that regular viewers of Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, or Scandal reported feeling transported by these programs’ narratives and parasocial relationships with the main characters (i.e., women in positions of political leadership). These responses were also related to increases in political interest and self-efficacy, with interest predicting real-world political participation. The findings illustrate that these political dramas have prosocial implications, including the non-stereotypical representation of women as well as increased political engagement among viewers.

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Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media

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