The role of pop culture in the self-development of midlife women
Hughes, Linda Gay
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to determine the role of pop culture in the selfdevelopment of midlife women. Other studies indicate that pop culture, especially mass media, dramatically affects girls and young women, but no information was available about midlife women. A question guiding this study was whether mass media influenced midlife women and, if so, what was the nature of that influence. The methodology used for this qualitative study was narrative analysis, allowing the twelve participants to voice their own stories. The interviews took place in the summer and fall of 2002. These interviews were taped, transcribed, and analyzed using McAdams’ Life Story Model of Identity and other narrative analysis methods. The data revealed that pop culture does affect the self-development of midlife women. However, it was discovered that midlife women carefully select the pop culture sources they choose to attend to, no longer falling prey to whatever sources, like ads, that happen their way as they might have when they were younger. Midlife women choose the media they want to further their self-development. Books, nonfiction and fiction, were by far their most popular choice, although they also used the Internet, watched television, and attended to a few other sources such as self-help seminars and audiotapes. There were three primary effects of media on the participants. They experienced increased: (1) personal power, (2) cognitive development, and (3) spiritual growth. Two conclusions were drawn from this study. Firstly, pop culture does affect the self-development of midlife women. Secondly, the three primary effects, increased personal power, cognitive development, and spiritual growth, intertwine to form a single developmental spiral. Development in one area led to development in others, forming one interactive self-development process for midlife women.