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1 A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF GENDER POWER DYNAMICS AND HIV/AIDS PROTECTIVE BEHAVIOR AS PRESENTED IN MAGAZINES THAT TARGET AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN By LAKEISHA RODMAN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY O F FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Lakeisha Rodman
3 To family and friends who encouraged throughout this journey
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENT S I would like to give special thanks to my advisor, Dr. Kim Walsh Childers for her patience and guidance and the expertise she shared with me throughout this process. I also want to acknowledge committee members, Dr. Cory Armstrong and Dr. Lisa Duke Corne ll. I also want to thank my mother, Shelia Elaine Rodman for her never ending support of my efforts as I accomplish my goals. Her encouragement during time s of uncertainty, as I stumbled through this process, was invaluable.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 7 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 1 0 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 17 Gender related Prevention Challenges ................................ ................................ ... 17 Gender Socialization, Sexuality and Power ................................ ............................ 22 Examining Gender and Power through Descriptions of Sexual Scripts .................. 28 3 RESEARCH METHOD ................................ ................................ ........................... 43 Rationale for Qualitative Approach ................................ ................................ ......... 43 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 44 Coding and Analysis ................................ ................................ ............................... 47 Example of the Research Process ................................ ................................ .......... 49 The Role and Perspective of the Researcher ................................ ......................... 50 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 54 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 54 RQ1: How Do African American Targeted Magazines Discuss Gender Related Prevention Challenges in Articles about HIV/AIDS Prevention? .......................... 54 Themes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 55 Villains vs. Victims ................................ ................................ ............................ 55 Emotional Vulnerability (Low Self esteem) ................................ ....................... 59 Empowerment and Personal Responsibility ................................ ..................... 60 RQ2: How Do African American Targeted Magazines Address Gender Expectations and Relationship Dynamics in Articles about Heterosexual Relationships, Intimacy and/or Sex? ................................ ................................ ... 62 Themes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 63 Appro priate Expression of Female Sexuality ................................ .................... 63 Men Control Relationships ................................ ................................ ............... 65 Shortage of Black Men ................................ ................................ ..................... 69 Myth of Black Male Hyper sexual ity ................................ ................................ 71 Marriages Can Survive Infidelity ................................ ................................ ....... 72 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 78
6 RQ1: How Do African American Targeted Magazines Address Gender Related Prevention Challenges in Articles about HIV/AIDS Prevention? .......................... 78 RQ2: How Do African American Targeted Magazines Discuss Gender Expectations and Relationship Dynamics in Articles about Heterosexual Relationships, Intimacy and/or Sex? ................................ ................................ ... 91 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 93 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 93 Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 95 APPENDIX: SAMPLE OF CODING SHE ET ................................ ............................... 100 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 101 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 108
7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4 1 RQ1/Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine. Figure 4 1 outlines the links examples of content relating t o both the theme and subthemes. ....................... 75 4 2 RQ1/Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 3 outlines the links subtheme s by listing examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 75 4 3 RQ1/Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 3 outlines links subthemes by listing examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 76 4 4 RQ2/Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 4 outlines the links to both the theme and subthemes. ................................ ................................ ..... 76 4 5 RQ2/Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 1 outlines the links examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. ....................... 77 4 6 RQ2/Results for Ebony Magazine only. Figure 4 6 outlines the links between the theme and subthemes. ................................ ................................ ....................... 77
8 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Arts A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF GEND ER POWER DYNAMICS AND HIV/AIDS PROTECTIVE BEHAVIOR AS PRESENTED IN MAGAZINES THAT TARGET AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN By Lakeisha Rodman December 2011 Chair: Kim Walsh Childers Major: Mass Communication Mass media play a significant role in educating audiences about health issues such as HIV/AIDS. Many scholars contend that mass media have the potential to influence perceptions about sexuality and safe sex behaviors in ways that could help prevent the spread of viral infections such as HIV. It has been sugg ested that when African American females are the target audience, effectively promoting safe sex might include addressing prevention challenges in ways that are culturally competent and gender specific. Because they are designed to address issues from cul turally relevant points of view and maintain large female audiences, as distributors of health news and information, lifestyle magazines that target African American s possess a unique opportunity to reach black women with useful preventive information rega rding HIV/AIDS. In addition, African American targeted magazines like Ebony and Essence have a history of addressing social issues and airing minority points of view that may not be covered by mainstream media. Studies suggest that a many readers conside r them to be appropriate and reliable sources of health information This s tudy seeks to
9 examine how such magazines currently deliver such information to African American female readers Examining African American magazines can give researchers some idea o f how African Americans, especially women, view HIV/AIDS and preventive sexual behavior and/or, at least, some ideas about the kind of the information they receive from sources they trust. Since articles are deliberately design to be relevant to the exper iences of African Americans, examining them can also give researchers some idea of how readers view relationships, sex and the challenges involved in navigating though, gaining and maintaining intimate relationships. Researchers can also assess the accura cy and effectiveness of health promotion messages distributed by magazines and make recommendations for improvement. By performing a qualitative content analysis of issues published between from 2000 2009, I examined how the magazines, Ebony and Essence address gender specific prevention challenges such as the influence of gender norms on attitudes toward safe sex planning, safe sex negotiation, male and female sexuality and gender/power dynamics in intimate relationships. I also performed an analysis o n the portrayal of gender power dynamics in articles that focus on relationships and sex, because these articles, though they may not specifically address safe sex or HIV/AIDS, offer women information on how to navigate their way through romantic and sexua l relationships. Prior research indicates that attitudes toward gender and sexuality in general impacts safe sex negotiation and behaviors in relationships.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Officially recognized in 1981, HIV/AIDS has been portrayed in mass med ia as a threat primarily for men who have sex with men (Center for Disease Control [CDC], 2010; Johnson, Gotthoffer & Lauffer ,1999; Krishnan, Duran, & Winkler, 1997; Pickle, Quinn & Brown, 2002). Although women still trail men with respect to HIV diagnos is, infection rates for females have risen dramatically since 1981. Among females, African American women are the most affected. The rate of HIV/AIDS infection among African American females has risen at rates disproportionate to those of the other ethnic groups in the United States. In 2005, the rate of HIV diagnosis for black women was at least 23 times the rate for white women and four times the rate for Hispanic women (CDC, 2008). Although African Americans account for only 12% of the U.S. population among all females diagnosed with HIV in 2006, black females represented 61% of new cases (CDC, 2008). When compared with women of other races/ethnicities, from 2001 to 2005, black women accounted for the majority of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the South (71.5 %), Northeast (64.4%), and Midwest (63.5%) (CDC, 2007). HIV/AIDS is also a major cause of mortality for black women. According to the CDC, in 2004, HIV infection was the leading cause of death for black women aged 25 34 years, the 3rd leading cause death for black women aged 35 44 years, and the 4th leading cause of death for those aged 45 54 years (CDC, 2008). Besides the sheer loss of lives family members, friends, citizens within our communities and the severely compromised health status of survivo rs, HIV/AIDS infection and mortality cost individuals, communities and society billions of dollars in medical expenses and lost productivity each year (Chen et al., 2006; Hutchinson et al.,
11 2006; Shackman et al., 2006). For example, Hutchinson et al. (200 6) estimates that lifetime costs of new HIV/AIDS cases reported in 2002 alone will be $36.4 billion $6.7 billion in direct medical care and $29.7 billion in productivity loss (Hutchinson et al., 2006). These estimates are based upon a survival rate of 12.4 to 26.1 years (depending on CD4 cell count at time of diagnosis) among adults and adolescents aged 13 and older (Hutchinson et al., 2006). Additional costs associated with HIV/AIDS infection are not included in these estimates. For example, the esti mates for medical care do not include expenditures for voluntary caregivers. The estimates for productivity loss include only losses due to mortality, not productivity loss due to illness related disability. Such factors should undoubtedly raise the cost of HIV/AIDS in the United States. Due to disparities in provision of, access to and receipt of medical care, including the most effective antiretroviral treatments, mortality related productivity loss estimates for members of minority groups, such as Afri can Americans and Hispanics, are significantly higher ($766,800 and $838,000 respectively) than those for European Americans ($661,000) infected with HIV/AIDS (Hutchinson et al., 2006). In addition, studies show that HIV/AIDS infections occur disproportio nately among poorer Americans who live in areas of high population density (Zierler & Krieger, 1998). Members of minority groups such as black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to live within such areas (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). Because of their e conomic status, inadequate access to quality healthcare and treatment options disproportionately burdens these populations (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009).
12 It is also important to address the impact of the epidemic on those who depend on people living with H IV/AIDS as primary caregivers. Specifically, what happens to the children of women who become unable to provide care due to the financial and emotional strain of managing their condition, an illness related disability, or death from AIDS? Mothers with H IV are often the sole caregivers for their children, providing them with both financial/material and emotional support (Shable et al., 1995). Parental custody of children can be interrupted temporarily or permanently due to financial hardships, hospitaliz ation, illness related disabilities and mortality (Cowgill et al., 2007). related stigma, cultural beliefs, depression, fear of mortality, and distrust and misunderstanding of the lega HIV are children of color (Mason & Lansk 2002). Parents of low socio economic status are particularly vulnerable to the challenge of maintaining custody because they lack m any of the financial resources needed to manage their medical condition and its consequences (Cowgill et al., 2007). Children, of course, are often materially HIV/AIDS relat ed illness and mortality (Mason & Lansk, 2002; Mason & Lansk, 2004, higher rates of depression, sexual risk behaviors, and other emotional and behavioral ll et al., 2007, p.495). Mass media play a significant role in educating audiences about health issues such as HIV/AIDS (Hoffman Goetz, Gerlach, Marino and Mills, 1997; Johnson, Gotthoffer & Lauffer, 1999; Krishnan, Duran, & Winkler, 1997; Pickle, Quinn & Brown,
13 2002). Through mass media, people are informed about the existence of HIV/AIDS, rate s of infection, related risks, symptoms and treatment, and personal and societal consequences of HIV infection and mortality. In addition, many scholars contend that mass media have the potential to influence perceptions about sexuality and safe sex behaviors in ways that could help prevent the spread of viral infections such as HIV. Clarke, McClellan and Hoffman ia provide a background for the ways in which people think about and talk about their lives (p.495). Because people rely on the media as important sources of health information, researchers can examine the framing of HIV/AIDS news and information to learn more about what audiences may understand about it. They also can assess the accuracy info rmation in relation to HIV/AIDS risks, infection rates and avenues for prevention. Researchers have pointed to a number of factors that contribute to higher incidences of HIV/AIDS among African Americans. Among such factors are higher rates of poverty, lo wer access to healthcare and contraceptive options, higher rates of injected drug abuse and the denial of risk that stems from the social stigma of HIV/AIDS. In addition, a contributory factor unique to females is the perceived lack of control over decisi on making that influences safe sex practices in intimate relationships. Studies show that gender role enactment in heterosexual relationships often influences the power dynamics between males and females in the sexual decision making process (Amaro & Raj 2000; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009; Wingood & Clemente, 1998; Wingood & DiClemete, 2000; Zierler & Krieger 1997; Zierler et al.,
14 2002; Reid, 2000). In other words, gender specific behavior patterns or norms lower the persuasive power many females exert during condom use negotiations or may preclude such negotiations altogether (Amaro & Raj, 2000; Reid, 2000; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009; Wingood & Clemente, 1998; Wingood & DiClemete, 2000; Zierler & Krieger, 199 7 ; Zierler et al., 2002). These gender norms are shaped and perpetuated of social and cultural rules that determine appropriate sexual behaviors for men and women (Amaro & Raj 2000; Reid ,2000; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009; Wingood & C lemente, 1998; Wingood & DiClemete, 2000; Zierler & Krieger 1997; Zierler et al., 2002,). Therefore, it has been suggested that when African American females are the target audience, effectively promoting safe sex might include addressing such gender rel ated prevention challenges (Reid, 2000; Wingood & Clemente, 1998; Wingood & DiClemete, 2000; Zierler & Krieger 1997; Zierler et al., 2002) Traditionally, mainstream media have given less attention to issues that disproportionately impact African American communities (Johnson et al, 1999). Previous studies have shown that mainstream media coverage of HIV/AIDS and its impact on African American communities is limited. Some believe that this lack of coverage makes the educational role of ethnically targete d media extremely important (Krishnan et al., 1997). In addition, ethnically targeted media are uniquely positioned to address issues from ethnically relevant points of view (Johnson et al, 1999). It is widely believed that health communication efforts a process health information (Kreuter, Sugg Skinner, Holt, Clarke, Haire Joshu, Qiang Fu,
15 Booker, Steger May & Bucholtz, 200 5). Because they are designed to address issues from culturally relevant points of view, as distributors of health news and information, lifestyle magazines that target African Americans possess a unique opportunity to reach black women with HIV/AIDS info rmation. Examining African American magazines can give researchers some idea of how African Americans, especially women, view HIV/AIDS and preventive sexual behavior. Researchers can also assess the accuracy and effectiveness of health promotion messages distributed by magazines and make recommendations for improvement. In this thesis, I examined how Essence and Ebony the two magazines with the highest readership among African Americans, frame information on HIV/AIDS, safe sex behavior and gender roles i n heterosexual relationships. Available on paper or online, these magazines reach millions of African Americans each year ( Ebony /Jet, 2010; Essence 2010; Magazine Publishers of America [MPA], 2008). Essence has a particularly good opportunity to reach A frican American women because it is written especially for black women. Although Ebony is not targeted specifically to women, black women make up more than half of its read ership. By performing a qualitative analysis of issues published between from 2000 articles on HIV/AIDS address gender specific prevention challenges such as the influence of gender norms on attitudes toward safe sex planning, safe sex negotiation, sexuality and gender/power dynamics in intimate relat ionships. I also performed a qualitative analysis of sex and relationship dynamics in articles that focus on relationships and sex. This analysis was included to gather some information about the
16 perpetuation of or challenges to the enactment of gender n orms which often serves as a barrier to HIV/AIDS prevention.
17 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Gender related Prevention Challenges Statistics concerning the individual and societal burden of HIV/AIDS and rising rates of infection are particularly troubling b ecause contraction of the virus is preventable. Most cases of HIV infection among black women are the result of high risk heterosexual contact sex without condoms with a man who has HIV (CDC, 2007). Therefore, the infection rate among African American women could decrease significantly through widespread adoption of HIV/AIDS protective behaviors, such as consistent condom use. Safe sex planning and enactment such as condom use could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in medical care and ot her resources (Chen et al., 2006; Hutchinson et al., 2006; Shackman et al., 2006). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), although condom use by partners of unmarried females aged 18 to 44 years increased between 1995 and 2 002 (the last year for which such data are available), condom use remains well below the HHS targets 54% for men and 50% for women (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2009) 1 The focus of many discussions regarding prevention is the ex tent to which African American females are able to and/or choose to influence condom use with sexual partners. This discussion involves a consideration of verbal and non verbal communication norms and expectations that influence the balance of power in 1 Although current s tatistics are not available HHS researchers a nticipate that neither gender is c lose to achieving targets set for HHS health promotion initiatives 54 % for men and 50 % for women (HHS, 2009).
18 he terosexual relationships. The complex system of communication is heavily i nfluenced by social and cultural norms that encourage women to play a more submissive role within intimate encounters with male partners (Amaro & Raj, 2000; Reid, 2000; Wingood & Cle mente,1998; Wingood & DiClemete, 2000; Zierler & Krieger 1997; Zierler et al., 2002). There is also significant agreement that, in spite of improvements in economic and social mobility for women and racial/ethnic minorities, structural factors such as ge nder inequality, racism and poverty make many African American females disproportionately vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in comparison with those of other races/ethnicities, particularly white Americans (Bauer, Bolan, Gibson, Hernandez, Kent & Klausne r 2002; Gutierrez, Oh & Gillmore, 2000; Gupta, Whelan & Allendorf, 2003; Gomez & Martin, 1996; Wingood & Clemente, 1998; Wingood & DiClemete, 2000; Wingood, Davies DiClemente & Harrington, 2002; Zierler & Krieger, 1997; Zierler et al, 2002). field of prevention and intervention. According to Wingood and DiClemente (2000): During the 1990s, researchers in the field of HIV prevention noted that most of the theoretical model s driving this field had an individualistic lives. These models assumed that the individual had total control over his or her behavior, and contextual factors, such as power differential s and (p.540). Widely used beha vior change theories point to a number of variables that influence behavior, including socio psychological, environmental and individual cognitive f actors. Although these theories maintain that soc ial context and norms influence individual behavior, some scholars contend that they focus too little on the impact of social and cultural factors (Airhihenbuwa & Obregon, 2000; Dutta Bergman,
19 2005). Despi te this contention, because they form the basis for many public health initiatives, it is appropriate to briefly review major behavior change theories The Health Belief Model, Social Cognitive Theory, and Theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behavior help researchers understand and identify factors that motivate and predict human behavior (Fishbein & Yzer, 2003). They also aim to help us to understand what types of messages might effectively promote preventive behaviors for specific audiences. The th eories of reasoned action and planned behavior outline psychological variables that influence behavior, namely (a) intention to enact behavior; (b) positive or of what important others think about the behavior; (d) perceived behavioral control or perceptions concerning the ease or difficulty of performing behavior; (e) behavioral, o Albarracin, Johnson, Fishbein & Muellerleil 2001, p. 142 p erform a given behavior (Ajzen, 1991, p.182). Essentially, the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior maintain that behavior enactment depends largely on behavioral intention and control (Ajzen, 1991). Behavioral intention and control are large positive or negative attitudes toward behaviors, the presence of environmental constraints, the ability to perform behavior, and beliefs about the effectiveness of a give n behavior to achieve a desired result. With respect to HIV/AIDS protective
20 behavior, the probability that a woman will ask or require that a male partner use condoms may depend on the following factors: 1. Her personal attitude toward condom use and condo m use negotiation, which is influenced by her assessment of condom efficacy and what she believes her partner and important others (e.g. religious groups, cultural group members) think about condom use, along with her willingness to communicate about it; 2. Her perception of the ease or difficulty of using condoms during intercourse and the ease with which she can convince her partner to use condoms. 3. The availability of condoms and her knowledge about how to use them properly. Social Cognitive Theory maintai ns that behavior is largely determined by individual cognitions, environment influences and social factors (Bandura, 1989; Bandura, 1994; Bandura, 2001). Social learning is a central component in social cognitive theory. Social learning theory maintains that people learn by watching others, especially those with whom they strongly identify (Bandura, 1969). For example, a teenage girl or young adult female may learn how to behave in sexual situations by observing female and male behavior in television an d film portrayals of sexual intimacy or by reading descriptions of such interactions in magazine articles. For example, she may take note of who initiates sexual intimacy and how that person initiates intimacy. She may also within a sexual context positive or negative reaction to her behaviors in sexual situations. She may also note whether condoms use is in troduced in sexual situations and how it is introduced. Prior temperament, will influence future behavior in sexual situations (Bandura, 1989; Bandura, 1994; Bandura, 2001). In addition, the development and maintenance of sexual health behaviors such as condom use is strongly influenced by self efficacy, the
21 extent to which a person believes that he or she is capable of enacting a given behavior and overcoming environmental (e .g. condom availability) and social constraints (e.g. social, cultural and interpersonal pressures) (Bandura, 2001). Predicting individual behavior involves considering all of these factors. The Health Belief Model maintains that certain psychological f actors, along with physical and/or environmental stimuli, work together in determining behavior (Janz & Becker, 1984). The psychological factors that can influence health behaviors such as condom use are as follows: (1) perceived susceptibility or the ext ent to which an individual feels that he or she can contract an illness or virus such as HIV; (2) perceived severity -consequences (e.g. pain, death, social isolation) of HIV/AIDS; (3) perceived benefits -personal assessment about the ability of condoms to prevent HIV contraction; and (4) perceived barriers -perceptions about the costs associated with the performance of a health behavior, such as the expense and inconvenience of using a condom or a physical or environmental stimuli that trigger decision making processes with regard to a given health behavior (Janz & Becker, 1984). In the case of HIV protective behavior, environmental stimuli may include messages advocating condom use. Physical stimuli may include contraction of an STI through unprotected sex. Some scholars argue that, although many behavior change theories recognize the influenc psychology as opposed to [the] family, group, or community, [as the] locus of decision
22 (or lack thereof) in sexual relationships center on social and cultural norms that reinforce gender inequality. Such norms place male desire at the center of sexual interaction, giving men control over the safe sex behavior. In addition, condom use depends on a negotiation is vulnerable to complications that stem from interpersonal pressure and gender/power dynamics. Much of the decision to enact safe sex behaviors is physically s control (other than refusal to have sex). Therefore, in promoting healthy sexual behavior, it is important to understand the way women view their sexual identities, roles and power relative to that of their male partners and appropriately weigh those fa ctors when addressing behavior intention and enactment (Bowleg, Belgrave, & Reisen, 2000; Amaro & Raj, 2000). The purpose of this research is to examine if and how African American lifestyle magazines address cultural and social norms when communicating with women about HIV/AIDS preventive behavior. Gender Socialization, Sexuality and Power It is important to address the process of socialization and enculturation that produces gender centric communication patterns and behavior expectations in males and females. I t is crucial to consider the difference between sex differentiation and gender categorization While sex differentiation is biologically and physiologically determined, t here is significant agreement among scholars that gender categories are la rgely socially constructed (Bem, 1991; Neuliep, 2006; West & Zimmerman. 1987; Wingood & Clemente, 1998; Wingood & DiClemete, 2000; Wingood et al, 2002). Rules regarding a ppropriate behavior for males and females are not biologically determined; they are t aught and learned throughout a per before he or she
23 becomes sexually active. Individuals learn to categorize attributes and behaviors as masculine, feminine or gender neutral across various contexts unrelated to sexual interaction (Be m, 1991 ; Neulip, 2006 ). Gender is a set of attributes and behaviors persuasion, social and physical controls in the law, in the workplace, in the community, and in the f amily (Epstein 2006, p.46). Although these ideologies and behaviors are learned, they are often considered natural go unquestioned. acceptance and identifi cation. Males and females are often expected to behave according to gender identification and are often socially penalized for failing to exhibit socially accepted behaviors West & Zimmerman (1987) describes the social importance of performing these rol es: [T] he "doing" of gender is undertaken by women and men whose competence as members of society is hostage to its production. Doing gender involves a complex of socially guided perceptual, interactional, and micropolitical activities that cast particul ar pursuits as expressions of masculine and feminine "natures." By examining the process of gender socialization, particularly as it relates to sexuality, we see that cultural norms encourage women to behave toward and communicate with males in ways that a llow men to hold greater influence in relationships, particularly as it pertains to sexual intercourse (Wingood & DiClemente, 1998, 2002; Guiterrez et al., 2000). In this context, the exertion of power is not always direct. Simply performing behaviors as relationship structure within which the communication and behavioral style of one partner requires the submission of another partner (Amaro & Raj, 2000). For example, across most cultures, males are expected to be
24 making, men are aggressive and assertive while women are pass ive and relenting (Amaro & Raj, 2000). In addition, g beliefs about their own sexuality and the sexuality of their partners. Sex is principally considered a male domain. For men, pursuit of sex for pleasur e is encouraged, and women are encouraged to fulfill the sexual desires of their male partners, sometimes, even at the expense of their own interests ( Bowleg, L., Lucas, K, & Tschann, J. 2004; Robinson, Bockting, Rosser, Miner & Co leman, 2002). The initia tion and pursuit of sex strong sense of masculinity (Bowleg et al., 2004; Robinson, Bockting, Rosser Miner & Coleman, 2002). Females in contrast, are often socially penalized for having multiple partners and pursuing sexual relationships solely for physical pleasure. For females, such behaviors are associated with a lack of morality (Bowleg et al., 2004; Robinson et. al, 2002; Wingood & Clemente, 1998; Wingood & DiCl emete, 2000; Wingood et al, 2002). Wingood and DiClemente (2000) explain: These biases produce cultural norms, the enforcement of strict gender roles, and stereotypical beliefs such as believing that women should have sex only for procreation, creating taboos with regard to female sexuality partners an accepted norm for men but not women), and believing that women shou ld refrain from touching their own body (p. 546). Possessing relationship power is important for women because practicing safe sex sometimes requires that women convince unwilling partners to adopt safe sex behaviors such as using a condom. Several stu dies have found that heterosexually active African American females perceive that they hold less power in relationships than
25 their male partners (Bontempi, Eng, & Quinn, 2008; Bowleg et al., 2000; Bowleg et al., 2004; Bralock &Koniak Griffin, 2007; Gomez & Marin, 1996; Guiterrez, Oh & Gilmore, 2000; Wingood & DiClemente, 2000). Researchers have found a positive correlation between perceived relationship power and condom use for African American women (Bontempi, Eng & Quinn, 2008; Bowleg et al., 2000; Bowle g et al., 2004; Bralock & Koniak Griffin, 2007; Gomez & Marin, 1996; Gutierrez et al., 2000; Wingood & young women may not experience the level of power in their relationships necessary to Distinguishing concepts of personal, interpersonal and social power in this conversation highlights the importance of socio de cision making. Gutierrez, Oh and Gillmore (2000) describe personal power as a the actual skills and options possessed in a situation (Gutierrez et al., 2000). Personal power allows a person to influence his or her own circumstances, including his or her own health. For example, one may feel competent at exercising to maintain ing a healthy weight to lower risk s for heart disease. In doing so, one experiences and express the exercise of interpersonal power the ability to influence others (Gutierrez et al., 2000). In order to have interpersonal power, one must possess the status, resources or s kills required to influence others (Gutierrez et al., 2000). Interpersonal power, as Guiterrez, Oh and Gilmore (2000) explain, is inextricably linked to social power. It is
26 Social power de skills, credibility, or attractiveness. Some of these bases of power are ascriptive based on race, gender, or class but others can be achieved as one develops social skills or attains n ew social positions (p.586). Wingood and DiClemente (2000) explain this type of power as: [T]he capacity to influence the action of others...[exercise] power over This ability ca n reside at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and/or community level. Furthermore, the sources of power can be interpersonal or distributed, such that access to power can be shared (p.543). Personal power, interpersonal power and social power are linked in important ways. For this reason, discussions about safe sex negotiations in relationships must involve an acknowledgement of the social and cultural contexts in which negotiations take place. Because enacting HIV/AIDS protective behaviors i nvolves influencing the interpersonal and social power are important to consider (Gutierrez et al., 2000; Wingood & DiClemente, 2000; Wingood & DiClemente, 2002; Bowleg et al, 2000; Bowleg et al., 2004). Researchers have examined the ways in which social power inequalities influence perceived personal and interpersonal power of women. They work together to produce (Wingood & DiClemente, 2000, p.540). For example, dependence on a male partner for making regarding engagement in protected and unprotected sex (Gupta et al., 2003, Wingood & DiClemente, 2000;
27 fo are often undervalued and low addition, according to the 2004 U.S. Census report, in every occupational area, women ma ke, on average, less than their male counterparts (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). This is particularly relevant for underemployed women and women who live in poverty. The poverty rate for women is twice that of males (Wingood & DiClemente, 2000). African Am erican women, in particular, are disproportionately affected by poverty (Zierler & Krieger et al., 1997). In such economic situations, women have limited access to health care and health information (Wingood & DiClemente, 2000, Zierler & Krieger, 1997). Overall, they have less personal, interpersonal and social power due to economic partners for economic support, which influences the sexual division of power in favor of m en, whereby because of their economic power, men maintain more control over decisions made in intimate relationships (Wingood & DiClemente, 2000). What men (Wingood & DiClemente 1998, p.33). They have more economic and social power; thus, they have more interpersonal power. In the context of decision making with regard to how sex occurs, men are more able to assert their influence in determining whether or not cond oms are used (Wingood & DiClemente 1998). Ortiz Torres, Williams and Ehrhardt (2003) find that male control of other areas of relationships is intertwined with the dominant role many men portray in sexual decision making. In particular, in their study, t here was significant agreement among female participants that
28 men control relationships through assertive behavior by exercising more control over status, and cohabi tation (Ortiz Torres et al., 2003). Studies involving interviews and focus groups with African American females have allowed researchers to examine the way attitudes and beliefs about gender impact sexual health. They have done so by focusing on sexual scripts (i.e. sets of behavior expectations about sexual situations and romantic relationships). Such research is useful because it allows women to articulate their own perspectives regarding sex and gender norms. In these studies, six main themes permea te sexual scripts as articulated by African American female participants: (1) Men decide when, how and where sex occurs and if condoms are used; (2) It is normal for men to have multiple sexual partners; (3) Condom use, for females, is associated with prom iscuity and sexual immorality; (4) Men use sex for pleasure; (5) Females use sex, even unprotected sex, to obtain or maintain relationships with male partners; (6) The optimal sexual experience for women occurs within committed relationships and is romanti c and unplanned (Bowleg et al., 2000; Bowleg et al., 2004; Jones, 2006; Ward et al., 2005; Ortiz Torres Bahlburg, 2003; Stephens & Phillips, 2005). Examining Gender and Power through Descriptions of Sexual Scripts Scripts h schema is a cognitive structure, a network of associations that organizes and guides an give meaning t o new information by relating it to previous experiences, observations and teachings (Abelson, 1981, Bem, 1991, Gagnon & Simon 1984). According to Bem (1991):
29 what is perceived is a pro duct of the interaction between the incoming information and the perceiver's preexisting schema (p. 355). In Essence we understand and react to new experiences based not only upon the experiences themselves, but also upon meanings and beliefs developed over time. These meanings and beliefs are developed from enculturation and socialization, past experiences and observations (Abelson, 1981; Bem, 1991; Gagnon & Simon, 1984; Gagnon & Simon, 1986). Scripts also can be understood as packages of informatio n associated with a particular context, experience and/or event (Abelson, 1981; Gagnon & Simon, 1984; activated organize comprehension of event p717). In other words, they allow us to prepare for events before those events occur. In developing scripts associated with sex, individuals approach new sexual experiences prepared to interact with sexual partners based upon their preconceived notions of how, where, and with whom to enact their sexuality. The degree to which a script directs behavior may vary according to cultural context and individual interpretation (Gagnon & Simon, 1986). Scripts can loosely inform our expectations about an event, giving us general guidelines regarding appropriate behavior in particular situations. At the same time, scripts also can give us strict, rigid instructions for behavior in a given setting. Abelson (1991) explains: In its weak sense, [a script] is a bundl e of inferences about the potential occurrence of a set of events and may be structurally similar to other schemata that do not deal with events. In its strong sense, it involves expectations about the order as well as the occurrence of events. In the str ongest sense of a totally ritualized event sequence (e.g., a Japanese tea ceremony), script predictions become infallible but this case is relatively rare (p. 717, emphasis mine).
30 Scripts help individuals develop behavior expectations that help decrease un certainty in situations. Individuals learn to recognize the degree to which they are expected to conform to behavior expectations. Scripts also teach us to expect certain positive or negative consequences to result from adherence to or violation of rules bundle of inferences about the potential occurrence of a set of events and may be 1, closely associated with gender schemas. Males and females learn to adjust behaviors across contexts through direct teaching and by observing those of the same sex in various situations. In heterosexual relationships, males and females often fill behavior expectations that are consistent with culturally and socially bound attitudes and beliefs attached to their biological sex (Bandura 1989; Bem 1991; Neuliep, 2006). Schemata that categorize personal attributes and behaviors as masculine or feminine in contexts unrelated to sexual activity eventually inform sexual script development and enactment. Simon and Gagnon (1970) explains: The learning of sex roles, or sex i dentities, involves many things that are remote from actual sexual experience, or that become involved with sexuality only after puberty. Masculinity or femininity, their meaning and postures, are rehearsed before adolescence in many nonsexual ways (p.34). By examining sexual scripts, researchers have found that, in subtle and more overt ways, attitudes and beliefs about traditional gender roles and sex can place decisions about condom use in the hands of men. For example, sexual scripts that describe the sex planning (Ortiz Torres
31 Bahlburg, 2003). As sex is primarily a male domain, in the ideal sexual scenario, men initiate sex. Because women assume men will initiate sex, they also may assume that men will introduce the idea of using a condom during sex. That is, men should come to the event with condoms, prepared for safe sex. Ideally, the man would simply decide to use a condom without being asked or persuaded. The em phasis on spontaneity and male control of condom use in these scripts relieves women of the responsibility of safe sex planning. In such spontaneous encounters, planning for safe sex is not a priority (Ortiz the traditiona be romantically engaging, it also increases the chance of the partners experiencing (Ortiz Torres et a l., 2003, p.3). Researchers have also found a close relationship between sexual relationship development and social status among young women. Social pressures encourage females to give control of their sexual expression to male partners, who determine if, when and how sex occurs and again whether or not condoms are used Because males are presumed to be less emotionally invested, females may use sex to secure Meyer Bahlb urg 2003, p. 231). In these cases, although females may be aware of the risks, having unprotected sex may allow them to protect a more important social interest acquiring or keeping a boyfriend. Studies have shown that in terms of the development of att itudes and beliefs, children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the influence of behavior models
32 portrayed through various media (Bandura, 2001; Peterson et al., 2007; Simon & Gagnon, 2003; Stephens & Phillips, 2003; Stephens & Few, 2007; Steph ens & Phillips, 2005; Ward et al., 2005; Wingood et al., 2002). For the most part, people develop attitudes and beliefs about gender and sexuality before they become sexually active. They possess attitudes about gender and power across various contexts (e .g. sports, occupations, mannerisms, school). Before they actually have sex, they develop ideas about factors that motivate sexual behavior. These factors are attributed to individuals based upon gender and race. In this study, it is essential to inves tigate the portrayal of African American women in particular as it relates to sexual identity and the sexual scripts associated with those identities. Researchers have revealed that African American youth learn to associate certain sexual behavior expecta black women through the television programs, movies and music they watch and listen to. For example, Stephens and Few (2007) took an intimate look at what adolescents learn about sex and gender through music lyrics and videos. The researchers conducted one of the very few studies of this topic in which participants themselves articulated what they learn about sexual health (e.g. condom use, STDs) through hip hop music and videos. The data collected in this study described sexual sc ripts and stereotypes gathered by watching entertainment media as articulated by television viewers aged 11 13. The study also explored how racially specific gender stereotypes are preserved through media. In their study, participants were asked to ex plain the images of females and describe the sexual behaviors associated with them. Every participant in the study was able to identify depicted gender based sexual stereotypes and sexual scripts associated
33 with them. The stereotypes ranged from women wh o were comfortable displaying their sexual attractiveness but used great discretion when choosing partners (Divas); sexually promiscuous women who used sex for pleasure and to get male attention (Freaks); those who used sex for money (Gold Diggers) or to t rap men into relationships (Baby Mamas); to the religious (Sista Soldiers) and spiritually self aware women (Earth Mothers) who abstained from sex outside of committed relationships and marriage; the final stereotype was that of the man hating women who pr eferred sexual relationships were able to identify all of the stereotypes by the names associated with them (Stephens & Few, 2007). In addition, as far as racial stereoty pes are concerned, the authors argue that the stereotype of the over sexed black male and female are most prevalent in the media. They are reminiscent of stereotypes of men and women of African descent that have permeated Western cultures for centuries (S tephens and Few, 2007). Most important to this discussion are the ways in which participants described the expected outcomes of sexual script enactment as it relates to sexual health. For example, according to participants, men would consider using condom s with promiscuous women but would not need to use them with those who are sexually pure and/or passive. Women who did not conform to standards of sexual purity or discretion were perceived as sexually deviant and possibly infected with STDs. Again, as i t relates to barriers to HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention, we find familiar themes articulated in these discussions: (1) Condoms are used with promiscuous women to whom a man will not commit; (2) Men control condom use (Condom use was not
34 mentioned in sexual role enactment attributed to women); (3) While it is normal for men to have multiple sex partners and pursue sex solely for pleasure, it is morally wrong and unattractive for women to have multiple sex partners; (4)While men use sex for pleasure, women use sex to accomplish other goals (e.g. maintaining a relationship, getting male attention, financial gain) (Stephens & Few, 2007). Media coverage of HIV/AIDS among African American women Many scholars believe that mass media have the potential to in fluence perceptions about sexuality and safe sex in ways that prevent the spread of infections and diseases in which people think about and talk about their lives and their also crucial as a window into how particular cultural groups understand disease and Goetz, 2006, p.495). Although health care professionals are often the most trusted sources of health information, people also rely on mass media magazines, newspapers and television -to give them valuable information about health, disease prevention and wellness (Cutilli, 2010; Cotton & Gupta, 2004; Gollop, 1997; Matthe ws, Sellergren, Manfredi &Williams, 2002; Stavri, 2001; Warner & Procaccino, 2007). Therefore, it is important to examine how health issues such as HIV/AIDS risk and prevention are addressed in the media. Not only should we be concerned about how often a health issue is covered, but also about the ways in which those topics are covered. Because research reveals that attitudes and beliefs about gender and power are important to address in conversations about HIV/AIDS among women, it might be important to female audiences to frame such discussions in ways that expose the issue.
35 The issue can be approached from several angles as far as media effects on public perception of HIV/AIDS and safe sex is concerned. Because the issue involves the influence of gen der expectations on safe sex negotiation, it would be helpful to consider the c overage of or discussions about romantic, intimate heterosexual relationships in about and see the Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication and Script Theory. The Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication maintains that people learn by watching others especially th ose with whom they most identify (Bandura, 2001). Mentioned guide social beh identifying gender related barriers to HIV/AIDS prevention, one would examine how media portrayals reinforce sexual stereotypes that place men at the center of sexual decision making in heterosexual relationships. Media influence on perceptions of HIV/AIDS and safe sex behaviors also can be examined from the theoretical perspective of framing theory. Framing theory maintains that media influence public opinion and beliefs by presentin g certain types of information and perspectives and excluding others (Pickle, Quinn & Brown, 2002). Entman (1993) explains: Framing essentially involves selection and salience. To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in
36 such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described (p.52). We can also assume that people bring to media messages their own attitudes, values and beliefs and engage them when interpreting those messages (Kitzinger, values and belief systems when communicating about the issue. Invoking a frame in other important issues, values, beliefs (Chong & Drunkman, 2007; Pickle, Quinn & Brown 2002, p.429). In this case, a familiar narrative highlighting certain asp ects of an issue is used in communication with audience (Chong & Drunkman, 2007; Pickle, Quinn & Brown, 2002). More recently, media coverage has highlighted progress in treating HIV/AIDS and the ability of individuals to live longer after diagnosis and ad equate treatment (Clarke et al., 2006). In studies on earlier coverage of HIV/AIDS, researchers have found that media messages tended to embody prejudiced, homophobic attitudes toward person infected with HIV (Kitzinger, 1990; Clarke, 2006). The virus wa s frame d as a Although drug abuse and prostitution were also recognized as high risk behaviors, HIV transmission was mainly associated with homosexual sex between white ma les (Clarke, McLellan & Hoffman Goetz, 2006; Krishnan et al, 1997). Coverage of such cases was infused with themes of shame and guilt (Clarke, McLellan & Hoffman Goetz, 2006). Persons infected with HIV were seen as guilty of immoral behavior such as homo sexuality and promiscuity (Kitzinger, 1990; Clarke, 2006). Contraction of the
37 Goetz 2006, p.496). HIV/AIDS was seen as punishmen Goetz, 2006). On the other hand, heterosexual men and women and children with HIV were portrayed as innocent victims of the vi rus (Clarke et al., 2006). The perpetuation of such views is influenced by the attitudes and beliefs that people possess before encountering value laden messages. Kitzinger (1990) explains: Such messages are 'read' within a social context and people draw on a mixture of personal experience and their understandings of wider issues such as illness, sexuality, morality and death in their interpretation of media statements about AIDS (Kitzinger 1990, p.334). Some researchers contend that predominant fram e s that focus on man to man transmission of HIV via sexual intercourse undermine educational efforts by ignoring other transmission modes such as intravenous drug use and heterosexual sex (Clarke et al., 2006; Kitzinger, 1990; Krishnan, Durrah & Winkler, 1 997). By doing so, the media miss opportunities to teach and promote HIV/AIDS protective behaviors. Although the disproportionate impact of HIV on African Americans was recognized during the early 1980s, mainstream media failed to cover this phenomenon u ntil years into the epidemic (Hammonds, 1997; Clarke et al., 2006). Added to this oversight is a lack of academic research regarding media framing of HIV/AIDS cases among African Americans (Clarke et al, 2006; Krishnan et al., 1997; Pickle et al., 2002). This is
38 (Krishnan et al, 1997, p.274). In 1987, the CDC officially recognized the dispr oportionate impact of the disease on African Americans (Krishnan et al, 1997, mainstream media continued to frame HIV/AIDS as primarily a white, gay male disease. Krishna neglect on the part of mainstream media, the role of the African American media in (p.274). Many of the se magazines are read because mainstream or general market media have failed to present African Americans and black issues favorably and consistently (Johnson et al., 1999). However, similar to mainstream media, black magazines were slow to publish stori es about HIV/AIDS. In fact, until 1985, black magazines had not mentioned HIV/AIDS (Krishnan et al, 1997). One of the very few studies on media coverage of HIV/AIDS among African Americans, Krishnan, Durrah and Winkler (1997), showed that an increase i n the also found that the pattern of coverage suggested an increase in attention to HIV/AIDS when it became a major crisis. There has been speculation that the delay in coverage confronting controve rsial, taboo issues such as homosexuality and bisexuality
39 coverage was non controversial and non appropriate, but not as helpful in addressing HIV/AIDS as a public health issue or Durrah & Winkler 1997, p.282). Similarly, Clarke, McLellan and Hoffman Goetz (2006) heterosexism (p.503). The study found that the covert bisexual activity of black men made black women more vulnerable. Krishnan, Durrah and Winkler (1997), researchers found that HIV/AIDS prevention and awar eness was mentioned in more than 50% of the articles examined. Clarke, McLellan and Hoffman Goetz (2006) and Johnson, Gotthoffer and Lauffer (1999) found that black magazines, similar to general market magazines, were lacking in such areas. In addition, while Krishnan et al. (1997) characterized coverage of health policy, economics and politics as inadequate, Clarke et al. (2006) speculated that such coverage was excessive in that it helped frame black people over which they were powerless (p.503). Of course, the disparate findings could result from differences in perspectives about the role of health policy, economics and politics in ameliorating health crises. Individuals who depend, to large extent, on external sour ces to solve personal health problems or fend off personal health risks may be accused of lacking a sufficient sense of self efficacy. Others believe that social institutions play an essential role in addressing health issues that impact various social gr oups in disparate ways and that, in some case, social institutions are partially responsible for such inequities (Johnson et al., 1999). Clarke et al. (2006) found that there were too few messages promoting self efficacy in popular African American
40 magaz ines. The church was portrayed as playing a larger role in HIV prevention than individuals and health institutions (Clarke et al., 2006). Clarke et al. (2006) explain: Prevention is primarily laid at the door of the church and the pastor. The church rat her than health care system is the most frequently mentioned institution of involvement in the HIV to talk to their pastors when diagnosed, and pastors are encouraged to provide prevention messages from the pulpit. Th e diagnosis is said to lead to a concentration on spirituality and trust in God. There is almost no discussion of a possible role for medicine in prevention, in treatment of symptoms, or in the lengthening of life, once diagnosed (p.503) Johnson, Gotthoffe r and Lauffer (1999) compared the coverage of sexual activity with the coverage of HIV/AIDS, STIs, contraception and condom use. In black magazines, they found more information about sexual activity than sexual health (Johnson, et al., 1999). Within the p.180). With the exception of messages concerning self efficacy, the researchers do not provide details about how behav ior modification is promoted. In addition, the study showed that some articles encouraged communication with partners about safe sex, but there is no mention of the techniques recommended to help readers overcome barriers associated with achieving male f emale agreement on condom use. Although limited in some respects, previous literature reveals significant areas for improvement with regard to the coverage of HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS protective behavior in terms of both quality and quantity (Clarke et al ., 2006; Krishnan et al., 1997; Pickle et al., 2002). HIV/AIDS is still seen as a disease of immoral, chronically irresponsible people who often leave innocent victims in their wake, like children and spouses (heterosexual, of course) (Clarke et al., 200 6; Krishnan et al., 1997; Pickle et al., 2002). In addition, since the beginning of the epidemic, African Americans have
41 been disproportionately affected by the spread of HIV. However, the media, even African American newspapers and magazines, were slow to cover the issue and the social ramifications thereof, possibly due to some of the controversial ways in which it can be transmitted (via sex and drug use), the associated stigma, and/or the perceived unimportance of the issue to mainstream audiences (Kr ishnan et al., 1997; Pickle et al., 2002). Research reveals that it is not only important to consider how much a health topic is covered, but, again, how the topic and related health behaviors are frame d (Hoffman Goetz, Gerlach, Marino and Mills, 1997; J ohnson, Gotthoffer & Lauffer, 1999; Krishnan, Duran, & Winkler, 1997; Pickle, Quinn & Brown, 2002). Because they cover health issues and topics related to intimate relationships and sex, lifestyle magazines present a unique opportunity to study, in a sing le source, the framing of HIV/AIDS as well the portrayal of the sexual relationships in which HIV can be transmitted. Previous studies suggest that there is a significant link between relative acceptance of gender norms with regard to sex and relationshi sexual health (Bowleg et al., 2000; Bowleg et al., 2004; Jones, 2006; Ward et al., 2005; Ortiz Bahlburg, 2003; Stephens & Phillips, 2005). Historically, media, e specially, entertainment media, have played a role in perpetuating such norms. Some studies suggest that there is significantly more information about sex and intimacy than sexual health in lifestyle magazines that target women (Clarke et al., 2006). Ho wever, there is little information about how sexual information is presented especially in magazines that target African American women. This prompts one to question not only how magazines address HIV/AIDS protective
42 behaviors, but also how they frame s ex and romantic intimate relationships the context in which HIV/AIDS can be transmitted. How are gender norms perpetuated or challenged in this context? Could readers receive mixed messages one of empowerment when it comes to condom use and one of su bmission when it comes to sex and romantic relationships? Studying the way magazines discuss sexual behaviors can shed light on what audiences may understand about gender power relations and gender based behavior expectations as they relate to sex and inti mate relationships. It can also help us further identify and understand commonly held motivations that drive risky/unsafe sexual behavior among women. Hence, the research questions that will guide the qualitative content analysis are as follows: RQ1: How do African American targeted magazines address gender related prevention challenges in articles about HIV/AIDS prevention? RQ2: How do African American targeted magazines addre ss gender expectations and relationship dynamics in articles about heterosexual relationships, intimacy and/or sex ?
43 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHOD Rationale for Qualitative Approach This study examined coverage of HIV/AIDS, romantic relationships and sex in magazines that target African American women. The analysis gives particular atte ntion to the issue of gender expectations in intimate relationships and safe sex communication and planning. As discussed earlier, previous research suggests that decision making in sexual relationships is heavily influenced by socio cultural structures t hat assign different roles to males and females in sexual (and various other) contexts Bahlburg 2003; Peterson et al., 2007; Simon & Gagnon, 2003; Stephens & Phillips, 2003; Stephens & Few, 200 7; Stephens & Phillips, 2005). These structures create and support boundaries within (conscious or otherwise) and/or social pressure (overt or subtle) to conform to these norm s adversely influences the control females exert in safe sex negotiation processes (or lack thereof). For these reasons, a qualitative approach to this study was deemed appropriate. Ulin, Robinson and Tolley (2005) explain: If a key theoretical assumptio n of your work is that individuals have the power to make independent health decisions, then you may decide to use structured, quantitative methods to categorize individual traits and behaviors. On the other hand, if you believe that control of health deci sions networks, then it would be advisable to include qualitative methods (p.13). Because this study was guided by the assumption that meanings associated with sexuality and safe sex b ehavior are subjective and, in large part, culturally/socially constructed, analyzing texts in order to identify and extract such meanings will be the focus of the research method.
44 beyond merely counting words or extracting objective content from texts to [examining] (Zhang & Wildemuth 2006, p.2). Performing such research is important because often the meanings associated with gender norms manifest themselves in discourse concerning attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual health and safe sex behavior. A woman may interpret safe sex messages in light of her experiences and perceived gender norms. U lin, Robinson and Tolley (2005) maintain: Public health messages, for example, mean different things to different people because they i nter pret them differently. To a qualitative researcher, the meanings that people take from an AIDS prevention message may be attributed to differences in social context, with its profound influence on human thought and behavior (p.22). Data Collection To answer the research questions, two magazines, Essence and Ebony were chosen for a qualitative content analysis. Articles published between 2000 and 2009 provided the sample for data collection and analysis. The history of these magazines within African American communities is also important to discuss. They have served as important information sources for African Americans Like many mainstream lifestyle magazines, they covers topics related to fashion, beauty, travel, intimate relationships, Hollywood, etc., but, they cover those topics in ways that appeal to African Americans (e.g. primarily featuring black models and c elebrities and cosmetics made for black people). In addition, and most importantly, unlike other mainstream lifestyle magazines, they have a reputation for covering issues that are important to African American communities, but are largely ignored by main stream media (Krishnan et al., 1997; Blackpast.org; Newseum.org). For example, throughout its history, Ebony magazine
45 (Newseum, 2010). First published in 1945, Ebony g national reputation for its celebration of Created in 1970 and w ritten for especially for black women, Essence aims to address various issues, including health issues, from culturally competent, gender relevant perspectives. Among magazines of its kind, it has the largest circulation. It prides itself on having n the hearts of millions of Black women ( Essence 2011). According to Essence confidante, a brand that has revolutionized the magazine industry and has become a cultural institution in the Afri can Essence 2011). Ebony and Essence were chosen primarily because of their readership. More African American adults read these magazines than magazines targeted to the Ebony and 28.9% read Essence (MPA, 2008). The audience composition for Ebony is 88.5% African American. The audience composition for Essence is 89% African American. According to M agazine Publishers of America, African American readers say that the magazines they read are informative, relevant and useful. In addition, what they learn from magazines helps them build relationships (MPA, 2008). All of these factors are relevant in th is study. Although Ebony is published for men and women, women make up 62.5% of the readership, which is 12 million ( Ebony /Jet, 2010). Ebony ( Ebony
46 r elated illness is the leading cause of death for black women aged 25 34 and the third leading cause of death for black women aged 35 44. It is also appropriate for the study because it includes articles about relationship and health issues every month. While Magazine Publishers of America maintains that 37.5 % of African Americans read Essence less conservatively, Essence claims to reach nearly 70% of African American women ( Essence 2010; MPA, 2008). It reports a monthly circulation of 1,050,000 and r eadership of 8.5 million. The median age of for Essence readers is 39; its largest age group is 18 34 years old (39 %). The age of the related illness is the leading cause of death for black women aged 25 34 and the third leading cause of death for black women aged 35 44. Articles on HIV/AIDS were accessed using keyword searches in Lexis Nexis and Academic One File. The keywords were HIV and AIDS. For Essence magazine, keyword searches for HIV/AIDS produced 67 articles. For Ebony magazine, keyword searches for HIV / AIDS produced 90 articles Because of the large number of articles available on sex and relationships, the researcher systematically chose a systematic sample of articles for analysis based on pri mary focus and length selecting the longest article available within an issue. For each year, three issues were randomly selected using a random number generator (choosing from numbers 1 12, representing January December of each year). If an issue was randomly chosen but found to contain no articles about relationships and/sex, the researcher selected an article from the previous issue. For example, if the March, July and November 2001 issues of Ebony were randomly chosen and the March issue
47 did not c ontain an article about relationships and/or sex, an article was selected from the February 2001 issue. The main focus of the article had to be sex and/or intimate relationships. The main focus of the article was assessed according to the following criter ia: 1) The wording of the title and/or subtitle of the article contained words that speak directly to relationships and/or sex (e.g. sex life, intimacy, romance, dating); 2) If an article did not meet the first criterion, the story had to revolve around a relationship issue. For example, the April 1997 issue of Ebony kie Johnson Talks about issue, the content of the article revolves around her experience being married to Magic Johnson, who is HIV positive, and how his diagnosis and treatment affected their second criterion. If the April 1997 issue had not included an article that satisfied the first fills the second criterion. This sample included 60 articles, three sex/relationship articles from each year of the study period fo r each magazine. The total number articles gathered for analysis was 217. Coding and Analysis After coding all articles according to issue date (e.g. health and beauty), and general subject matter (e.g. HIV/AIDS or Sex and Relationships), I looked for d ata/text (photos w ere not used) that relate to gender, power and behavior expectations within
48 sexual relationships and safe sex negotiation processes. To code this data and prepare it for analysis, I used the constant comparative method (Glaser, 1965). T he constant comparative method allows the researcher to identify and gather data based upon an established set of knowledge (i.e. a known theory, hypothesis or concept), while discovering, coding and integrating data that provide further explanation regard ing a phenomenon, concept or theory. In this case, when identifying and coding data, I paid special attention to previously identified concepts as they relate to gender norms and gender power relations within sexual contexts. At the same time, I remained open to discovering different patterns among such data adding to the understanding of those concepts and the relationships between them. In addition, I discovered data that does not agree with the concepts under study; this data was coded and categoriz ed based on relationships between incidents or units of analysis. In this sense, the process was both deductive and inductive (Elo & Kyngas, 2007). It was deductive in that the concepts under study, gender norms regarding male and female sexuality, have b een articulated in previous literature and serve d as guides for coding and categorizing data. It wa s inductive in that new categories were developed based on data that d id not exhibit a relationship to previously identified concepts, as they relate to ge nder norms and gender power relations within sexual contexts, Examining and coding texts include d following stages one and two of a four stage Comparing incidents applicable t o each category and (2) integrating categories and categories as they emerge from the texts. Afterwards, I examined these smaller
49 categories, grouping them into large r categories based on the relationships between them and their similarity to previously identified categories (based upon gender norms as commonly articulated in sexual scripts). In addition, at this stage, I noted which categories arose most frequently f rom the texts. I coded them as major categories under which the smaller, related categories fell. I eliminated the smaller categories that had no relationship to each other and did not fit any major previously identified categories or newly discovered ca tegories. stage process: the study, I examined major categories, noting the relationship s, themes and patterns that exist ed among them. It was the articulation of these relationships and patterns that formed the results for the study and the basis for discussion. Example of the Research Process Gender norms as commonly articulated in sexual scripts will serve as a categorization matrix (Elo & Kyngas, 2007) for the deductive portion of the study. Previous studies that focus ing on sexual scripts as commonly articulated by African American women list the following gender norms with respect to s exual behavior: 1. Men use sex for pleasure 2. Females use sex to obtain or maintain relationships with male partners 3. It is normal for men to have multiple sex partners 4. It is morally wrong and unattractive for women to have multiple sex partners 5. The optimal se xual experience for women occurs within committed relationships and is romantic and unplanned 6. Condoms are used with promiscuous women to whom men will not commit
50 7. Men control condom use and are responsible for having condoms (Bowleg et al, 2000; Bowleg et al, 2004; Jones, 2006; Ward et al, 2005; Ortiz Torres et al, Bahlburg, 2003; Stephens & Phillips, 2005 2007, p.111). For example, the April 1997 issue of Ebony described what 27 women of various ages and backgrounds consider sex ually about family and emotional intimacy, his sense of spirituality and willingness to communicate. If this article had been (it was used in this section as an ex ample only; it does not fit study criteria) included in the study sample, I would have noted that these relationship building and commitment as found in previous lite rature on sexual scripts (e.g. norms 2 and 5 above). The same article lists physical characteristics that women find attractive. These descriptions speak to an association of sexual desire with some form of physical pleasure (aesthetically speaking) whic h does not fit norms 1 7. The repeated notation of such observations as I moved from article to article evolved into the system of coding that is described below. The Role and Perspective of the Researcher Subjectivity has been addressed as a problem an d an asset to qualitative researchers (Ulin et al., 2005). In qualitative research, the researcher does not assert that her interpretation of data (nor any interpretation of data qualitative or quantitative) lief systems and experiences can color his/her perception of collected data. Personal beliefs also influence what a researcher
51 chooses to study and the reasons why she feels that a particular topic is important enough to study. Ulin et al. (2005) states, your basic philosophical grounding influences the problems you study, the sources of data you consider appropriate, the methods you choose to gather your data, and the way you Al her perspective to find meanings, themes, patterns that are unfamiliar to her. She is, after all, a researcher. She is aware of competing theories and perspectives regarding the phenomena she studies and that other interpretations of the phenomena likely are yet to be uncovered. This disposition with regard to data selection and interpretation has been referred to as reflexivity or critical subjectivity (Lincoln, 1995; Mays & P ope, acknowledge differences (obvious and subtle) in her interpretation of data and other possible interpretations (Lincoln, 1995; Mays & Pope, 2000). They al so refer to her ability to remain open to various possible interpretations throughout the research process (Lincoln, 1995; Mays & Pope, 2000). Mays and Pope (2000) assert that the following is essential to establishing credibility in qualitative research: The effects of personal characteristics such as age, sex, social class, and intellectual biases need to be made plain at the outset of any research reports to enhance the credib ility of the findings (p.51). In keeping with this assertion, it is important for me to discuss, in general terms, factors that have influenced my choice of and approach to this research pr oject. First, I will address racial/ethnic identity. My identity as an African American woman
52 undoubtedly influences my interest in HIV/AIDS prevention among African American women. I have family members and friends who, according to statistics, are at increased risk of contracting HIV. In 2004, for black women in my age group (25 34), HIV/AIDS related illness was the leading cause of death (CDC, 2008). ethnic/racial group makes me want to shed more light on the rate of HIV/AIDS among black Americans in general and black women, in particular. I have not seen much public health issue. This, in my opinion, is due largely to the fact that the burden of the disease is carried most heavily by minority communities. Furthermore, being a single, heterosexual African American woman also plays a role in my selection of research material. Most cases of HIV among black women are the result of risky heterosexual sex (CDC, 2007). Thus, it stands to reason that condom use is the key to prevention and elimination this public health crisis This prompts me to ask the following questions: Why are women not insist ing that men use condoms? What attitudes, beliefs or experiences do black women share that affect their decision making with respect to condom use; where do those beliefs come from and how are they perpetuated or challenged? Previous literature on the top ic suggests that learning more about how social and cultural norms influence behavior expectations and gender power dynamics in heterosexual relationships can help us answer those questions. Also, learning more about how such norms influence interpretatio ns of sexual content and safe sex messages can help educators reach African American women with messages that speak to their experiences and concerns In doing so, magazines writers will be
53 more effective in delivering information that influences more blac k women take actions to protect themselves from HIV infection.
54 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Data Collection Initially, a t otal of 217 articles were collected for analysis. Of those articles, 1 57 were collected to answer RQ1. For analysis, only 84 of the 157 were u sed, 30 from Ebony and 54 from Essence The remaining 73 were eliminated, because, although on HIV/AIDS 2 The other 60 articles were c ollected t o answer RQ2 T hr ee issues for each year, from 2000 2009, were selected through a random number generator (choosing 3 numbers from numbers 1 12, representing January December of each year between 2000 and 2009). From each issue, one article was selected for analysis based on primary focus (heterosexual sex, intimacy and/or relationships) and length (the longest article in each issue that focused on heterosexual sex, intimacy and/or relationships). By selecting three articles for each year of publication, I obtained 60 arti cles for analysis. RQ1: How Do African American Targeted Magazines Discuss Gender Related Prevention Challenges in Articles about HIV/AIDS Prevention ? Gender related prevention challenges were mentioned in both Ebony and Essence but were mentioned more of ten in Ebony than in Essence Three themes dominated discourse concerning gender power dynamics that contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS among women. Those themes were as follows: victims vs. villains, 2 For example many of the eliminated articles were profiles of activists and/or celebrities. It those artic les, an advocacy initiative for HIV/AIDS prevention would be listed as one of many projects the subject supported. However, the profile itself would contain little or no substantive content about HIV/AIDS.
55 emotional vulnerability, and need for self empowerme nt/ personal responsibility. Gender norms related to sexuality were found to exist as sub themes. An additional the low was also found in both magazines. Themes subthemes and related content are outlined i n Figure 1 Figure 2 and Figure 3 Themes Villains vs. Victims G ender related prevention challenges were presented in ways that cast women as innocent victims of the dangerous, carele ss sexual behaviors and/or drug habits of their 3 men are portrayed as villains, not because they intentionally seek to hurt women, but because they deceive women into believing they are monogamous and/or drug free, while, at the same time, engaging in behaviors that put women at increased risk for HIV/AIDS. T he subthemes identified in this category were: I t is normal fo r men to have multiple sex partners and it is morally wrong and unattractive for women to have multiple sex partners Figure 4 1 outlines the content relating to both the theme and subthemes. Within this theme women are often described as sexually discreet Often, articles state that these women belong to a professional, educated class In many cases, 3 The Ebony who contracted HIV through rape. It was the only story of its kind within the study sample. The Essence article, er, Nushawn Williams.
56 writers report that these women contrac t HIV while in men who fail to disclose sexual histories, maintain secret drug habits and/or have sex with men or women outside of their relationships The point of view from which the stories are told suggests that these t ypes of women did not deserve HIV, because they The pattern of consistently highlighti ng these cases in such articles, implicitly, suggests that suc h women are o may maintain multiple partners This point of view is consistent with the The following content from Ebony demonstrates the theme 2000) present descriptions of women who contracted HIV/AIDS while in what they thought were monogamous relationships: "I was a good girl," Patricia laments. She's an accountant living near Denver (her name has also been changed to protect her identity). Patricia first had sex when she was 20 (Samuels 2008, p.144). "I wasn't promiscuous. I wasn't a drug user," says Brook s Wiggins. "I contracted AIDS through [monogamous] heterosexual sex (Starling 2000, p.154). Similarly, in the Essence the leader of an HIV/AIDS support group in Washington D.C. explains: [M]any of th protect you from AIDS," she emphasizes (p.150). Wit norms were presented as underlying factors that create d a social environment conducive to the victimization of women. In both magazines, the gender a norm emphasized w it is
57 normal for me n to have multiple sex partners The following statement, given by an HIV/AIDS counselor in the Essence article Owens, 2009) underscores this norm as theme : During our counseling sessions, we take [HIV positive] couples in separate rooms to ask them each qu faithful. But when we talk to the men, they'll say they're seeing other how many times a woman contracts HIV because she's been lied to (p.148). Ebony positive woman shares that she contracted HIV from a partner who refused to use condoms. She explains, "He told me that he didn't like condoms, and he wasn't going to wear t theme within the involves deception and failure to disclose sexual behavior while in a monogamous relationship. In these articles, women who contract HIV are sually high risk, sex with men (MSM) and women but who do Malebranche, Mason & Spikes 2005, p.52). Although these men are sometimes portrayed as victims of social stigmas regarding homosexuality that push them into expose unknowing w omen to HIV/AIDS. The Ebony rovides readers with statistics about HIV positive men in a region of North Carolina:
58 In another study of HIV infected persons, 34 percent of Black men who sleep with men reported having had sex with a woman, while only 6 percent of African American women reported having had sex with a bisexual man, meaning she did not ask about his status, or he lied to her, among other things (p.188). In the Essence : I am incensed by the dramatic numbers of African American women being infected with HIV, mainly from men who sleep around with other men. Now that the down low isn't such a secret anymore, I hope these brothers will find it in their hearts to be honest -if n ot for themselves, then for the sake of saving the lives of those women who love them (p.148). Media portrayals are said to contribute to the normalization of hyper sexual behavior for men and the sexual objectification of women by men. Here, women are ca st as victim s and men are villains. G lamourizing hyper sexuality includes promoting the idea of having multiple sex partners. The more partners a man has, the more masculine he is (Samuels, 2008). In addition, females, particularly black females, are fea tured as almost sexual servants of hyper sexual men. For example, in the Ebony article (Samuals, 2008) a physician and public health practitioner explains: man is not a man unless he has several sex partners at a time. It also pressures girls into wanting to impress boys through sex (p.144). In Essence a source influence. He explains: Not only do many o f the lyrics in rap music encourage our men to practice sex as sport, but also much of the culture of rap glorifies the gangsta and thug life found in prison, where sex with men is the norm, not the sensitized to both the sexual act and the feelings of women. It's no wonder that as our men become sexually desensitized, it takes more to stimulate them
59 more lewd as the ante is up ped on what will satisfy them (Smith 2004, p.148). Emotional Vulnerability ( Low Self esteem ) Both magazines attributed HIV/AIDS contraction among women to emotionally vulnerability or lack of self esteem. The emotional v theme suggests that a wom a n desire for intimacy is a motivating factor that drives he r willingness to submit to give in to the desires of male partners because they crave male attention and want to feel loved. They fear losing their par tners if they fail to accommodate them sexually even if that means not using a condom or The subthemes identified this category were: Females use sex to obtain or maintain relationships wit h male partners; it is normal for men to have multiple sex partners; it is morally wrong and unattractive for women to have multiple sex partners; condoms are used with promiscuous women to whom men will not commit; men control condom use and are responsib le for having condoms. Figure 4 2 outlines the links between the theme, emotional v ulnerability both the theme and subthemes. educator (who is also HIV positive) explains: are willing to accept our men having three and four partners, dropping in and out of our lives at their w illy nilly convenience just so we can be whole. If you make yourself whole, you don't have to rely on a man or someone else to do it (p.154). In the Essence educator states:
60 When it comes t o Black men, too many of us buy into the idea that there's a man shortage. We believe that when a good brother comes along, we must snag him at all costs, or at least keep the phantom relationship alive in our very vivid imaginations (p.20). Articles ment ion that the perceived importance of conveying trust and commitment in relationships can motivate women to forgo condom use. Having unprotected sex is one way a woman can assure her partner that she is monogamous and that she believes he is as well. Usin g a condom may signal to her partner that she has multiple partners or suspects that he is having sex with others. These attitudes and beliefs about sex and condom use are consistent with the follo wing gender norms and serve as sub themes : Women use sex (even unprotected sex) to gain and maintain relationships; Condom use, for females, is associated with promiscuity and sexual immorality. thetical scenario describing how a female may respond to the idea of asking her partner to use condoms after her doctor educates her about HIV/AIDS risks for women in her age group and encourages her to use condoms consistently: Driving home she begins to think about asking her partner to use protection. But she worries that the request might cause him to become suspicious and maybe even leave her. As she exits her car and makes her way into the house to meet her man, she quickly forgets the promise she made to the doctor (p.160). Empowerment and Personal Responsibility mpow Ebony and Essence Individual empowerment and personal responsibility are presented as critical components of prevention. Gai ning a sense of empowerment, as described in articles,
61 In these articles, most often, sources (e.g. activists, educators, physicians) encourage women to insist that their partners disclose sexual history, wear a condom and/or get tested for HIV negative response. existence of the following norms which serve as sub themes: Men control condom use; and it is normal for men to have multiple partners. Figure 4 3 outlines the links empowerment/personal responsibility listing examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. Because sexual relationships occur in environment where such norms are recognized, women must becom e more assertive in assisting that their partners use condoms and/or be tested for HIV. Essence magazine, the among ma ny black women: Until we look at the issues of fear, isolation, disrespect and disempowerment Black women are facing in our communities, we'll be having this same conversation ten years from now. We need more social programs that build self esteem and empo wer women to demand that their sexual partners be tested. When women feel that they control their own destiny, they're less likely to place themselves in situations that lead to unsafe sex and drug use (p.175). Essence 2005 ), women were encouraged to direct responsibility to protect themselves:
62 If you're sleeping with a man, use a condom. That way you are protecting yourself even if your p artner is sleeping with men or other women. Anyone who attempts to blame men who are bisexual for the spread of the disease is giving bad, misleading and potentially dangerous advice (p.88) an activist promotes personal responsibility as a key to prevention: Every woman has a choice -she can have sex with or without a condom -so there must be some culpability on the woman's part; you can't just put all ion of HIV, Black women can't say that Brothers are giving it to us, Black women must begin to say, what must I do as a woman to keep myself safe and free from HIV (p.64)? c ondom use, only two articles mention strategies for empowering women. Both of these articles mention condom us e negotiation techniques and were found in Essence magazine. In these articles, activists and educators maintain that, in order to assert power in relationships, women must know how to best communicate with partners about Women should be able to start nego down and start talking to him. Bring him a pamphlet about HIV. Tell him that you have a good reason to practice safe sex because of this [the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African Americans] is a state of the emergency. Shar e your wisdom with your partner in a non threatening way (p.64). RQ2: How Do African American Targeted Magazines Address Gender Expectations and Relationship Dynamics in Articles about Heterosexual Relationships Intimacy and/or Sex ? T he following theme s w ere recognized in the portrayals of relationship dynamics and gender expectations in Essence and Ebony : 1. Appropriate expression of female sexuality 2. Men control relationships 3. Shortage of black men 4. Myth of black male hyper sexuality
63 5. Marriages can survive in fidelity For all of these themes, a ttitudes, belief s and behaviors consistent with g ender norms formed the basis for subthemes. Themes, subthemes and related content are outlined in Figure 4, Figure 5 and Figure 6 Themes Appropriate Expression of Female Sexuality In Essence a nd Ebony ideas about the appropriate expression of female sexuality guided much of the disc ourse o n issues related to sex and relationships Sub themes ident ified in this category were: the optimal sexual experience for women occurs within committed relationships and is romantic and unplanned; women use sex to obtain and maintain relationships; men use sex for pleasure. Figure 4 4 outl ines the links appropriate expression of female sexuality listing examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. The articles conveyed that appropriately expressing of female sexuality means recog nizing that it is healthy to desire and pursue the physical act of sexual intercourse itself. However, at the same time, women are advised to define sexual intimacy is emotional, psychological and spiritual. Unless those elements are combined with sex, w omen will not have the best sexual experience p ossible. The gender norm that maintains that t he optimal sexual experience for women occurs within committed relationships and is romantic and unplanned underlies this argument The difference or added comp onent here is that Rx explains that physical intercourse does not define true intimacy :
64 Intim acy is a sacred vulnerability where you allow someone to participate in communication. Intimacy isn't physical -it's spiritual, it's emotional, it's an exciting wooing ritual that shouldn't begin or end in the bedroom (p.116) Here, sexual intimacy is said to result from and solidify emotional connectedness and/or commitment. For men, most often, sex is described as purely physical. The Essence art 2008), elaborates this difference in male and female attitudes toward sexual intercourse: When women are overwhelmed with their life tasks, such as work, kids, spouse and other activ ities, sex often is the last thing on their minds, especially if they are angry or disenchanted with their partners. Men, on the other hand, are better able to compartmentalize their brains and focus on the task at hand sex (p.66). Female sexual behavior theme, is only considered negative in cases whe n women attempt to use sex to obtain intimate, committed relationships. So in a sense, the articles recognized the gender norm, w omen use sex to obtain and maintain relationships. However, women are warned that they should not do so. Some articles present relationship scenarios (usually accompanied by a warning) in which women become intimate with men too asten the development of a committed have sex with her with his desire for commitment. In the same scenarios, men become intimate with women during the beginning stag es of a relationship, simply, because the opportunity presents itself. The Essence
65 toward the bedroom, but women are just as A counter to sexual norms was found in a few Essence articles. In these articles, casual sex and the pursuit of men strictly for sexual pleasure was portrayed as positive and liberating for women. However, at the same time, in the scenarios presented, the enactment of this script was described as abnormal or as something women feel they should be secretive about. In this sense, although one reads that women can b ehave sexually in ways that refute norms and have a positive experience doing it, the normality My secret ( Essence 2007), a woman describes her experience with a one night stand: Casual sex is totally not my thing. I'm a serial monogamist. But I'm so glad I did it. Sex with him was passionate and uninhibited. He put me into all kinds of new positions and just let me have fun. That night was a turning point. I came home with a completely different sense of myself as a sexual being. I learned that I deserve to feel good and be touched and told I'm sexy. I'll never settle for anything less again (p.139). Men Control Relationships in Ebony and Essence The subthemes identified in this category were: Men use sex for pleasure; it is normal for men to have multiple sex partners Male relationships in discuss in terms of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse. Figure 4 4 control r elationships the theme and subthemes. It is also discussed as a characteristic of relationships desired by men and women. That is, some women desire that men exercise most of the power in relationships. When male relationship control is achieved through emotional, physical or sexual abuse, women are not portrayed as willing participants in
66 the abusive part of the relationship. But they are often viewed as valuing the relationships, in spite of the abuse. Some articles maintain that many women stay in relationships because they fear their partners or rely on partners for financial support. Such abuse is also presented as an aspect of relationships and families that survives generations because women are silent about it and abusers are not held accountable for their actions. Perpetrators of sexual abuse and physical abuse are presented as those who gain a sen se of power by taking advantage of those with little social and While every experience of sexual abuse is different, some common therapeutic themes emerge: We need to unders tand the role of power in our relationships, and hold our abusers accountable for their actions (p.122). Some articles in Essence and Ebony discuss the idea that women sometimes desire men who are outwardly controlling, hyper m asculine or hyper sexual. A s described in the content of both magazines, s ome of the behaviors enacted by hyper mascul ine/sexual men are consistent with the following sexual themes, which were identified as sub themes : Men use sex for pleasure; most often men pursue women for sex, n ot a committed relationship) and; it is normal for men to have multiple sex partners. For example, hyper masculine/sexual men are known for their sexual prowess and their ability to attract and maintain multiple sexual partners some of whom support them materially. The hyper makes him feel more masculine and helps him gain the approval of his peers. These hyper sexual/masculine male s are said to comprise a subset of males who possess above average charisma and charm and an extraordinary ability to control various
67 social environments not just intimate relationships. Outwardly they appear confident. Inwardly, they are acutely aware of their insecurities. Their inability to face and deal with their insecurities in a mature manner makes them unreliable and inconsistent. In these articles, women are warned to avoid entangling themselves in their unproductive, sometime dangerous lifes tyles, having their children or giving him them money. od girl falls t she is overwhelmed by her attraction to his assertiveness, charisma, spontaneity, and, often, his good looks. She admires the respect he commands from others and values his sexual competence. In many cases, she sees in him a chance to defy social conve ntions (which she seldom does) and have a good sexual/masculine profile: He's overly confident, somewhat aggressive, and eternally cool, at least in his own mind. Your gut instinct tells you there's nothing good about him, and no good can come from him -so why are there butterflies dancing in your stomach? You know the answer: You've made the fatal mistake of falling for men attractive: assured, confident, take charge kind of person. Those qualities are parti cularly attractive when she sees how other people respect and admire him. She wants him to be respected and maybe even feared by other people but really nice to her (p.140). bo another:
68 Being associated with a girl who has money, education and privilege means you have overcome your circumstances and you're charismatic enough to circumvent the soci al stigma that comes along with being a thug. And it gives women vicarious power (Stone 2000, p.140). Hyper masculine/sexual males exercise relationship control in varyi ng degrees. Men can fall into hyper masculine categories based on the extent to which they use relationships to serve their own needs materially and/or sexually. In addition, they fall or unwillingness to fulfill extreme hyper masculine behavior. These men do not have long term romantic relationships with women. For them, women especially black women exist only to serve them sexually. They completel y objectify women. Other extreme behaviors involve exercising control over women through verbal and physical abuse som etimes (Hughes, 2000) from the harmless immature bad guy to the dangerous full I n other articles, the desire for relationship control is described outside of the parameters of hyper sexuality/masculinity. In two Essence articles, it is described as n, relationship to be successful, a man has to feel like he is a man -no matter what his
69 In ar & Al -celebrity, Star Jones, maintains that she prefers her partner to take the leadership role is her marriage. For her, this desire is rooted in religious beliefs. She says her partner s hould have the following characteristics: He can handle all the attention that comes with being with Star Jones, but [is] also strong enough and secure enough to run the household. I'm becoming Mrs. Reynolds; he's not becoming Mr. Jones. I didn't want that (Norment 2004, p.172). Shortage of Black Men The shortage of marriageable black men, especially for career oriented, financial ly independent women, was discussed in Essence and Ebony The subtheme identified in have multiple sex partners Figure 4 5 en listing examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. The black marriageable male shortag e, in most articles, is explaine d as a consequence of systemic racism in the areas of unemployment, underemployment, law enforcement, education and sentencing within the judicial system. The shortage was also attributed to some a unique tension that exist between black men and women. The tension is rooted in racist stereotypes and exacerbated by structural inequities that make it difficult for black men and women to stay in committed re lationships with one another. It is also mentioned that some black me n are less physically attracted to black women. Why associated with racism that are reflected in ethnocentric attitudes about the physical beauty of darker women: Generally we brown skinned and darker skinned girls get passed over for the more exotic types," she says. "So every time I turn around and I see a
70 fine Brother dating outside his race, I just feel disgusted. I feel like, what's wrong with us? Why do you choose he r over me?" Unfortunately, throughout history, many Sisters on the richer end of the color spectrum have expressed this very sentiment far too many times to count (p.70). respo nse too such attitudes: Black men because they are all no good Other articles suggest that some black p eople buy into stereotypes that black men are over sexed and lazy or that black women are materialistic, domineering and emasculating. Black men, in particular, are said to cite this as one of the reasons they discusses the role racism plays in creating and/or exacerbating such tension: We've [black people] subconsciously bought into what America tells us Black people are. We have a deep seated mistrust and fear of one another that we have to get past (p.118). contributed to a redefinition of marriage, for men, that does not necessarily include monogamy. This redefinition is consistent with gender norms that describe non monogamy as the normal for men. It also increases tension between black men and women have different expectations for marriage, "[Some] Black women assume the marriage will be monogamous; [some] Black men don't attach as much significance to monogamy" (p.192).
71 Myth of Black Male Hyper sexuality Content in Ebony also addressed the ste reotype of the hyper masculine black male. In two of the articles, it was part of the main focus. The subthemes identified in this category were that men use sex for pleasure/most often men pursue women for sex, not a committed relationship and that it i s normal for men to have multiple sex partners. Figure 4 6 yper sexuality and subthemes. In these articles, the image of the hyper sexual black male is presented as a myth that, when accepted as truth, can result in harmful, unhealthy behavior. Readers are often told, explicitly, that most black men do not fit the stereotype. For example, base CONTRARY to popular belief, Black men are generally faithful to their wives and lovers, are ready and willing to tackle their share of domestic duties, actuall y read books, use computers, do not lust only after light skinned women, and do not seem to be obsessed with sex (p.58). Two of the articles mention that, historically, the stereotype has been used to justify racist and oppressive practices against people 7 sex crazed hustlers who love and run" (p.76). It insists that this myth is part of a greater narrative about black sexuality that has long permeated American culture: That story or, to be more precise, that myth -the myth of a never never land of loveless love and nonstop sex, of hard hearted men and heartless women, the myth of a land of endless Catfish Rows where the living and the orgasms are easy -is one of the enduring fascinations of the American public (p.76).
72 However, at the same time, the audience is told that the stereotype is not only perpetuated within the dominant culture, but, to a signifi cant and dangerous extent, it has also been internalized by and perpetuated within black communities. Although rooted in myths, many embrace stereotype in order to justify or at least soften criticism of inappropriate sexual attitudes and behavior. For example, obsession: Since the sixteenth century, Black men and women have been culturally encoded in hypersexual terms. Slavery, in part, was jus tified as a way to harness that threat. The obsession surrounding Black men in particular seems a fixture of our society. As a result, many of our men have absorbed the fixation. They see sex as the measure of their manhood. Sex, and often promiscuous sex, becomes their self definition (p.196). Popular media are accused of perpetuating the idea that most black men are sex (Bennett, 2002), makes a case for demandin g change in creative media content. It argues that media encourage and validate the sexual objectification of women which has a negative impact on vulnerable individuals for whom media is one of very few sources of sexual education: [T]he overwhelming i mpact of new generations of technology -TV, MTV, DVD, Internet, cell phones -that saturate and overwhelm the mind and body, creating a constant climate of stimulation, seduction (sexual, political .It advantage of immature children and adults by exploiting frailties and needs created in large part by the broken images and streets and institutions forced on them by history and racism (Bennett 2002, p.146) Marriages Can Survive Infidelity Dealing with infidelity was discussed Ebony magazine. In a particular, the idea of maintaining marital relationships with a partner who has been unfaithful was presented
73 as a viable option for couples. Subthemes identified here were: it is normal for men to have multiple partners; and men pursue sex for pleasure. Figure 4 6 outlines the links marriages can survive i nfidelity examples of content relating to both the theme and subt hemes. In order to sustain a marriage after infidelity, women are encouraged to find out whether their husbands are emotionally committed to lovers or using them for sexual fulfillment. If infidelity is based on sexual fulfillment, repairing the relatio nship may be more possible than wives think. However, if husbands have repeated affairs, wives are encouraged to end the marriage. woman to do the following: Evaluate whethe r or not the affair was or is a one time "mistake" that your husband really regrets, or whether your husband's infidelity is a calculating pattern. Calmly discuss this problem with your husband. If he's honest about changing his ways, perhaps your marriag e won't be interrupted by any "other woman" again (p.50). In the article, sharing; and the dangerous African American men has forced some women to man share, and that many women who are in committed relationships are sharing their men, unbeknownst to them" (p.62). marital indiscretions and how she tried look past them. She concedes that men possess a weakness towar d infidelity in some situations:
74 some s --I'm not naive to that. Still, there's a right and a wrong way t o handle it (p.232).
75 Figure 4 1 RQ1/ Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 1 outlines the vs. villains examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. Figur e 4 2. RQ1/Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 3 outlines the esteem subthemes by listing examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes.
76 Figure 4 3. RQ1/ Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 3 outlines links e mpowerment/ p ersonal r esponsibility, subthemes by listing examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. Figure 4 4. RQ2/Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 4 outlines the en control relationships relating to both the theme and subthemes.
77 Figure 4 5. RQ2/Results for Ebony and Essence Magazine Figure 4 1 outlines the examples of content relating to both the theme and subthemes. Figure 4 6. RQ2/Results for Ebony Magazin e only. Figure 4 6 outlines the links yth of black male hyper sexuality arriages can survive infidelity to both the theme and subthemes.
78 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION RQ1: How Do African American Targeted Magazines Addre ss Gender Related Prevention Challenges in Articles about HIV/AIDS Prevention ? The study found that, between 2000 and 2009, Ebony published 30 articles on HIV/AIDS and Essence published 54 articles on HIV/A IDS. In Essence and Ebony most of the discourse about the HIV/AIDS epidemic centered on women, children and the African American community as a whole. Gay and bisexual men (who happen to be most disproportionately affected by the spread of HIV/AIDS) 4 w ere mentioned most Heterosexual men were mentioned in connection with the rising rates of HIV/AIDS among black women due to heterosexual sex. The imbalance in concern regarding male and female victims of HIV/AIDS is consistent with findings of previous studies on media framing of HIV/AIDS. Previous studies on the framing of HIV/AIDS have found that media messages tend to embody prejudiced, homophobic attitudes toward persons infected with HIV (Kitzing er, 1990; Clarke, 1991; Clarke, 2006; Clarke et al., 2006). W omen (with the exception of female IV drug users) in such cases are portrayed as innocent victims, while gay and bisexual men receive the blame for the spread of the epidemic. Studies have fou nd that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is often frame d as a natural consequence of homosexual behavior 4 In 2006, black men accounted for two thirds of new infections (65%) among all blacks. The rate of new HIV infection for black men was 6 times as high as that of white men, nearly 3 times that of Hispanic/Latino men, and twice that of black women. In 2006, black men who have sex with men (MSM) represented 6 3% of new infections among all black men, and 35% among all MSM. HIV infection rates are higher among black MSM compared to other MSM. More new HIV infections occurred among young black MSM (aged 13 29) than among any other age and racial group of MSM (CDC 2010).
79 199 7, p.8). As suspected in previous studies, it is possible that such co verage engages consequences (Clarke, 1991; Clarke, 2006; Clarke et al., 2006; Goldstein & Manlowe, 1997; Kitzinger, 1990; Pickle, Quinn & Brown, 2002). There has been s peculation that African American media outlets have been slow to cover HIV/AIDS because they desire controversial, taboo issues such as homosexuality and bisexuality (Krishnan, Durrah & Winkler 1997, p.282). The growth of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among women may garner more attention than the rate of HIV/AIDS among men because most cases of HIV/AIDS among women are T he method of contraction for most cases of HIV contraction among black men has been sexual intercourse between men which is widely considered abnormal and immoral (CDC, 2010). Dedicating content to the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on men would force magazines to address the issue of homosexuality bisexuality and homophobia Writers and editors may perceive audiences as less perceptive to such subject matter. If coverage in African American magazines, in general, is fueled by the rec ent growth in rates among women, it would be reasonable to suspect that HIV/AIDS prevention would address issues specifically related to the challenges women face in protecting themselves from HIV/AIDS, especially in Essence which solely targets women. Al though much discourse involved women, less than a third ( 27%, n=15) of the articles from Essence mentioned gender related prevention challenges. Gender related
80 prevention challenges were mentioned in a higher proportion of (43% n=13) of the articles in Ebo ny This difference is interesting because Essence aims to produce gender relevant and culturally appropriate health content for African American women specifically. Ebony covers issues relevant to the African American women and men One could assume, b ased on the difference in audience composition and mission, that Essence would cover gender related prevention challenges more extensively. Content related to gender related prevention challenges was similar in both magazines. In some way s all of the t hemes address the issue of gender power dynamics in heterosexual relationships. The following theme s were identified in both magazines: victims v. villains; emotional vulnerability; and empowerment/personal responsibilit y These theme s describe factors t hat make women vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection. Identified themes reference beliefs, attitudes and norms consistent with some conventional sexual scripts. Content related to these theme s implicitly suggest that enactment of such scripts makes women vuln erable to HIV/AIDS contraction. The fo llowing scripts were found exist as subthemes : It is normal for men to have multiple sexual partners; c ondom use, for females, is associated with promiscuity and sexual immorality; f emales use sex, even unprotected se x, to obtain or maintain relationships with male partners; m en use sex for pleasure; sex is not exclusively associated with commitment or emotional intimacy ; t he optimal sexual experience for women occurs within committed relationships and is romantic and unplanned (Bowleg et al., 2000; Bowleg et al., 2004; Jones, 2006; Ortiz Torres et al., Bahlburg, 2003; Stephens & Phillips, 2005).
81 and rates of HIV/AIDS among black women. n for the rising rates of HIV contraction among black women. H om osexual and bisexual behaviors, in addition to habitual infidelity, cheating and lying on the part of heterosexual male partners, are seen as the source of the epidemic among women. In suc h cases, gay, bisexual and heterosexual men are portrayed as making female partners vic behavior. secretive sexual behavior and/or drug use, they will take the nec essary steps to protect themselves by refusing sex, insisting that partners use condoms, or ending relationships altogether. In this theme lies an implicit suggestion that women become HIV positive through no fault if their own. These women contract HI V by doing what they are supposed to do according to gender norms maintain one sexual partner. It is men who put women at risk by having multiple female or male partners or secretly using illegal drugs. HIV positive African American men are not portra yed as victims, unless you consider the mention of social stigma associated homo sexuality and bi sexuality that encourage them to live double lives. However, in articles that mention homophobia, the subject of HIV/AIDS among gay and bi sexual men is stil l treated rather disclose their sexuality for their own sake. In these articles, women are warned that e were no
82 articles in either magazine that detailed a personal story involving or HIV positive man. Although most disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, black HIV positive men are not featured as people worthy of compassion and concern. So me research suggests that the portrayal of gay and bisexual men as creators of the epidemic among factors, such as less access to health care and limited community educatio n and awareness that make HIV/AIDS prevention difficult (Clarke, 1991; Clarke, 2006; Clarke et al., 2006; Goldstein & Manlowe, 1997). Studies suggest that black male bisexuality and down low behavior is only a piece of a complex puzzle that leads to risin g rates of HIV among women and that the sensationalized one sided media attention to this matter is overblown ( Malebranche 2008; Millett, Malebranche, Mason & Spikes, 2005). Furthermore, down low behavior is not exclusive to black men, just as homophobia is not exclusive to people within black communities (Ford, Whetten, Hall, Kaufman and Thrasher, 2006; Malebranche 2008; Millett et al., 2005). The CDC maintains that evidence suggesting a link between dow n low behavior of black men and HIV rates among black women is severely lacking (CDC, 2006). Ford, Whetten, Hall, Kaufman and Thrasher (2004) maintain: [S]ufficient data linking [down low behavior] to HIV/AIDS disparities currently are lacking. Common per ceptions about the DL reflect social constructions of black sexuality as generally excessive, deviant, diseased, and predatory. Research targeting black sexual behavior that ignores these constructions may unwittingly reinforce them Myths and stereotypes regarding black male sexuality generally refer to behaviors related to heterosexual sex (Collins, 2004; Ferber, 2007; Hooks, 2004 ) However, the component of these stereotypes that emphasizes sexual deviance and sexual excessiveness may extend to the curr ent focus on the so called down low phenomenon
83 (Ford et al., 2004 ; Malebranche 2008; Sanfort & Dodge, 2008 ). Thus, s tudies suggest that it may be useful to examine the excessive concern for black male down low behavior in th e context of radicalized sexua l stereotypes (Ford et al., 2004; Malebranche 2008; Sanfort & Dodge, 2008). There is an element of shock and low phenomenon. The down low phenomenon may be emphasized disproportionately because black male bi sexuality does not fit the historical narrative s about black male hyper ( hetero ) sexuality. Sanfort and Dodge (2008) state that m abrupt about renewed associated with abnormal, excessive, irresponsible behavior (Sanfort & Dodge, 2008). Repeatedly mentioning male heterosexual behavior as the source of HIV among black women consistently presents men in a less positive light and may reinforce stereotypes about black male sexuality implicitly recognizes the norm Articles in Ebony and Essence consistently feature stories about women who are infected with HIV through sex with male partners who secretly have sex with women outside of their primary relationships. Again, this norm, as it is applied to black men, shoul d be analyzed in the context of myths concerning black male sexuality. Historically, black men have been considered naturally irresponsible, sexually primitive and especially susceptible to violence and sexual immorality (Collins, 2004; Ferber, 2007; Hook s, 2004). Black men were thought to lack the necessary intellect and moral consciousness to control physical and sexual impulses (Collins, 2004; Ferber, 2007;
84 Hooks, 2004). As addressed in the results for RQ2 in this thesis, black men have been perceive d, by the dominant culture, as hyper (hetero) sexual, in many cases to the point of sexual deviance, connecting black male sexuality with propensities toward sexual violence (Collins, 2004; Ferber, 2007; Hooks, 2004). The perpetuation of such ideas over the span of several centuries has helped justify the oppression of black men through economic, political and governmental institutions (e.g. law enforcement, courts systems, slavery, Jim Crow laws etc.) (Collins, 2004; Ferber, 2007; Hooks, 2004). The assumpt ion is that because black men are naturally aggressive and sexually deviant, they need to be controlled and separated from white society. Repeatedly presenting men in a way that cast them as sources of female victimization only underscores and perpetuates such stereotypes. One implication is that spreading HIV to black women is a form of sexual violen ce in and of itself, in that unsuspecting women contract HIV from men who repeatedly engage in behavior that puts women at risk for HIV. Another implication is that black women are subject to the irresponsible behavior of black men who find it difficult to control sexual impulses Their perceived inability to maintain monogamous relationships could be seen as proof of that. themes, w ability to remain monogamous and/or drug free, fear of offending their partners during condom use negotiation, and desire to maintain an intimate relationship with their partners Female submission to the sexual desire s of men and female motivation to maintain intimate romantic relationships are consistent with gender norms. This portrayal of gender power dynamics is in line with th ose of previous studies that have
85 found a positive correlation between perceived relationship power and condom use for African American women (Bontempi, Eng & Quinn, 2008; Bowleg et al., 2000; Bowleg et al., 2004; Bralock & Koniak Griffin, 2007; Go mez & Marin, 1996; Gutierrez et al., 2000; Wingood & DiClemente, 2000). That is, women who perceive they have less power in relationships exercise less control over sexual b ehavior with their partners. werment/personal responsibility theme id entifies attitude change and behavior change as keys to HIV prevention/intervention. By analyzing the content, with few exceptions, it is possible that a reader could string together this narrative as a frame work for understanding the resolve black women should have about HIV prevention: You cannot trust your partner to be honest or faithful, so you must pressure your partner to get tested and to use a condom. These themes implicitly suggest that male infidelity is common and women should guard themselve s against it. Women are his past and present sexual experiences and drug usage. encourage s women up to their partners. However, articles give very little information about how to obtain a self worth in her relationship, how does she begin to develop it? How does she persuade her partner to use condoms? There is relatively little discussion of the kind of empowerment that comes from knowing how to negotiate condom use or respond to the lo ss of relationships due to conflict over safe sex issues.
86 In Essence there was some inclusion of condom negotiation tactics, but it was limited and inconsistent. It is possible that issues of self empowerment and how to obtain it are covered in other s ections in Ebony and Essence However, research suggests that having a sense of empowerment in male female intimate relationships is not the same as having a sense of power in other areas of life. Personal power, though related, is not the same as interp ersonal power (Gutierrez et al., 2000; Wingood & DiClemente, 2000; Wingood & DiClemente, 2002). Even further, interpersonal power in heterosexual relationships is often complicated by gender norms that influence how men and women communicate with one anot her, particularly about issues related to sex. (Gutierrez et al., 2000; Wingood & DiClemente, 2000; Wingood & DiClemente, 2002; Bowleg et al, 2000; Bowleg et al., 2004). In other words, a woman may feel much more confident about influencing the decisions of her co workers, friends or children than her sexual partner. Examining this finding from a theoretical perspective, one could conclude that theme are closely related to the concept of self efficacy referenced in social cognitive theory. However, there are some important differences between the two concepts. The concept of self efficacy emphasizes the need to possess the intellectual, social and physical tools needed to overcoming environmental (e.g. condom availability) and social constraints (e.g. social, cultural and interperso nal pressures) (Bandura 2001). For example, in order to use condoms, one must possess a condom and, if necessary, know how to persuade a
87 partner to use it. She must also be willing to refuse sex if her partner resists, despite the cost of potentially los ing a relationship, challenging trust within her relationship, and facing relationship conflicts In articles collected from Ebony and Essence women are not encouraged to carry condoms or instructed about how to obtain free condoms if needed. Such advic e would be useful in teaching women how they might overcome environmental restraints like limited finances. In addition, r esearch suggests that men are often expected to bring condoms to sexual situations (Bontempi, Eng, & Quinn, 2008; Bowleg et al., 2000 ; Bowleg et al., 2004 ). Failing to maintain convenient access to condoms, for cases when the desire for sex occurs spontaneously, would put women in less than optimal positions in terms of protecting their sexual health. Considering other theoretical p erspectives, similar issues arise. For example, the theory of reasoned action and planned behavior recognizes attitudes, beliefs, norms and social pressures as likely predictors of behavior. In predicting behavior, the theory of reasoned action and plann perception about her ability to control her own behavior. This is similar to the concept of empowerment/personal respo The Health Belief M odel recognizes the perceived costs associated with the performance of a health behavior. Costs could deal with the expense of condoms which might affect condom accessibility. It could also consist of to condom use or loss o f a relationship (Janz & Becker, 1984). Condom negotiation
88 skills and knowledge about condom availability could help women overcome barriers related to these perceived costs but the magazines provide little of the information women need to overcome thes e costs. encourages women to talk openly with partners about safer sex and the necessity of condom use, but, beyond simply refusing to engage in unsafe sex, techniques for actually nego tiating condom use are given little attention. Wingood, Hunter Gamble and DiClemente (1993) argue that there is a difference between being able to openly use negotiation wi th a partner: initiate a discussion concerning safer sex, sexual negotiation focuses on the social cost of such nego tiations. Therefore, the decision to negotiate social and physical survival and goals (p.196) Ebony and Essence fail to adequately outline or reference the interpersonal skills needed to successfully handle condom negotiation and the interpersonal pressures that accompany them. Possessing adequate interpersonal skills would fill part of the requirement for self efficacy. Women would actually be prepared to negotiate in an environment in which interpersonal pressures and the cost of losing a relationship may be particularly high. theme is less practical and a bit abstract and ambiguous. Condom negotiation tactics were mentioned in only two Essence articles and they emphasized the same strategies. Specifically, the Essence
89 When to Have Her advice refers to strategies that have been referred to as non assertive, informational and coer cive (Wingood et al. 1993; Otto Salaj, Reed, Brondino, Gore Felton, Kelly, & Stevenson, 2008). Heeding her advice, women would first approach the subject of condom use in a non threatening manner using logical arguments, based on factual information, about why condom use is important for both her and her partner. If her partner is not receptive to her argument, she would apply the coercion strategy by giving her partner an ultimatum no condom, no sex. Although these strategies can be effective, there ar e a wider variety of strategies that women can use Few studies have focused on male and female responses to different negotiation techniques. However, some studies suggest that men respond most negatively toward coercion and informational strategies and most positively toward strategies that emphasize rewards in exchange for compliance with safer sex requests (Wingood et al. 1993; Otto Sala et al., 2008). Women are receptive to a wider variety of strategies than men and express more concern about risks associated with HIV/AIDS (Wingood et al. 1993; Otto Sala et al., 2008). Recognizing these differences in articles that give advice about safer sex could be effective in helping women apply a variety of strategies in persuading partners to use condoms. Fo r example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published reports on evidence based prevention programs involving black women that address the influence of gender power dynamics in safe sex negotiation processes (CDC, 2007b; CDC, 2009 a ; CDC 2 009b). Program design is grounded in theories such as the theory of gender and power, theory of planned behavior, theory of reasoned
90 actions and social cognitive theory which emphasize self efficacy. The programs teach women various techniques for imp rov ing their handling of safe sex negotiation. The results of these programs suggest that teaching women safer sex techniques that emphasize negotiation strategies results in outcomes such as increased condom use among participants and fewer sexual partn ers of participants. In providing usable, relevant safe sex advice through articles on HIV/AIDS prevention, writers cannot afford to overlook or ignore the need to teach women the interpersonal skills required to be most persuasive in and prepared for saf e sex negotiation with their partners. There are th ree key findings to consider when addressing the result of RQ1. First, in trying to address male female power differentials with respect to safe sex negotiation, writers and editors may unwittingly cons istently portray men as guilty of causing the spread of HIV among women. It is true that addressing gender power dynamics involves bringing to light gender norms and practices that give men more influence over sexual behavior, but addressing such issues s tands in stark contrast to the absence of sensitivity and concern for the struggles of HIV positive men straight, gay, or bisexual who are most disproportionately impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic In addition, h eterosexual male norms and homo phobia a re not seriously questioned in these articles. There is no s ignificant focus on homophobia in which the welfare of gay and bi sexual men takes precedence or stands equally with concerns about the impact of the so called down low phenomenon on the HIV/AIDS epidemic among women. Second, c onsistently connecting black men with excessive sexual behavior and black male sexuality as source of disease for women could serve to perpetuate stereotypes about black male sexuality Doing so almost charges black men wi th victimizing black women
91 through the conscious exercise of sexual and social power. Third, and most important, while the burden of HIV prevention is portrayed solely as the responsibility of women, the magazines give women very little practical informat ion about how to reduce their HIV risk within the context of safe sex negotiation in relationships where gender power dynamics influence communication patterns and processes. From multiple respected theoretical perspectives, failure to offer practical inf ormation that facilitates attitude and behavior change can make prevention effort s significantly less effective. Because article s on health are designed to advise women about how they can best protect and maintain good health, Ebony and Essence should pro vide more content about practical measure s, such as safer sex negotiation strategies, that help women deal with interpersonal pressures they face when attempting to influence safer sex practices in relationships. RQ2: How Do African American Targeted Magaz ines Discuss Gender Expectations and Relationship Dynamics in Articles about Heterosexual Relationships Intimacy and/or Sex ? There were similarities and differences in how heterosexual relationship dynamics and gender expectations were discussed in Ebony and Essence In terms of similarities, underlying most portrayals of heterosexual relationship dynamics in Essence and Ebony was the recognition of gender norms. In Essence gender expectations were presented in ways that are consistent that of sexual s cripts articulated in previous literature involving African American women. Similar themes were found in Ebony and Essence found on Ebony magazine. The presence of
92 the additional themes in Ebony magazine may be a reflection of efforts to addre ss subjects related to sexuality from angles that appeal to men. In a way, both themes explain male sexual behavior that may be sympathetic to the sexual learning discusses portrayals of black male sexuality in popular media. One article even accuses the media of preying on those with little access to healthy behavior modeling and sex Se creators of such frailties and needs created in large part by the broken images and streets and institutions forced on It should be noted that, most often, male sexual norms were not presented in a positive light. Mainly, they were recognized as a part reality that makes maintaining relationships difficult for women. It is consi dered normal for men to be motivated by the desire for sex and for women to be motivated to find and keep a partner. For example, the theme outside the marriage without becoming invol ved emotionally with other partners. Within this theme husbands, as oppose to wives, are always portrayed as the unfaithful partners. to remain in relationships, even if it requir stereotypes about black male sexuality. However, within the theme lies an admission of concern that black men sometimes i nternalize such myths In addition, black people as
93 a whole may affirm such conceptions by expecting hyper sexual behavior from black men and excusing the sexual objectification of black women. The internalization of such stereotypes black is consistent with previous studies regarding the sexual stereotypes in mass media (Stephens & Phillips, 2003; Stephens & Few, 2007; Stephens & Phillips, 2005). The most significant findings from RQ2 involve portrayal s of gender norms and the limited presence of portray als that counter gender norms If examining the portrayal of heterosexual relationship dynamics in magazines give s researchers some idea about how women view gender expectations, the results of this study provide support for the idea that behaviors outlin ed in gender norm based sexual scripts are recognized as significant factors in heterosexual relationships among African Americans Other qualitative studies based on interviews and focus groups with African American women reveal that many women articulat e similar sexual scripts. The presence of theme s like the myth of black male hyper sexuality could also indicate that a significant number of African American readers perceive aspects of their sexual experiences as unique to their racial/ethnic group. This provides support for the idea that engaging women about issues related to relationships and sexuality in culturally competent ways is also important. Conclusion Limitations Although this study adds to the bod y of knowledge concerning gender appropriate and culturally competent health communication, it does have limitation s that should be considered. One of the limitations of this research is that because of the qualitative method used, the results are not ge neralizable. As stated in the section on The Role
94 and Perspective of the Researcher, qualitative researchers do not assert that their interpretations of data are objective. They recognize that belief systems and experiences can color perception s of collec ted data just as they influence what the research er chooses to study (Ulin et al., 2005). Although many findings from this study are consistent with th ose of similar studies and a systematic qualitative process was used to gather and analyze data, findin gs are based on the analysis and interpretation of one researcher. Future studies could a pply a quantitative content analysis approach to the same content and compare and contrast the results for a more in depth look at the health communication content of these magazines. This would add an element of generalizability to the results. Another limitation of this research is that the design is not conducive to establishing a direct causal link between reading these magazines and subsequent sexual behaviors. S exual attitudes and beliefs develop over time and are influenced by various cultural and social institutions in addition to media Future quantitative studies gender p attitudes and beliefs about sexuality and safe sex. Although this type of study could not reveal a causal link between consumption of content and behavior it could help us learn more about relationship s and correlations between portrayal s of sexuality and HIV/AIDS protective behavior and the sexual attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of readers. For example, it could help us answer the question s Ebony and Essence more like to perceive infidelity among men and sexu al discretion a mong women as norm al ? fear about HIV and down low behavior positively correlate with how much they read
95 and/or trust informati on they get from Ebony and Essence magazine This would help writers, editors, researchers and public health professional s understand whether women, indeed, relate to portrayal s of relationship dynamics and/or HIV/AIDS epidemic among women as presented in Ebony and Essence Further q ualitative research should examine how African A merican female and male readers interpret similar articles found in Essence and Ebony. Focus groups and in depth interviews could be effective method s for exploring how readers evaluate and interpret these articles For example, how do they assess the cr edibility of the information they get from Ebony and Essence ? How do they evaluate the usefulness of prevention information? H ow do they support or challenge the information they receive from these magazines? How do the interpretations of male and female participants differ? Answering such questions could help researchers, writers, editors and public health professionals understand how men and women relate to and interpret content in these magazines and whether readers feel they can apply such informati on to their own lives. Implications This study explored the portrayal of gender power dynamics inside and outside the context of HIV/AIDS prevention in lifestyle magazines that target African American women. Examining the portrayal of gender expectation s and gender related prevention challenges in lifestyle magazines offers a rounded view of the ways in which women may negotiate their roles and power within intimate relationships with respect to their male partners. In one way, it examines the portrayal of gender related risk s and protective behavior in the context of HIV AIDS prevention. At the same time it examines the portrayal of gender specific sexual behavior in its usual context, within
96 intimate relationships and sex. Information gathered from both perspectives can be of use to researchers and health communicators who work toward the development of culturally competent, gender specific HIV/AIDS prevention content for various media. Research indicates that media play an important role in shapin g the way people causes and means of prevention ( Clarke, McClellan and Hoffman Goetz 2006). Just as health communication efforts are designed to influence the way people think about specific sexual health behaviors, r esearc h indicates that portrayals of sexuality outside the context of disease prevention efforts influence the way people think about sexual practices in general ( Brown, 2005; Brown, 2006; Chia, 2006; Colins, Elliott, Berry, Kanouse, Kunkel, Hunter & Miu, 2004; Kaloff, 1999; Kim & Ward, 2004 ; Ward, 2003). The way we think about sex in general influences sexual behavior, which, in turn, impacts sexual health. In addition, Ebony and Essence readers report that they read (MPA, 2008). T he success of lifestyle magazines is closely related to their ability to identify and address the concerns of readers. In doing so they can help us identify common concerns for which women seek additional information Since m agazines address male female dynamics in sexual relationships on a regular basis, they can help relationships as reflected in the advice and information they seek and receive. If gender power dynamics and sexual norms shape content regarding male female relationships such as dating marriage and sexual satisfaction it would not be unreasonable to assume that they influence issues related to safer sex negotiation and practice. All of th e se issues reveal themselves in the context of relationships and sex.
97 Hence, the findings of this study could provide additional support for the idea that gender power dynamics are important to address when covering topics related safe sex The most important finding of this study is that, although Ebony and Essence recognize gender related prevention challenges, the magazines need to include more content that helps women develop the skills needed to effectively conquer the challenges This findi ng presents the most significant challenge to magazine writers and editors. In recognizing gender power dynamics as barriers to prevention, these magazines have the opportunity not just to mention barriers, but also to help readers confront these challeng es in ways that are conducive to maintaining sexual health and healthy relationships However, we cannot be sure that writers actually know how to do so. It is possible that those who write health articles for these magazines like most people, are not aw are of condom negotiation strategies beyond those leading to direct coercion. For this reason, editors, writers and health educators should establish productive relationships with each other. Health educators and researchers who possess an understanding of behavior change theories and health communication strategies could help editors and writers address HIV/AIDS prevention more effectively. They can do so by helping them navigate through and understand research on the links between gender socialization culture and HIV/AIDS prevention They can also help writers create content similar to materials used in evidence based programs that address gender norms and emphasi ze interpersonal skills such as condom negotiation strategies Maga zine writers should also be encouraged to directly challenge norms more often while at the same time, offering women effective ways to operate within a
98 culture that consistently affirms those norms. They should challenge norms in articles about sex and relationships as we ll as HIV/AIDS prevention, Writers and readers do not have to accept the conclusion that high risk behavior for men is norm al and natural or that women are naturally and uncontrollably obsessed with finding a romantic partner, while men are naturally and u ncontrollably obsessed with seeking and finding opportunities for sex. Accepting such ideas without critically examining them only supports a cultural climate that makes it abnormal for women to exercise control over their own sexual health. Ebony and Ess ence are designed to serve as culturally competent sources of information for black Americans. Considering their history as credible sources of information to African American communities, they could serve as effective vehicles for reaching large numbers of black women and effectively educating them about HIV/AIDS prevention. Readers expect Ebony and Essence to address issues that are important to the African American community in meaningful ways, especially when those issues are ignored by mainstream med ia. In addressing the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on black communities, simply recognizing the presence of the epidemic and associated risk factors is not enough. In order to be most helpful in affecting prevention they should inform audiences a bout practical measures they can take to prevent HIV/AIDS and maintain a healthy sex life. In considering such measures, they should call attention to and address gender norm based attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that fuel the epidemic among women. In a ddition, and most importantly, they should inform women about different strategies they can use to effectively communicate and negotiate with their partners about safer sex methods, such as condom use. Health educators
99 and researchers are responsible for serving as a source s information and expertise for magazines that strive to do so.
100 APPENDIX SAMPLE OF CODING SHE ET
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108 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lakeisha Rodman was born and raised in Charlotte, N C. Ms. Rodman received her high school diploma from North Carolin a Scho o l of the Arts in Winston Salem, N.C. In 2000, she received a Bachelor of Ar ts in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In December of 2011, she received a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Flo rida.