The Media Depiction of Women Who Opt Out

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Arielle Kuperberg, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Through a content analysis of print media and a comparison of media images with trends in women’s behavior, the authors explore the rhetoric and reality surrounding the exit of college-educated women from the workforce to become full-time mothers, a phenomenon that has been dubbed “opting out.” The major imagery surrounding opting out emphasizes motherhood and family, elites, and choice. A close reading reveals some inconsistencies that counter the prevailing positive depiction. The authors also find that media coverage of opting out appears in leading publications reaching large and diverse audiences. A comparison of articles’ themes against actual trends in women’s opting-out behavior shows that there is a disjuncture between the two. The authors discuss the implications of these results for the dissemination of a new feminine mystique.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
working mothers, mass media, women’s roles, work and family, gender

Email this document to