When a fictional female journalist appears on screen, chances are she’s about to sleep with one of her sources. It’s a trope that infuriates actual women in news media—and it can have real-life consequences, says University of Florida researcher Frank Waddell.

In shows like House of Cards and movies like Thank You for Smoking, female reporters are quick to trade sex for information. Even when sex with sources has nothing to do with ambition—such as the hookups in Sharp ObjectsTop FiveTrainwreck, and the Gilmore Girls reboot, to name a few—it still portrays unethical behavior.

“In the past 20 to 30 years, Hollywood has really latched on to this. It’s incredibly consistent,” Waddell says.

At the same time, threats to female journalists have increased. A UNESCO study of 901 journalists from 125 countries shows that 73% experienced online harassment. And in a 2019 survey of women and gender non-conforming journalists in the United States and Canada, 70% experienced threats and 85% felt they had become less safe in past five years.

Waddell, an assistant professor in the university’s College of Journalism and Communications, wanted to know who believes these sexist portrayals, as research shows we’re most affected by media we perceive as realistic.

Read the full article about sexist portrayals of female journalists by Alisson Clark at Futurity.