Sexism in advertizing : an analysis of women's images



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This thesis is an audience analysis of women's media images in printed advertisements. I have examined the impact of gender and sex role ideology on the audience's reactions to media portrayals of women. First, I reviewed the feminist literature which suggests that feminist women and men, by being more sensitive to women's overall status in society, are more likely to react to the sexist media representations of women. In contrast, the empirical literature on the topic unanimously concludes that neither gender nor sex role ideology have an important impact on audiences' perceptions. I sampled 333 university students, asked them to respond to a questionnaire and evaluate a series of ten ads which a panel of judges felt could be represented in a continuum from traditional, to neutral, to feminist, and were sampled from current popular magazines. I analyzed the data using primarily regression analysis and found no important linkages between the variables. The findings suggest that the degree of the respondents' adherence to feminism does not predict their perceptions and/or reactions to sexist portrayals of women.



Sex role in advertising