Sex Roles

, Volume 36, Issue 9, pp 573–583

The Impact of Women in Advertisements on Attitudes Toward Women

  • Natalie J. MacKay
  • Katherine Covell

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025613923786

Cite this article as:
MacKay, N.J. & Covell, K. Sex Roles (1997) 36: 573. doi:10.1023/A:1025613923786


The present study extends existing research showing a link between images of women in advertisements and sexual attitudes. We examined also the impact of seeing sex image and progressive advertisements on attitudes toward feminism and the women's movement. Ninety-two undergraduate academic and technology white middle-class students were assigned to one of two conditions: rating either sex image or progressive advertisements. All participants then completed four subscales of M. R. Burt's [(1980) “Cultural Myths and Supports for Rape,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 38, pp. 217-230] Sexual Attitudes Survey and R. E. Fassinger's [(1994) “Development and Testing of the Attitudes Toward Feminism and the Women's Movement (FWM) Scale,” Psychology of Women Quarterly, Vol. 18, pp. 389-402] Feminism and Women's Movement Scale. Major findings include replication of previous data showing a relation between viewing sex image advertisements and reporting attitudes supportive of sexual aggression. Those seeing sex image advertisements also showed lower acceptance of feminism. It is suggested that continuous presentation of such advertisements undermines women's striving for equality.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie J. MacKay
    • 1
  • Katherine Covell
    • 2
  1. 1.University College of Cape BretonUSA
  2. 2.PsychologyUniversity College of Cape BretonNova ScotiaCanada