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Images of Women’s Sexuality in Advertisements: A Content Analysis of Black- and White-Oriented Women’s and Men’s Magazines


This article represents an analysis of the sexual images of women in magazine advertisements. I examined advertisements in Black- and White-oriented, men’s and women’s magazines to compare the images of women’s sexuality that are constructed for each specific audience. Over 600 images of women were analyzed based on seven dimensions, including function/role, relative function/authority, physical/body position, relative size/height, character traits, body view, and physical characteristics. The images of women’s sexuality vary depending on the race of the intended audience and the race of the women in the advertisements. Advertisements for White audiences portray women in roles and with characteristics that suggest dependency and submissiveness, whereas advertisements for Black audiences portray women as independent and dominant. I also found that White women are objectified much more than Black women are.

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Correspondence to Christina N. Baker.

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Baker, C.N. Images of Women’s Sexuality in Advertisements: A Content Analysis of Black- and White-Oriented Women’s and Men’s Magazines. Sex Roles 52, 13–27 (2005).

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  • advertisements
  • gender roles
  • racial images
  • sexuality