Face-Ism and Facial Expressions of Women in Magazine Photos


Two studies investigated gender stereotyping in American magazine photos. Study 1 compares cover photos of men and women on face-ism, an index of the degree to which a photo focuses on the face versus the body. Photos of women are found to focus more on their bodies and photos of men on their faces, a finding consistent with previous research. This finding is strongly mediated by other variables, however, particularly the social role of the cover person. Study 2 compares the facial expressions, specifically the mouth positions, of men and women in advertisements from several popular magazines. Women are significantly more likely than men to be photographed with their mouths open, presumably portraying less serious expressions. Discussion focuses on how such photographic portrayals can subtly reinforce sex role stereotypes.

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Correspondence to David K. Dodd.

Additional information

An earlier version of Study 1 was presented at the 94th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, Dc, August 1986. The authors gratefully acknowledge an anonymous reviewer, who emphasized the importance of exploring the kinds of advertisements in Study 2.

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Dodd, D.K., Harcar, V., Foerch, B.J. et al. Face-Ism and Facial Expressions of Women in Magazine Photos. Psychol Rec 39, 325–331 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03395884

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