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Women as Sex Objects and Victims in Print Advertisements

Abstract

This content analysis examined the depiction of women in 1,988 advertisements from 58 popular U.S. magazines. Advertisements were coded with respect to whether women were presented as sex objects and/or as victims using a scheme developed by the researchers. On average across magazines, one of two advertisements that featured women portrayed them as sex objects. Women appeared as victims in just under ten percent of the advertisements. Men’s, women’s fashion, and female adolescent magazines were more likely to portray women as sex objects and as victims than news and business, special interest, or women’s non-fashion magazines. The implications of viewing advertisements depicting women as sex objects and as victims, especially sexualized victims, are discussed.

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Acknowledgement

This research was funded by a Christian A. Johnson Fellowship awarded to the first author from Wesleyan University. In addition, the authors would like to thank Sharron Riley for her assistance in coding advertisements.

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Correspondence to Francine Rosselli.

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Stankiewicz, J.M., Rosselli, F. Women as Sex Objects and Victims in Print Advertisements. Sex Roles 58, 579–589 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9359-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9359-1

Keywords

  • Print advertising
  • Content analysis
  • Sexual objectification
  • Victimization