The Impact of Women in Advertisements on Attitudes Toward Women

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Katherine Covell.

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MacKay, N.J., Covell, K. The Impact of Women in Advertisements on Attitudes Toward Women. Sex Roles 36, 573–583 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025613923786

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Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Sexual Attitude
  • Attitude Survey
  • Sexual Aggression
  • Movement Scale