Event Title

Female Empowerment and Objectification in the Media: An Analysis of Female Imagery in Magazine Advertisements

Location

Lovejoy 212

Start Date

1-5-2014 9:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 10:30 AM

Project Type

Presentation- Restricted to Campus Access

Description

As American society has become more aware and supportive of feminist ideas, there has been a movement to advertise women as self-sufficient, empowered, and with agency, in contrast to portraying women as sexual objects or decorations. However, bodies of work examining the dynamics between these contrasting depictions and their relative prevalence have been mainly qualitative. We were able to evaluate these observations quantitatively by examining aspects of both empowerment and objectification in depictions of female identity across different magazine types with women as their primary audience. We found that fashion and active magazines were more likely than general interest magazines to portray women as empowered, and depictions of women as objects followed no trend by magazine type. We observed dynamics between any of these female depictions and the age or race of the woman pictured, which indicates whom we, as a society, value as empowered or as objects, and found that positive and negative depictions are spread evenly across race and age groups. We also observed whether these depictions varied by product marketed to understand which types of advertisements might be the most detrimental to female identities, and found several meaningful associations between marketed products and female depictions, including an increased female objectification in perfume advertisements. These data imply that we as a society should view magazine advertisements as presenting a skewed idea of female identity, and by providing a quantitative analysis, we are able to isolate risk factors in advertising, such as perfume advertisements or fashion magazines, of which we should be particularly aware.

Faculty Sponsor

Laine Thielstrom

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

550

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May 1st, 9:00 AM May 1st, 10:30 AM

Female Empowerment and Objectification in the Media: An Analysis of Female Imagery in Magazine Advertisements

Lovejoy 212

As American society has become more aware and supportive of feminist ideas, there has been a movement to advertise women as self-sufficient, empowered, and with agency, in contrast to portraying women as sexual objects or decorations. However, bodies of work examining the dynamics between these contrasting depictions and their relative prevalence have been mainly qualitative. We were able to evaluate these observations quantitatively by examining aspects of both empowerment and objectification in depictions of female identity across different magazine types with women as their primary audience. We found that fashion and active magazines were more likely than general interest magazines to portray women as empowered, and depictions of women as objects followed no trend by magazine type. We observed dynamics between any of these female depictions and the age or race of the woman pictured, which indicates whom we, as a society, value as empowered or as objects, and found that positive and negative depictions are spread evenly across race and age groups. We also observed whether these depictions varied by product marketed to understand which types of advertisements might be the most detrimental to female identities, and found several meaningful associations between marketed products and female depictions, including an increased female objectification in perfume advertisements. These data imply that we as a society should view magazine advertisements as presenting a skewed idea of female identity, and by providing a quantitative analysis, we are able to isolate risk factors in advertising, such as perfume advertisements or fashion magazines, of which we should be particularly aware.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/310