Analysis of Gendered and Sexual Imagery in Sexual Health Advertisements

Date: January 1, 1970
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The media is one of the main social institutions that socialize people about gender norms. Because the media has such a profound effect on people it is an important societal institution to examine. This paper examines what messages men and women are receiving about sexuality from sexual health advertisements. Print advertisments were chosen from the top selling men’s and women’s magazines. Goffman’s gender advertisement analysis was used as a guide to analyzing both the gendered aspect as well as the sexuality messages in these advertisements. Results fall in line with Goffman’s analysis of the ritualization of subordination in that women are often protrayed in inferior positions through body positions and facial expressions. Messages about sexuality were also found to be gendered. In advertisements, women are portrayed as being responsible for their fertility and men are responsible for being able to perform sexually. This paper adds to the literature on gender depictions in advertisements by examining closely the relationship between gender and sexuality in advertisements that are explicitly selling sexual health products.

Publisher: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Marriott Hotel, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 12, 2005
Year of Publication: 2005

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