Female Ad Elements
By Jenny Green and Maria Hermosa
The use of sex and beauty are predominant elements of most advertisements portraying females, according to Jean Kilbourne. However, are those the only elements predominant in the ads? Are there any significant differences in ads portraying females depending on the type of magazine? Are there common patterns? With this project, we wanted to dig in to answer those questions while expanding and challenging the notions that Jean Kilbourne presented in her different works. For this reason, we looked at four various magazine categories (business, lifestyle, fashion and fitness) with advertisements that’s primary focus was a female. We then created our own scoring sheet that provided us a quantitative insight about the following seven elements: environment of the advertisement, company of the female, posture of the female, type of clothing, amount of clothing, diversity/ethnicity of the female and wording of the message. We chose to use a quantitative measurement to find similar patterns or contrasting ones among the different magazines.
We believe this project provided us with some interesting insights about the topic and might complement and support a better understanding of Jean Kilbourne thoughts. In addition, we think this scoring sheet method could be improved and replicated in a much broader study. After analyzing 200 advertisements (50 within five magazines from each category) we drew interesting conclusions about female stereotypes and specific element patterns. These conclusions are shown in this video that we hope you enjoy, critique and learn from!