Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Stuart Levine

Abstract/Artist's Statement


This study was designed to examine the portrayal of women in Playboy magazine advertisements over the last 50 years. This study aimed to discover whether over a fifty-year period, images of women in Playboy magazine advertisements transitioned from portraying women in highly stereotypical roles to less stereotypical roles based on the observed changes in eight coding categories. The coding scheme used for this study was based on one developed by sociologist Erving Goffman. The eight categories used to code for stereotype in this study were: feminine touch, withdrawal, submissiveness, relative size, role status, erotic body display, location and objectification. This study also aimed to discover whether Playboy magazine advertisements changed from being heavily based in the peripheral route to persuasion to being less heavily based in the peripheral route to persuasion over time. A total of 201 advertisements were coded in 24 issues of Playboy magazine from 1960 to 2010. The results of this study show that overall, stereotype content in Playboy magazine advertisements decreased over time based on the observed changes over the eight variables, with the exception of erotic body display, which increased marginally over time.

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