Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Arts


Valerie Greenberg


Pat Lonchar


Advertising has played a vital role in the increase of the number and circulation of magazines. Women's magazines, in particular, are saturated with ads to the point where often the copy text and the advertisements are indistinguishable. Early in the history of women's magazines, advertisements focused on women's domestic role as mother and wife, offering products to improve the home and help with caring for the family. Soon, products for beauty enhancement began showing up in advertisements as well, and beauty products continue to be heavily marketed in women's magazines. With the women's sexual revolution, the notion of beauty changed into something more sexual. Depictions of women began to be more daring, often showing them scantily clad or in erotically suggestive positions. This research will study the existence of the trend that pits women as either sexless, domestic Madonnas, or trampy, provocative whores. The study explores the extent to which this trend continues to exist in the advertising of the top women's magazines in the new millennium, and if so, how?