Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2005

Capstone Advisor

Prof. Sue Westcott Alessandri

Honors Reader

Prof. Sherri Taylor

Capstone Major


Capstone College


Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Advertising and Promotion Management | Public Relations and Advertising


Sex and decency in advertising is an international issue, and different nations allow different degrees of sexually explicit material (Boddewyn, 1991). This study compares the use of sex in advertisements in American and British editions of Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, and Marie Claire. The degree of sexual content in the advertisements was analyzed using measures of nudity, sexual behavior, sexually attractive models, sexual referents, and sexual embeds. The variables of nudity and sexual behavior were examined in a content analysis, and the variables of sexual attractiveness, sexual referents, and sexual embeds were examined in a qualitative analysis. Analysis of variance between the US and UK editions of the magazines determined that there was no significant difference in the amount of nudity or the amount of sexual behavior in the US and UK advertisements. This study did not find a difference in the amount or use of sexually attractive models in advertising in the two countries. However, sexual referents were used more often in British advertisements, and the language in these referents was more risqué than in American advertisements. Sexual embeds were also used more often in British advertisements.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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