The portrayal of women in Elle magazine advertisements. A comparison between France and Russia

Master's Thesis, 2014
64 Pages, Grade: 2,3



Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.1.0. Gender roles in magazine advertisements
2.1.1. The 1920s
2.1.2. The 1930s
2.1.3. The 1940s
2.1.4. The 1950s to 1970s
2.1.5. The 1980s to 1990s
2.1.6. Since 2000
2.3. Cultural theories related to marketing
2.3.1. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions
2.3.2. Hall’s high vs. low context model
2.4. Communication
2.5. Cultural differences between Russia and France
2. 6. International advertising strategies
2.6.1. Standardization
2.6.2. Adaptation
2.6.3. Communication model
2.6.4. Russia and France
2.7. Summary of the literature review

Chapter 3: Research methodology
3.1. Research approach and strategy
3.2. Validity and reliability of the findings
3.3. Research questions
3.4. Hypotheses
3.5. Sample selection and data collection
3.5.1. Sampling frame
3.5.2. Selection of magazine
3.5.3. Selection of countries
3.5.4. Selection of advertisements
3.6. Coding
3.7 Limitations

Chapter 4: Analysis and discussion of advertisements
4.1. Licensed withdrawal
4.1.1. Feminine touch
4.1.2. Ritualization of subordination
4.1.3. Relative size
4.1.4. Function ranking
4.1.5. Body display
4.1.6. Self-assertiveness/independence
4.1.7. Objectification
4.2. Courtney and Lockeretz’ stereotypical variables
4.3. Discussion

Chapter 5: Conclusion
5.1. Limitations


Appendix 1 Coding table France
Appendix 2 Coding table Russia


The study is about the portrayal of women in magazine advertisements in Elle magazine available in France and Russia. The reason to choose France and Russia is because they have different cultures. Furthermore, most studies conducting content analysis of woman magazine advertisement were American such as very often Vogue, Cosmopolitan and even Glamour while referring to the USA and the UK mostly, rather than other countries. Thus, it was worth to choose other countries and a magazine not that much investigated with regard to magazine advertisements. Moreover, previous research mentioned in the literature review revealed that French advertisements use sexual appeal to sell a product as this is French culture whereas Russian advertisements do not use plenty of sexual appeal. The research question shall answer the question how women are portrayed in French and Russian advertisements in woman magazine Elle, what kind of products use sex appeal, if woman are portrayed as sex objects and if there were any gender roles. Content analysis has been chosen to analyse advertisements of both countries. The findings confirmed that in French Elle there was more sexual advertisements investigated than in Russian Elle. This includes non fashion advertisements like makeup or perfume as well as Elle fashion pages where nudity could be found, even in Russian Elle as well, but less. Generally, Russian non fashion advertisements did rarely showed two times. It is important to marketing management as the analysis is about advertisements.

Chapter 1: Introduction

The purpose of the dissertation is to investigate how women are portrayed in two chosen countries: Russia and France. More specifically, it will be investigated whether women are portrayed as sexual objects in both countries or differently. The purpose is to investigate whether this is indeed true by choosing woman magazine Elle to investigate whether women are primarily used as sex objects or not to advertise different products and for what kind of products in France and Russia and whether there is a difference in one of the countries in particular the degree of body revealing clothes plays an important role as well as the gaze of women.

As France is supposed to be open-minded to nudity, it was interesting to find out whether this is indeed true and whether Russia is the same because the culture differs. Therefore, a content analysis of magazine advertisements in women magazine Elle has been conducted of the French and Russian issue of Elle from May to September 2014 to investigate the degree sexuality by looking at body revealing clothes that is body display, facial expression as well as nudity will be taken into consideration. In addition, gender roles in advertisements will be considered where women are with a men in advertisement regarding women role allocation.

As a guideline, variables will be applied developed by sociologist Ervin Goffman, who developed gender categories which can be applied in advertisements. They are the following: Licensed withdrawal, relative size, function ranking, feminine touch and ritualization of subordination which will be covered and explained in the literature review in more detail. To classify roles women and men take in advertisements when being together, the relative size and function ranking categories will be applied to estimate gender roles in the analysis of advertisements. In addition, the gender roles, that is the position between a man is investigated by measuring size whether woman is equal, smaller or not important and whether she takes decorative roles, non-executive roles making her inferior or not. Goffman’s gender variables will be thus considered to help to find out whether women are portrayed unequal as well. Furthermore, two additional categories have been added by Kang (1997) who did a content analysis using Goffman’s variables, these are body display and self-assertiveness/independence. These are two other important categories to estimate the degree of sexuality used in advertisement or independence of the woman. Finally, a last coding variable which is important to estimate whether the woman is a sexual object or inferior, is objectification of the female body.

In relation to marketing management theories correspondingly cultural theories such as Hall high and low context culture theory and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions as well as the international advertising strategy standardization vs. adaptation are appropriate when analyzing advertisements and the right communication message of text translated correctly is important as two different countries will be compared and the dissertation is about the analysis of advertisements. Correspondingly, standardization or adaptation are important to consider. Some of Hofstede’s dimensions will be applied, the most suitable in the analysis of advertisements are in particular femininity vs. masculinity dimension because this is considered a gender role, another one will distinguish between collectivist and individualistic cultures and cover this aspect with regard to advertisements, whether cultures are self-orientated or group-oriented caring, that means showing individual advertisements or group or family advertisements.

The structure of the dissertation consists of the literature review chapter, the research methodology chapter, the analysis and discussion chapter and finally the conclusion chapter. The literature review chapter will begin with the portrayal of women in different decades starting from the 1920s to 2000 until today, covering the development and changes during the decades and how women were depicted next to a man. Afterwards, Goffman’s categories and Kang’s additional categories as well as objectification category will be explained and applied by other authors during the decades. a quick overview will be provided, and any changes discovered. Afterwards, cultural theories will be explained and related to Russia and France. Journal articles have been considered who did therefore content analysis considering not only woman magazines but also general interest magazines to get an overview. The final section of the literature review is the standardization vs adaptation debate, and explanation will be provided and applied in relation to Russia and France. The next chapter will be Research Methodology covering the approach, research question and hypothesis, sampling frame as well as explain the selection of advertisements, selection of countries and the selection of the magazine. Finally, the coding procedure will be explained for content analysis. The next chapter will be the analysis and discussion chapter providing results after the coding analysis and finally the conclusion chapter giving an overview of the whole dissertation and limitations will conclude the dissertation.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

The literature review will be covering the development of the depiction of women in magazine advertisements throughout decades starting from the 1920s until today. Below, there are each decade section, at least two decades are covered and compared, where there will be covered how the portrayal of women has changed over time, if at all, as each decade is a new decade with changes and finally there will be briefly covered how women are portrayed in Russia and French advertisements as examples and compared. Afterwards, in more detail Hofstede´s framework and Hall´s low and high context framework will be briefly described and applied to the countries which is linked to communication, discussed and applied in particular to the portrayal of women to Russia and France. Finally, standardization or adaptation will be briefly described and if necessary applied to Russia in the analysis chapter.

2.1.0. Gender roles in magazine advertisements

2.1.1. The 1920s

The 1920s have been called the era of “flappers”; celebrities were mainly used in cosmetic advertising reasoning that this makeup make women look as beautiful as famous women and consequently make women buy the product. It was the time of social change and development and the “new woman” appeared caused by an attempt of the First Wave of emancipation between 1900-1910 (Spears and Amos, 2013). Moreover, according to Böhm (2003), women were supposed to look “bleary-eyed and over slim, very well-tended cocotte”. She adds that all magazines and advertising were filled with the “image of the new woman” whose ideal body and fashion faced a fundamental transformation. In addition, the new modern woman was very sportive, worked out, fit and boyish. The corsage disappeared as it was not used anymore, fabric was tight to the skin, dresses reached the knees now. Every woman could wear the new fashion, even working women, an androgynous short hair was fashionable which has been introduced by Coco Chanel. This hair style was called “Garçonne –Look” (Eton crop) (Böhm, 2003). The characteristics of the “new woman” were having fun with her bobbed hair, hip flasks, and cigarettes through “occasional acts of protest” (Meyer, 2004, p. 182, cited in Spears and Amos, 2013). In 1920, 6 % of images showed more than 50 % of the female body increasing to 57 % in 1927 (Spears and Amos, 2013). Furthermore, bronzed skin was fashionable. It was now a sign of health, sportiness and awareness of the use of leisure time increased. Working women work as clerks, e.g. as secretaries and telephonists, not as house maids. Now, a combination of housewife and the new women were shown in advertisements, e. g. an advertisement for washing machine, showed a woman with Eton crop in a smart evening dress (Boehm, 2003, p. 54). Mascara and nail polish have been frequently sold. Nail polish should represent to make it possible to enhance the chance to “catch a man” and belong to the upper class in Britain; women should also look younger. The social class women belonged to, has been shown in advertisement with regard to what they wore, such as gloves showing young women, advertised by cosmetic company Pond. Women on pictures were introducing the product, e.g. by Cutex. Furthermore, advertisements were black and white with description of the product and less pictures were shown in advertisements. Women in advertisements were introducing the products and showing the effect but the advertised product has not always been shown (Dade, 2007). Nevertheless, after a short time, the new modern woman became mother and housewife again (Baumann, n.d., p. 55 cited in Böhm, 2003) what was the case in the 1930s and 1940s.

2.1.2. The 1930s

The 1930s have been called the “golden age” of advertisement (Dade, 2007). Products were affordable by every social class, with color cinema movies developed, cosmetic products promoted and endorsed by celebrities to send messages such as women could “look as glamorous as the stars” advertised by Max Factor and Elizabeth Arden. “It could happen to you”, still products have been described in advertisements and showing women in a decent pose (Dade, 2007). However, women became housewives and mothers again in connection to cooking and washing, advertising household products for women. Emancipation disappeared. In addition, happy and lively blond women with blue eyes were preferred (Netopilek, 2007/2008). Women have been shown in traditional roles, 68 % compared to 1927, with only 17 %. The greatest amount shown in 1930s was less than 50 % (Spears and Amos, 2013). Furthermore, no celebrities have been used promoting cosmetics for older women to make them younger, e.g. Elizabeth Arden. Products have not been shown, only the effect on older women. Glamorous women were used as well, e. g. “Redwood lipstick, rouge and nail varnish” with no actual product and package. Overall, other nail polish companies like Cutex illustrated glamorous women applying lipstick in 1935. Further advertisements in year 1936 showed black and white advertisements advertising products to make women look younger and more beautiful. Also, in 1937, red lipstick was promoted by Guerlain for women who want to “catch a man” using artistic advertisements (Dade, 2007).

2.1.3. The 1940s

The 1940s were the era of “Morale and makeup”. As there was World War Second, makeup has been intensively advertised in America but not in Britain. It was a method of propaganda at the same time. Women should wear in particular lipstick and foundation to look good at home and abroad. However, in Britain less money has been spent on cosmetics advertisements due to the war and hence a few advertisements were found in magazines.

Correspondingly, women in advertisements have been illustrated supporting troops and to win the war by wearing, especially lipstick, which has been promoted, e.g. women had an image of a woman in the forces who was illustrated as to be willing to wear makeup happily in 1943. So did a Cutex advertisement, as “good looks and morale go hand in hand” should help to win the war. Women were also depicted in different socio economic classes, such as working in a factory, women wore uniforms but still look glamorous in the evening. After the World War, slowly cosmetics in magazine advertisements have been produced again in Britain. Glamour and normality should come back. So did a 1945 Cyclax advertisement, showing peace and silhouette of a hand which was black probably showing the “wicked of the war”. Or an American advertisement displayed a women glamorous and independent, wearing Revlon nail varnish and lipstick which was shown twice, with head and shoulders to emphasize the “Dynamite” color of products shown on the top of the advertisement with the message that the war was over, so it was time to celebrate. Max Factor continued to use celebrities in 1943. Furthermore, a Cutex advertisement in 1946 showed a post-war sophisticated woman searching for a man because men were less available after both wars and made it a successful advertising campaign. Traditional advertisements were also used after the war by Helena Rubinstein to promote expensive and exclusive products in advertisement; e.g. a woman promoting lipsticks more sexy and suggestive with regard to advertising “Red Cactus and Desert Pink”, still the color of the lipsticks were red. Finally, in 1948, a Pond advertisement showed a celebrity, Lady Katherine Gurney, promoting a cold cream. Also products have been promoted to make women look younger, e. g., in 1946 an Innoxa advertisement showing a 17 year old, a 35 and 50 year old woman (Dade, 2007).

2.1.4. The 1950s to 1970s

Before 1950 and thus pre-feminism to the early 1960s, women were depicted in the home whereas men in the public sphere, such as in work and authoritarian positions: “In positioning men and women differently relative to the public and private sphere, masculinity was granted powers in the social order that were not granted to femininity” (Mager and Helgeson, 2010). Consequently, the authors add that due to feminist thought of achieving sexual freedom, advertisers started using female sexuality in advertisements, probably this led to the extensive use of sexuality in the following years of advertisement as according to Soley and Kurzbard (1986, cited in Mager and Helgeson, 2010), between 1964 and 1984 women were increasingly depicted as sex objects in all type of magazines including women magazines. Rudman and Verdi (1993, cited in Mager and Helgeson, 2010) prove that objective as well as subjective utilisation of female models by putting them in a submissive, sexually utilisised and victim positions. Generally speaking, explicit sexual appeal in advertising increased. In addition, apart from showing women and even men in a sexual explicit way, sexual contact between women and men in magazine advertisements rose as well, particularly in gendered magazines (Reichert et al. 1999, cited in Mager and Helgeson, 2010).

The first and several studies about women roles in advertisements have been conducted after women’s movement in the beginning of the 1970s when women took over traditional roles such as mother and housewife roles as well as being illustrated as beauty/sex objects in advertisements which did not represent the different roles of women in society (Lindner, 2004). Furthermore, Lindner refers to studies conducted by Belkaoui and Belkaoui (1976) who compared advertisements from 1958, 1970 and 1972, where women have been shown in diverse general interest magazines. With regard to 1958, women in print advertisements, they were illustrated as housewives in decorative roles, and in unoccupied situations or as low-income earners with limited purchasing power (Courtney & Lockeretz, 1971) and in 1972, Wagner & Banos (1973), conducted studies in 1970 about the portrayal of women in the same general interest magazines with the result that women still took over stereotypical roles regardless the influence of Women’s Movement (Lindner, 2004). Moreover, Courtney & Lockeretz (1971) and Wagner and Banos (1973) found that women rarely took over “out-of-home” working roles, in particular as professionals, and they were never shown as leaving home far away by themselves or with other women. Instead, their role was to be dependent on men’s protection which means they never smoke, drink, travel, drive in cars, and use banks on their own, but with men (Courtney & Lockeretz, 1971). The authors add that women were portrayed without men in a men’s world as decorations, as in one advertisement they found an attractive and elaborately dressed woman next to an automobile. Consequently, mostly men regarded women as sex objects or as domestic additions. Furthermore, women particularly advertised cleaning products, drugs, clothing, and home appliances, whereas men advertised cars, travel, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and banks (Lindner, 2004).

Thus, according to Courtney & Lockeretz’s (1971) claim, four stereotypes about women in magazine advertisements exist which is the case in the 1950s to 1970s. They are the following:

1. “A women’s place is the home” (being housewife)

2. “Women do not make important decisions or do important things”

3. “Women are dependent and need men’s protection”

4. "Men regard women primarily as sexual objects; they are not interested in women as people."

Regarding the fourth statement, this is partially true in the 1970s, as women took over at least decorative roles, which are dedicated more often to women than to men in the advertisements. Moreover, reinforcing this statement, women occupied few working roles and were seldom part in men’s working live except sharing relaxing activities (Courtney & Lockeretz, 1971).

Many authors referred to those four claims when analyzing different magazine advertisements to demonstrate the degree of stereotyping or developed their own views. Thus, follow-up studies have been conducted to test whether they are still true, e. g. by Sullivan and O´Connor (1988) which will be discussed below.

2.1.5. The 1980s to 1990s

In 1983, Sullivan and O’Connor (1988) conducted a follow-up study of Courtney & Lockeretz’s (1971) study to find out any changes. Therefore, they used advertisements from several general interest magazines to demonstrate the different roles women take by doing content analysis. According to their findings, the diverse role of women in society and work became more accurate than before the 1980s such as women were shown as employed and occupied positions where they have to take important decisions in their workplace and daily situations. Furthermore, they were frequently depicted as independent of men and occupied the same role in society. On the other hand, sexuality increased and they occupied purely decorative roles regardless of gender equality. Consequently, repercussions arose due to gain in power by women and the result of being depicted in more influential positions, as this is regarded as a “threat to male dominance” in society. Finally, increasing sexuality, degrading, submissive and objectified portrayal of women led back to inequality between the genders (Lindner, 2004).

However, the 1980s changed the four stereotypes according to the findings by Sullivan and O’Connor (1988); they reject the first claim "A woman's place is in the home." As mentioned above, women more frequently occupy employed positions in advertisements; compared to 1970, when they occupied twice as likely working roles which however slightly increased compared to 1958. Regarding the second claim, "Women do not make important decisions or do important things." This is not true as well, as women increasingly occupied working roles. To even more strengthen this, occupations women took were as business executives, professionals, salespersons and midlevel managers which require significant decision making skills but also other roles such as sheltering, family budgeting, nurturing, health maintenance, socialization, charitable work and so on, are significant as well in society. Moreover, according Sullivan and O’Connor (1988), they critisise authors, when looking at earlier studies of previous decades who merely oversimplified complex social roles only to put women in a simple classification scheme. The third claim "Women are dependent and need men's protection”, in the study of 1983, the findings show that still several advertisements portrayed women rather independent. Despite showing more men, activities of women are not overlooked. Gender was rather shown equal by sharing lifestyles. Women occupied roles in a variety of activities. The last claim "Men regard women primarily as sexual objects; they are not interested in women as people." In some way the authors agree, women again receive decorative roles but this is only accepted in cosmetic and beauty advertisements to show only women the benefit of the products. And as having decorative roles this is the only claim that is in line with that of Courtney and Lockeretz (1971), simply because beauty and cosmetic products are to reach the female audience and do not involve men or do the advertisements concern men. Furthermore, it rarely can be seen that female models use seduction to sell male products to male audience.

Another sociologist mentioned previously, Ervin Goffman (1979) is mostly cited in gender role journal articles regarding stereotypes and classification of gender. By coding images of women in advertisements, he wrote a book about Gender advertisements covering classifications of women in print advertisements which will be used as coding variables in the analysis part to estimate the portrayal of women in magazine advertisements. His book about gender advertisements covers how the behavioral representation regarding gender is perceived within a culture. The relationship and the roles of the gender are presented. Thus, he analysed and used advertisements as examples how in particular females are depicted in advertisements (Goffman, 1979). According to him, they measure gender differences in social power, influence and authority (Lindner, 2004). According to Lindner (2004), Goffman (1979) developed a technique, referred to as frame analysis, which focuses on the more subtle clues that provide important messages about gender relations.

Goffman’ (1979) classifications of gender representation are summarized in a table to give an overview below:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The coding variables are supposed to weaken women. Goffman´s coding system focuses on hands, eyes, knees, facial expressions, head position, relative sizes, positioning and placing, head–eye aversion, and finger biting and sucking (Kang, 1997).

To describe each category briefly, relative size refers to men who play the dominant role in advertising by being illustrated taller and using more space and finally look superior to women, function ranking: men have the control over women who are inferior with less important roles or men take over control of actions of others. Correspondingly, men occupy executive roles and control the whole situation. Feminine touch: Simply is women degradation; women are depicted touching themselves while being naked (mostly covering their breasts) or “caressing” and “cradling” objects gently with their hands by shaping them treating them like something precious, while men influence things using their hands. In addition, advertisements showing just hands of women can be advertised, as well. Goffman (1979) defines self-touching as making a woman precious: “Self-touching can also be involved, readable as conveying a sense of one’s body being a delicate and precious thing” as well (p. 8). Regarding ritualization of subordination women taking positions willing to be controlled by others submissively, suggesting they intentionally abase themselves physically, lie down at inappropriate times or are held by a man. This suggests superiority and power by taking an upright position with highly raised heads. By holding the body straight and the head high this is stereotypically seen as “unashamdness”, superiority and “disdain” (Goffman, 1979) Finally, licensed withdrawal means that women psychologically remove themselves from the social situation making the impression to be mentally absent and disoriented. Furthermore, women are dependent on the protection of others, while men are awake and aware of threat and able take over control of the situation. In addition, licensed withdrawal is concerned with emotions coming from facial expressions such as showing fear or happiness, it includes mouth or face touching, such as putting finger to mouth either sucking or biting it, finger to finger, same aloof self-communications through finger to mouth gestures but in a more calmed way. Finally, by turning the gaze away, averse the head/eyes and lowering head most probably women abandon attention from the setting, also bending legs bashfully is typical. Moreover, women, more than men, withdraw themselves from the social situation (Goffman, 1979). This suggests, that the categories are useful in finding out if it is indeed true how women are portrayed in magazine advertisements nowadays in the analysis chapter. Thus, a close look at licensed withdrawal, in particular with regard to the models’ gaze and body posture as well as ritualization of subordination, function ranking and relative size are considered when making a comparison between France and Russia in the analysis chapter. Further, whether they still take decorative roles such as mother roles and finally if they are sex objects and whether females are alone or in groups of women or between men and women will be investigated.

Two criticism about Goffman’s book have been discovered in Richard Hoggart’s foreword in Goffman’s book and by Lindner (2004). Richard Hoggart argues that Goffman’s categories cannot always be applied because there may be several possible interpretations of each picture or group of pictures. According to him, Goffman cannot know that such a gesture means this or this. His framework is an oversimplification and it does not mean they can be applied to each advertisement where there might be different interpretations. In sum, when taking look at Goffman’s selected advertisements, there can be different interpretations when being with a man or looking away (Goffman, 1979). Lindner (2004) critises the sampling done by Goffman regarding the classifications mentioned above in his book Genders Advertisements where he gave examples about illustration of genders in magazines because he did not analyse objectively; he rather selected advertisements from newspapers and magazines not randomly but taking his viewpoint. He argued that the purpose of his study was the “discovery and presentation of the various ways in which gender stereotyping occurs”. Thus, conclusions about the gender portrayal in the population of print advertisements cannot be done based on his sample.

Nevertheless, several authors interpreted Goffman’s coding system with slight improvements, so did Kang (1997). He added “body display” (degree of nudity, body revealing clothes) and “independence/self-assertiveness” (women’s overall image in terms of independence and self-assurance to analyse any changes since late 1970s with regard to appearance of women in magazines. Degree of nudity is measured of naked models who wear transparent clothes, underwear or nothing or are covered with a towel. Body revealing are when models wear mini skirts, tight skirts or evening dresses which reveal cleavage such as “short” shorts, “see through” clothes, halter dress or bathing suits. With regard to independence/self-assertiveness, it is not about the content of the advertisement but the subtle representation of the advertisement concerning gender relations. The focus is on use of hands, facial expression, body positions as well as relative size of women and men in print advertisements. Thus, in order to understand the message of the advertisement, first the whole advertisement needs to be looked at. The purpose of this category is to assess women´s independence and self-assertiveness. Another author was Umiker-Sebeok (1996) who added “objectification”, saying the main purpose of the model being to be looked at. He added two more which are “movement” saying, women have limited space to move, e. g. covered in a blanket restrict action to environment and “localization” the place the women is, e.g. kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom. The analysis part will consider body display, self-assertiveness/independence and objectification as well to investigate how women are portrayed nowadays in France and Russia. Body display is important as it shows through the degree of clothing whether sexuality is transmitted through nudity, transparent clothes or maybe even when fully dressed. Objectification will look at body parts where the head of a model is not seen or when just legs can be seen to identify whether women are of less value and thus potential sex objects.

Not many changes have been made in 1979 and 1991 in women stereotyping in advertisements in magazines such as Vogue, Mademoiselle and McCall’s. Notwithstanding, “superficial” changes in stereotyping occurred, which are a decrease in being inferior to men (“function ranking”) and women being smaller (“relative size”) according to Kang (1997) and Umiker-Sebeok (1996). However, an increase in subtle stereotyping of women in “feminine touch”, “ritualization of subordination” and “licensed withdrawal” occurred with no change in gender roles (Lindner, 2004).

Lindner (2004) conducted an analysis of advertisements in 38 different magazines from 1993 and 1994 randomly selected from municipal recycling bin and found a change of the portrayal of women. Nevertheless, this was superficial and reflected in the type of stereotyping rather than the amount as mentioned above, such as women were less used as housewives or mothers. But still women are portrayed being unable to have the same amount of control over the environment as men do or can. For instance, regarding relative size, women could finally use more space than men did and had a thin or “ecotomorphic” body size, in contrast men were depicted as large and muscular. Moreover, men used to be taller than women and looked down to women. They also showed positions that contributed to an increase in body size in contrast to women shown in positions that decreased space occupied by their bodies, e. g. so women were more often lying down in contrast to men who were shown standing. A good example are Dolce and Gabbana advertisements (see appendices). In terms of licensed withdrawal, women were not involved in the social situations, looking away, covering their faces or mouths. This shows vulnerability and need for protection. Concerning function ranking, men most certainly took control over women´s bodies, by either, lifting them up, containing their space by encompassing their bodies, by blocking access to women´s body, or by putting their arms around women´s shoulders. In contrast, women were usually more likely to stick to “man’s arm or to rest their own weight on a man’s body”. Also, in terms of location, women were placed in unknown environments, that means being “decontextualized”. They were mostly shown in bathrooms or bedrooms, usually in form of self-centered grooming or having no function at all whereas men were often used in the workplace and outside the home. This also concerns the different depiction of men and women in terms of their influence to the environment. For instance, men usually used tools to control or manipulate the environment and women were shown using the so-called “feminine touch, touching an object gently, or outlining its shape (Lindner, 2004).


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The portrayal of women in Elle magazine advertisements. A comparison between France and Russia
University of Central Lancashire
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Inhaltsanalyse, Qualitativ, Werbung, Frankreich, Russland, Elle
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Christin Thieler (Author), 2014, The portrayal of women in Elle magazine advertisements. A comparison between France and Russia, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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