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Media Influence on Men's and women's Self Perceptions and Related Behaviors

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Master's thesis

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Advertising in the media, specifically magazines, can have a huge impact on both men and women. Current scholarship suggests that the media send out the message that success in life requires attractiveness, a perfect body, money, and sexual performance. I investigated whether this is emphasized in both male and female magazines. It can be very discouraging when this perfectionism is unattainable. This in turn creates a market for those trying to fulfill desires and deal with anxieties throughout the customers life course. My thesis focuses on the medias influence on both men and women with the theoretical insights and methods used by Kilbourne, Goffman, and others. I investigated whether or not current wisdom is correct about stereotypes of media messages and the degree to which such stereotypes exist in magazines. The content analysis I will use consists of monitoring the frequency and qualitative information in the advertising in six different magazines three male-orientedthree female-oriented. I used recent issues 2002 and chose four issues from each magazine. Two outside judges were used to get opinions on what is considered too thin. I looked at different magazines in order to determine the presence and extent of these themes in magazine advertising, categories for women too thin, perfect body, focusing on maintaining youth, focusing on physical appearance, sexual categories for men muscular body, importance of money, cult of toughness, sexual. Some evidence has shown that advertisers create unachievable desires that help to drive product use. The media are clearly marketing wants. By focusing on peoples desires, the media are able to market products and ideas which set people up for failure and frustrations. People then try to solve their frustrations by purchasing items to solve their problems. This is a sales tactic to create consistent return customers who continue to buy.

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  • Psychology

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