Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


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A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts Major: Journalism and Mass Communication Under the Supervision of Professor Linda Shipley Lincoln, Nebraska May, 2010 Copyright 2010, Virginia M. Johnson


This study examined how twelve undergraduate female students at a university in Alabama perceive and react to the way women are portrayed in advertising. Using a purposive sample and qualitative copy testing techniques, the study was designed to investigate the reactions of these undergraduate students to seven images of women, each portraying a different role, that are similar to images currently used in print advertising. Several themes emerged from the participants’ responses to questions in the qualitative interviews. Themes about the participants wanting to have a family occurred within the responses to several of the questions. In addition, a theme occurred that the participants desired an idealized view of a family: one that is happy and successful. Another prevalent theme was that the participants desired a specific career they perceived the women in the images as having obtained, and they perceived those women as being determined, working hard and preserving to achieve their success.