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This study examines the presentation of women in advertising photographs published in four women’s sports and fitness magazines in order to ascertain the presence of sexual difference and differentiate between advertising messages in the magazines. Researchers found strong support for sexual difference in advertisements contained in fitness-oriented magazines, and, at the other end of the spectrum, rejection of sexual difference in magazines that emphasized competitive sport. The advertising images generally provided mixed messages in regard to sexual difference. The authors suggest that the continued use of sexual difference in sport advertising images is a function of commodity feminism, which serves the capitalist hegemony. The authors discuss the need for visual representations that are truly feminist.
Lynn and Walsdorf are with Florida State University, Dept. of Sport Management, Recreation Management and Physical Education, Tully Gym, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4280. Hardin is with Penn State University, College of Communications, 222 Carnegie, University Park, PA 16802.