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The Stereotypes of Black and White Women in Fashion Magazine Photographs: The Pose of the Model and the Impression She Creates

by Jennifer E. Millard & Peter R. Grant

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We examined the portrayal of women in magazine advertisements and fashion spreads. In Study 1, photographs were selected from Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Vogue, and a content analysis showed that the incidence of stereotyping is still prevalent. However, counter to our hypothesis, Black models were portrayed significantly less often in explicitly sexual poses, but significantly more often in submissive poses, than White models were. In Study 2, 64 students gave their impressions of eight models from either advertisements or fashion spreads whose race, immigration status, and stereotypic pose varied. The results showed that the impression of Black models in advertisements was counter to the stereotype of Black women. Within fashion photographs, Black or immigrant models in a submissive pose and White or non-immigrant models in an explicitly sexual pose were judged to be particularly intelligent and achievement-oriented. The implications of these results are discussed.

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