Cross-cultural differences in sexual advertising content in a transnational women's magazine

Michelle R. Nelson, Hye Jin Paek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Critics worldwide denounce objectification in advertising and blame media imperialism for disseminating overt, Westernized sexuality. Yet, advertising practitioners believe that sex sells and images can overcome cultural barriers. Few researchers have explored sexuality in advertising across multiple countries or the factors that may contribute to content. We examined the degrees of sexuality in advertising within Cosmopolitan magazine across seven countries (Brazil, China, France, India, South Korea, Thailand, the United States). Even within a transnational Western magazine, degrees of sexuality differ. Presence of Western models, sexual freedom values, and a less authoritarian political culture contribute to greater sexuality in magazine advertising. By considering multiple factors in advertisements within a global magazine, we go beyond description to illuminate differences in the portrayal of women and sexuality cross-culturally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-383
Number of pages13
JournalSex Roles
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-cultural
  • Gender
  • Global media
  • International advertising
  • Nudity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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