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Wednesday, April 22 • 11:00am - 1:00pm
Sexualization of Women in Super Bowl Advertisements

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Following the 2015 Super Bowl game, the sexualization and objectification of women in commercials was a prominent topic in post-game analysis.  Prior research suggests that sexualization, defined as depictions of people that emphasize their sex appeal or sexual attractiveness, has greatly increased in media portrayals of women in recent years. To what extent are women sexualized in Super Bowl commercials and to what audiences are these ads directed?  We hypothesized that commercials aimed towards heterosexual males (e.g., advertisements for tools, burgers, or sports) will demonstrate increased sexualization in comparison with commercials directed towards females. By using the popular video site, YouTube, and searching “Super Bowl 2013-2015,” we gathered the 30 most-viewed commercials. We rated the amount of sexualization present in different categories, such as pose or body language, on scales of 1-5 (1=nonsexualized, 5=hypersexualized).  We then collected the numerical results from the individual commercial ratings in order to sort them into the final overall categories of nonsexualized, sexualized, and hypersexualized. Our findings may be useful in raising awareness regarding the frequency and extent to which women are being turned into objects of sexualization, specifically within Super Bowl commercials. Such images may be damaging because viewers may be desensitized to their occurrence, which may send implicit messages not only to men, but also to women and children. By calling attention to sexualization, we hope to create a sense of consciousness and awareness, motivating positive change.

Wednesday April 22, 2015 11:00am - 1:00pm PDT
Wilma Sherril Center Concourse

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