Original Research

Portrayals of men and women in Drum magazine (South Africa) advertisements

Mlenga Jere
Acta Commercii | Vol 14, No 1 | a231 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v14i1.231 | © 2014 Mlenga Jere | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 2013 | Published: 10 July 2014

About the author(s)

Mlenga Jere, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Orientation: The subject of gender portrayals in advertising continues to generate academicdiscussions in part because of its socialisation effects.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine how print advertisements inDrum magazine portray women and men based on a number of categories including traitdescriptors, physical characteristics, role behaviours and occupational status.

Motivation for the study: It is important to understand gender portrayals in advertisingbecause perceptions of social reality are influenced by what people are exposed to insocialisation agents such as advertisements.

Research approach, design and method: A quantitative content analysis was run on a sampleof 415 advertisements drawn from Drum magazine. Partial least squares analysis was used toassess the relationships between the variables.Main findings: The findings show that gender has a statistically significant effect on profiles(roles) and sexual appeal but not on gender equity. Advertisers therefore treat modelsdifferently with regard to the roles assigned and the use of sexual appeal.

Practical/managerial implications: Previous research evidence and theory indicate that thecontent of advertisements does influence readers’ self-perception and also their perceptionof others. Within the bounds of advertising creativity, it is important that advertisers payparticular attention to gender portrayals in advertising to avoid the creation or perpetuationof gender stereotypes.

Contribution/value-add: Though the model’s gender influences portrayals in advertising,other contextual factors are also important determinants of portrayals.


advertisements; gender portrayals; content analysis; magazines


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