A comparison of role portrayal of men and women in magazine advertising in USA and Sweden

Charles R. Wiles and Anders Tjernlund


The purpose of this cross-cultural study was to examine the roles of men and women depicted in magazine advertising in Sweden and compare those roles to those of men and women in magazine advertising in the US. A larger number of categories of magazines was used than in most past role portrayal studies in the US. Findings suggest that a major difference between the two countries was the treatment of the sexes in advertisements depicting non-working activities - Swedish magazine advertisers more often portrayed women and men in recreational roles, whereas their US counterparts more often portrayed men and women in decorative roles. Within the women's magazine category, Swedish magazine advertisers are more likely to portray women in working roles, far more likely to depict women in recreational roles, and far less likely to depict women in decorative roles than US magazine advertisers.