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'Sexually aggressive behavior' in males traced to print advertisements

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

If there's a sex crime, an otherwise innocuous advertisement for shaving cream is somehow responsible. Analyzing 527 print ads from popular U.S. men's magazines, such as Wired, Maxim and Golf Digest, researchers at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada now say that "macho" advertising could trigger anti-social behavior in young males.

LOS ANGELES, ca (Catholic Online) - They found that 56 percent of the images depicted "hyper-masculine" ideals, which in turn encourages readers to adopt violent or sexually aggressive tendencies.

Playboy, Maxim and Game Informer magazines promoted the hyper-masculine image most aggressively with their ad space. Golf Digest and Fortune contained the least offensive content.

Young, lower-income, and less-educated males were most likely to be influenced by what they saw. "Young men are still learning appropriate gender behaviors, and their beliefs and attitudes can be subtly shaped by [media] images," they explained.

Age and maturity doesn't escape the influence of these ads, as sexist ads may help reinforce negative thoughts among older readers.

AS published in the science journal Sex Roles, the study took into account 2007 or 2008 issues of Playboy, Field and Stream, Game Informer, Maxim, Esquire, Wired, Fortune and Golf Digest magazine.

"The widespread depiction of hyper-masculinity in men's advertising may be detrimental to both men and society at large," lead study author Megan Vokey said.

Results showed that a significant number of the advertisements portrayed or promoted one or more component of hyper-masculinity, defined as: Toughness, violence, dangerousness and calloused attitudes toward women and sex.

Vokey said she was concerned how these help to normalize unsocial practices. Previous research has linked hyper-masculinity to problems including drug use, violence towards others and dangerous driving.

Not the first piece of research into how men are affected by media messages, a study in 2008 found that male participants exposed to pictures of muscular men were more likely to feel dissatisfied with their own bodies.

"The widespread depiction of hyper-masculinity in men's advertising may be detrimental to both men and society at large," Vokey concluded.


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