Uses of Sex Appeals in Prime-Time Television Commercials

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This study examines how sex appeals employed by male and female models were utilized in American television commercials. It centers on the physical characteristics and behavior of models appearing during primetime network programs, including bodily shape, clothing revealment, physical contact, sexiness, attractiveness and physical as well as verbal innuendo. The study was based on 505 coding units sampled from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the major broadcast networks taped during a composite week of programming. The racial background of models was as follows: Caucasian (89.3%), Black (10.1%), Hispanic (.2%), Native American (.2%) and Asian (.2%). Results indicate that these commercials generally were not dominated by sex, although 12% of models appear in some state of undress, and 8% feature sexually-oriented conduct. As both male and female models were depicted as equal sensual beings, females were presented as sex objects more often than males.

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