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University study: Women increasingly “pornified” in U.S. popular media

A study by State University of New York at Buffalo sociologists has found a rise in “pornified” images of women in popular media. The researchers  called the findings a concern  since research shows such images of women have negative consequences for both men and women.

The university’s Department of Sociology assistant professors Erin Hatton and Mary Nell Trautner are the authors of “Equal Opportunity Objectification? The Sexualization of Men and Women on the Cover of Rolling Stone,” which will be published in the September issue of the journal Sexuality & Culture.

The authors studied Rolling Stone magazines from 1967 to 2009 — more than 1,000 images of men and women because Rolling Stone “is a well-established, pop-culture media outlet. It is not explicitly about sex or relationships … and so offers a useful window into how women and men are portrayed generally in popular culture.”


According to Jeremy Kryn, writing for the website LifeSiteNews:

The authors measured the intensity of sexualized representations by developing a “scale of sexualization.” The scale gave an image “points” for being sexualized if the subject’s lips were parted or tongue was showing, if the subject was only partially clad or naked, or if the text describing the subject used explicitly sexual language.

Hatton and Trautner found that in the 1960s, 11% of men and 44% of women on the covers of “Rolling Stone” were sexualized. In the 2000s, the percentage of men who were sexualized had increased 55% to 17% and the percentage of women 89% to 83%.

“In the 2000s, there were 10 times more hypersexualized images of women than men, and 11 times more non-sexualized images of men than of women,” said Hatton.


“Sexualized portrayals of women have been found to legitimize or exacerbate violence against women and girls, as well as sexual harassment and anti-women attitudes among men and boys,” Hatton says. “Such images also have been shown to increase rates of body dissatisfaction and/or eating disorders among men, women and girls; and they have even been shown to decrease sexual satisfaction among both men and women.”

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