Conceptualizing Beauty: A Content Analysis of U.S. and French Women’s Fashion Magazine Advertisements

Pamela K. Morris 1 *, Katharine Nichols 1

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Although beauty is a major industry, it is elusive and based on culture. The purpose of this investigation is to expand the idea of female beauty beyond physical characteristics through an exploration of women’s magazine advertisements from France and the United States. Over 570 ads from ten women’s fashion magazines are content analyzed. Among the major findings is that American publications consist of more hair care and makeup products than in France, in contrast, French magazines include more ads for lotions and perfumes. In terms of tone, people in American publications show more smiles, while people in France are more bizarre and sexy. American advertisements present more women, non-working women, and women as decoration than their French counterparts. French publications show more men with family and people in endorsement roles. Differences illustrate cultural priorities and beauty ideas.


Beauty Culture Advertising Content Analysis Fashion


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp. 49-74

Published Online: 24 Jan 2013

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