Lauren Leedberg

Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Yoon, Sukki

Second Faculty Advisor

Baran, Susan


Rape Culture; Advertisements; Objectification; Victimization


Bryant University

Rights Management

All rights retained by Bryant University and Lauren Leedberg


The research I have conducted explores connections between images shown in advertisements and the perpetuation of rape culture and gendered stereotypes in society. It was guided by the Cultivation Theory which looks at how media, such as advertisements, can shape our reality. After an extensive literature review, data was gathered via an experimental design utilizing surveys. Within these surveys, respondents were randomly shown an advertisement I created containing the variables to be tested (i.e. images with objectification and victimization). After viewing the ad, they answered questions regarding their attitude toward the brand/product depicted, purchase intentions, a rape myth acceptance scale (Burt, 1980), and a sex role stereotyping scale (Burt, 1980). Both of these scales are widely accepted and were previously tested. Data was then analyzed to uncover any statistically significant interactions between the variables in order to gain a better understanding of how the images viewed in advertisements impact consumers’ beliefs and perceptions. Analysis revealed that while there is a model effect, meaning advertisers should use models in their ads, there isn’t any statistically significant positive difference for using images containing objectification or victimization. Using images with these variables can actually have a negative impact on the viewer’s attitude toward the ad and the brand. Additionally, analysis showed that viewing images with these variables increased the viewer’s acceptance of rape myths.