Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Thin Is In: a Content Analysis of Images in Women's Magazines From 2009-2011

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Journalism

First Advisor

Samir Husni

Second Advisor

Kathleen Wickham

Third Advisor

Nancy Dupont


Many research studies have shown that women constantly compare themselves to the models they see featured in women's magazines, and in turn, develop body image issues, negative mood changes and even eating disorders. The majority of findings show that women often develop these serious side-effects because they are bombarded with images of mostly thin models. Yet editors of women's magazines continue to choose women much smaller, in most cases at least six times smaller, than the average sized American women to feature. It is very unusual to see fashion spread in a women's magazine featuring a model close to the size of the average American woman. The purpose of this study is to explore three popular women's magazines and discover how many times a woman is shown an image of a thin body while reading such magazines, and in turn, possibly suffers negative emotional and physical effects. The results show that thin women are featured prominently in three of the top-selling women's magazines. For all three magazines, over 89 percent of the images featured were of thin women; and for two of the magazines studied, 97 percent of the images featured were of thin women.

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