Like advertisements in mainstream media, advertising on the Internet perpetuates the stereotypical ideal of feminine beauty.Adolescents using the Internet are likely to be exposed to numerous advertisements that reinforce the importance of beauty and thinness, which could have a detrimental impact on how they feel about their bodies.The four ads, differing primarily in a few key words representing the manipulated independent variable, garnered over 500 e-mail responses in 6 weeks.Contrary to prior research and to our prediction, the most popular ad was one in which the woman described herself as “financially independent...; successful [and] ambitious,” producing over 50% more responses than the next most popular ad, one in which the woman described herself as “lovely...; very attractive and slim.” A content analysis of responses to the ads revealed that information provided varied as a function of the ad they were answering.In addressing these themes, we highlight how they are apparent in the collection of works published in this Special Section.It is clear that both feminist and evolutionary scholarship has matured to the point where, given appropriate conceptual complexity, both can continue to develop.
Personal ads are a potentially rich source of information on relationships, particularly mating strategies.
However, counter to previous studies and popular stereotypes, gay men were no more or less likely to employ a prop indicating a sexual theme.
This study is of sociological value because the gay community, as a marginalized group, benefits from any research which increases knowledge and understanding of their lifestyle.
Additionally, men more often offered expressive traits (traditionally feminine traits) and women more often offered instrumental traits (traditionally masculine traits).
Results also provide evidence in support of the theory of social exchange.