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The Effect of Advertising on Male Body Image Disturbance: A Content Analysis of Male Models in Esquire Magazine Ads from 1955-2005

Shoieb, Zienab
Committee Members: 
Dr. J. Eric Haley
May 2015


This study examines the transformation of the male body ideal in magazine ads over time. A content analysis of 218 male models in Esquire ads from 1955 to 2005 were coded for level of male models’ fat, muscularity, and nudity levels; whether the ad was photographed or illustrated; and product category. Findings reveal (1) a significant decrease in male models’ fat levels over time, (2) a significant increase in male models’ muscularity levels over time, and (3) a significant increase in nudity over time. Male models in photographed advertisements were found to have higher levels of muscularity and nudity than those in illustrated advertisements. The majority of product categories differed significantly on the fat, muscularity, and nudity scales. Practical and theoretical implications of the results are considered.