Sexuality in the Media – part 2

Yesterday I introduced a project I use in my college level human sexuality classes where students learn how to analyze media images for their sexual content (and the quality of that content) and then create a media image of their own.

The second project is from Heather Haygood.  She created sexy advertisements for gum and condoms that incorporated normal, unmodified bodies.  These are good, sexy pictures.  I have no idea why we can’t see bodies like this in actual advertisements from Trojan or anyone else.  Here is Heather’s introduction to her project:

The motivating factor behind me making my project as I did; actually started with a conversation I had with my boyfriend about 2 months ago. I don’t remember to much of the conversation but we were talking about how girls look in magazines and things of that nature, and what stood out about this is that he, (a mid 20’s male) pointed out to me how disappointed he was with what was being shown to the world and how it isn’t fair to men to have pictures of women who are photo-shopped and made to look completely flawless shoved in their face everywhere they turn (I was so proud). So I wanted to portray a sexual advertisement where the women look like real women; it’s shown that the men find them attractive; even though they aren’t the pin-up sultry seductresses we typically see. We can’t all be 100 pounds, flawless and skin and bones, because if we did, we wouldn’t have much variety to choose from when it comes to searching for a mate. And even w/ my friend who is pretty skinny, if this was a “professional” high end photo shoot, there would have been many things edited about her pictures, but why? There’s no need. She’s beautiful. We all are, flaws and all, it’s what makes us who we are; it’s what makes us unique.

And here are three of Heather’s pictures:




About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. good

  2. And it goes both ways. I’m tired of never seeing the kind of men *I* find attractive in advertising. Not to mention as it’s not fair to women to have all of these photoshopped women in advertising, it’s not fair to men to have this one standard of what an attractive man is supposed to look like in advertising. Everyone talks about women and advertising and self-image, but no one ever talks about men and advertising and their self-images. (MASC Magazine deals with men’s issues in a positive light that doesn’t put down women or other men. So perhaps they could talk about it. [Or already have?])

    As I found the 2nd and 3rd shots the most titillating to me (esp. the 3rd. Very subtle!), I was very happy with the man in the first one… he looks like the kinds of guys that I find in my dating circles. Frankly, he looks like a geek (the long hair and goatee give it away) and I don’t mean that in any negative sense. There’s nothing wrong with his looks… he’s just the kind of guy I find in the circles I hang out in, and those are almost all geeky.

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