The Multivocal Nature of Ideal Female as Reflected in Fragrance Advertisements

Christine M. Klein, The College of Wooster


This thesis explores the multivocal nature of ideal female as reflected in fragrance advertisements. Multivocality is the concept that a symbol (such as ideal female) is multivocal, having many vocalities or meanings at the same time. The female American consumer's perception of ideal female is multivocal. The vocalities from her perception are reflected in fragrance advertisements as gender images. Her perception was determined using fragrance advertisements collected from ten special purpose consumer magazines within a ten month period. The social variables age and gender were focused upon; utilizing age markets ranging in age from 15 to 55 years and older. Gender images were identified using theories of gender images and a content analysis of the advertisements. These gender images were then gouped into three vocalities: Sacred, Public Presence and Nature. Results showed that the female American consumer as a whole and per age group is presented with the highest percentage of images from the vocality Sacred. The second and third highest percentages of images are from vocalities Public Presence and Nature respectively. Future research is suggested, focusing upon the development. of multivocal male gender as a study. More empha:5is might also be placed upon informants' opinions versus this study's content analysis and theories.


© Copyright 1989 Christine M. Klein