The purpose of this study is to examine how feminine hygiene advertisements portray womanhood and shape one’s construction of their female identity. Specifically, this study analyzes how Tampax, Playtex, andU by Kotexadvertisements convey ideas of womanhood by perpetuating or neglecting gendered stereotypes. This study utilizes a quantitative approach, specifically content analysis. In order to accurately draw conclusions regarding the way each company portrays menstruation, a total of forty-nine advertisements were collected from the three leading companies. To conduct my content analysis, I created a code book in which I would analyze the ads based on a series of sixteen questions. These questions refer to the way the models in each advertisement are portrayed in regards to their demographics, while also analyzing the language surrounding menstruation, and the placement of the actual tampon product within the advertisement.

The results indicated a lack of diverse women depicted within the tampon advertisements. Additionally, tampon advertisements refer to periods and sell their product in a discreet way. These results suggest a need for tampon brands to incorporate all types of women within their advertisements to illustrate a more inclusive and accurate representation of women and their experience with menstruation. These results also propose that tampon companies should utilize more direct terminology when referring to menstruation and their products in order to normalize this biological event.


Zhu, Yi

Second Advisor

Johnson, Michelle




Communication | Health Communication | Mass Communication | Public Relations and Advertising


menstruation, female, identity, content analysis, womanhood, stereotypes

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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