The hypersexualization of female stars on the cover of Rolling Stone

A sociologist found that Rolling Stone cover images of female stars have become more sexualized over the last few decades:

Hypersexualized images of women, on the other hand, went from representing six per cent of female covers in the 1970s to 61 per cent in the 2000s…

During the 2000s, women were 3 1 /2 times more likely to be hypersexualized than nonsexualized, and nearly five times more likely to be sexualized (hyper or otherwise) than non-sexualized.

Hatton acknowledges that many people will dismiss this conclusion as old hat, citing the venerable advertising maxim that “sex sells.”

But Hatton argues that to simply shrug off the findings is to ignore evidence that popculture’s accepted image of femininity is narrowing, dangerously, by the decade.

Several thoughts come to mind:

1. Rolling Stone has certainly changed over the years. From my own vantage point, it was once more serious, particularly about music, but has now become simply another pop culture magazine with occasional over-the-top political coverage.

2. The biggest surprise here is that the hypersexualization has become much worse over the years. And this is from a “progressive” magazine?

3. I wonder if large-scale surveys have presented such images to Americans and asked for their opinion. If so, then might we see a shift in opinion similar to the shift in images on the cover of Rolling Stone? In other words, are these covers simply a proxy for larger cultural opinions?

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