Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Gregory Borchard

Second Committee Member

Lawrence Mullen

Third Committee Member

Oleysa Venger

Fourth Committee Member

Maile Chapman

Number of Pages



The media, especially advertisers, have long used beautiful women as an ideal image for attracting viewers and selling products. American women have been portrayed as, ideally, thin Caucasians with blonde hair and blue eyes. Research has found that women compare themselves to the beautiful women in advertising and in turn have negative feelings towards their own appearance. This thesis’ goal is to find whether the ideal American woman has changed through a content analysis of the women on the covers of Cosmopolitan magazine over the past 55 years, 1959 through 2014. This content analysis will focus on how the covers changed depending on who was the editor-in-chief at the time. The content analysis will begin with the cover from 1959 because that is when celebrities began to appear on covers. Knowing whether the ideal look of the American woman has changed will gauge how further research should be done on how women are comparing themselves to these women and then feeling afterwards.


Beauty; Body dissatisfaction; Body image in women; Cosmopolitan (New York; N.Y. : 1952); Cosmopolitan magazine; Feminine beauty (Aesthetics); Media; Social Comparison; Women; Women in mass media


Broadcast and Video Studies | Communication | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Women's Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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