Vulnerable but aloof versus naughty and nice: Contrasting the presentation of male and female nude models in viva and playboy

James K. Beggan, Jennifer A. Vencill, Sheila Garos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current research examined contested meanings of nudity by comparing images of nude men and women that appeared in Viva, a 1970s women's magazine founded with the intention of foregrounding male nudity, to corresponding issues of Playboy. A major difference was obtained between male models and Playboy Playmates regarding direction of gaze and nudity. Although gaze aversion is often interpreted as a sign of submission and direct gaze is seen as a dominance cue, men in Viva displayed a high level of gaze aversion and women in Playboy often gazed directly at the camera, especially when their pubic area was exposed. Additional content analysis examined the personality characteristics attributed to male models in Viva and Playmates in Playboy in their biographical sketches. In Viva, men were presented as possessing "bad boy" traits that may have been intended to compensate for the loss of power associated with male nudity. Playmates could be viewed as being naughty (by virtue of posing nude) and nice in the characterization of their personalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-279
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

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