Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art History


This project consists of a weeklong, four-lesson unit for middle school aged girls that uses print advertising to promote positive body image and self-esteem. The lessons cover how women have been represented in print advertising throughout history, how contemporary advertising simultaneously represents modern beauty ideals and subjugates women, how social media images perpetuate and maintain unrealistic beauty standards, and how rape culture and violence against women is sanctioned through violent portrayals of women in advertising. My interest in developing a curriculum for middle-school girls started when I interned with a school psychologist in Spring 2014 and one of my responsibilities was to help teach health class for seventh-grade girls. I was very disappointed with their health curriculum, which only focused on reproductive health and anatomy and failed to address the multitude of psychosocial issues that adolescents encounter. I was then determined to use my combined expertise in psychology and art history to dissect advertisements’ visual properties and help girls understand how they communicate psychologically harmful messages.


Note: Access to this thesis is restricted to Skidmore community.