Date of Award

6-2001

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Orbe

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy Cornwell

Third Advisor

Dr. Keith Hearit

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

A significant issue surrounding the increasing dependence of U.S. society on technological products surrounds questions of equity. Research suggests that our increased dependence on technology has acted to further stratify our society in regards to gender. A growing body of literature which takes a critical stance of technology acknowledges that there are gaps between technology 'haves' and 'have-nots' (Aronowitz, 1988; Brosnan, 1998; Harvey, 2000; Loader, 1998; Millar, 1998), suggesting that utopian perspectives of technology need to be re-examined. Research has addressed issues regarding gender politics and technology (Caputi, 1988; Jansen, 1989; Millar, 1998; Zimmerman, 1983), yet little research has examined the rhetorical strategies and persuasive means advertisers employ while promoting technological products. According to Millar (1998), Wired magazine positions itself as the authority on the future. Taking a feminist approach, this study uses rhetorical criticism and the study of gender to examine advertisements for technological products within current issues of Wired magazine. It examines both the presence and the absence of images of diverse women to derive meaning from the texts. Specifically, this study employs Foss's (1989) four criteria as a methodological framework for implementing feminist criticism and intends to contribute to, and subsequently expand upon, our current understanding of how gender is constructed through advertisements for new technologies.

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