Sexuality, Race, and Ethnicity in American Advertising

Advertising imagery has usually depicted sexuality as heteronormative. It is a fair generalization to say that advertising imagery, in nearly every case, tends to follow and mimic social and cultural changes rather than to initiate them. Depictions of alternative sexualities in advertising thus began only after LGBT people came out in American society and media programming, most notably TV sitcoms, included first gay and later lesbian characters.


William M. O’Barr, Duke University