Aimee Meader, Ph.D.


Individualized Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Interdisciplinary Studies


The purpose of this study is to further understand the relationship of family background and how it affects self-esteem and the perception of gender roles in online imagery. This study focuses on how our history serves as a lens to see gender roles. The schema theory, created by Robert Axelrod, is a model suggesting that people have a “pre-existing assumption about the way the world is organized” (Axelford, 1974). Furthering this theory is Bem's (1981) Gender Schema Theory, which proposes that one's sexual self-concept affects how one structures items in memory. These theories, applied to the understood roles and activities that we see our parents perform, should relate to how we see people in the media take on certain roles and activities in online advertisements. The method for collecting data is a survey broken down into questions of demographics, family history, self-esteem, and ten randomized advertisements portraying traditional, decorative, and non-traditional gender roles for both men and women. If we can begin to understand the relationship between family background and advertisement effectiveness, then advertisers can see the real cultural values and changing gender-role identities in consumers.