Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Department of Marketing

Program or Major

Honors Program

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Shuili Du


The use of beauty images in advertising has been generally deemed to be unethical in society, based on the general negative presupposition in modern western culture. The ethicalness of the display of high standards of beauty in advertisements is especially controversial and questionable in the advertising industry. Advertising watchdogs, social groups, and individuals have investigated the possibility of banning the display of high standards of beauty to be displayed in advertisings and publications. This paper argues that image advertising of high beauty standards may not be necessarily unethical in all situations. And under certain conditions, by considering and combining image(s) of high beauty standards with other factors, more ethical usage of beauty in advertising is possible. It is concluded that the usage of very high standards of beauty image in advertising could be unethical or ethical, depending on how the advertiser utilizes the images of high beauty standards. Several recommendations or ideas for future study are given on how to maximize the benefit of using images of high beauty standards in advertising, and at the same time minimizing its potential negative impacts.