The conflation of health and beauty in advertising: A critical multimodal discourse analysis of three television commercials

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Noriega, Andrea




This study applies a critical multimodal discourse analysis to three television
commercials: 1) Neutrogena ‘Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup’, 2) Colgate ‘Advanced Total
whitening toothpaste’ and 3) Danone ‘Activia probiotic yogurt’. In order to gain further
insight into how advertising discourses can shape body image ideologies, this study sets
out to investigate how television commercials construct a relationship between health and
beauty. This research includes analysis of both the visual and the verbal modes, drawing
on Systemic Functional Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Multimodal Discourse
Analysis, and Inter-mode relations. The findings are discussed in terms o f the theories of
healthism discourse and aestheticization of everyday life. In addition, Pierre Bourdieu’s
concepts of habitus, lifestyle, taste, capital, and field will be used to discuss how the
health-beauty consolidation is recursively produced and reproduced by society and its
members. The results of this study suggest that there is a colonization o f the advertising
non-health related products under healthism discourse, and this type of advertising is cooccurring
with ideologies of the body beautiful resulting in an unprecedented
consolidation between the concepts o f health and beauty. These findings underscore the
need for media literacy and hence the importance o f practicing and also teaching
discourse analysis approaches such as SFL, CDA, and MDA that are designed to expose
ideological underpinnings.


Medical anthropology
Forensic anthropology
Television advertising




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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