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The main purpose of this paper was to examine female roles portrayed by advertising. More specifically, the question that motivated this research project was: What messages about women have been given to society through advertisement? Have these portrayals been changed during the past decades? The study consisted of a systematic content analysis of Brazilian commercials from 1973 to 2000. The population from which this sample was drawn consisted of Brazilian commercials which got an award in international and national festivals. A probabilistic sample procedure was employed. Ninety five pieces were selected. The categories and operational rules used in the study were developed based on previous research. This study has proposed that female images in advertising are depicted in three different ways: stereotyped, idealized and plural portrayals. Our results have revealed that some specific images have changed; however, they continued to be stereotyped and idealized.