In today’s business world, women are used as an object to attract consumers’ attention to the products that firms sell. They are exploited as a marketing instrument in a wide range of firms’ activities. Womenappear as a sexual object in any kind of advertisement or as an attractive material standing nearby a product. Sometimes firms use sexual sales women to facilitate the sale or to attract consumers’ attention to the firm or product. Particularly, it is very common to use sexually attractive women in advertisementsregardless of the product is related to sexuality.
Advertising is displayed all around the world for everyone to see and it sometimes gives a bad message to the viewers. Advertisements tell us that there is only one dominant way to be feminine and only one dominant way to be masculine and if you do not conform to these gender codes that is not considered normal. Unfortunately, I have caught myself following these gender codes that are shown in advertising, it has affected me with the way I see people and myself. By using a sociological perspective I have started to look into the advertisements that I see and understand how women are portrayed as helpless and weak while men are portrayed as powerful and dominant. I also looked into how advertising supports hegemonic masculinity, which is the idea of masculinity being dominant.
The majority of modern society’s advertising conveys an oppressive message to American women. In advertisement campaigns, women are typically only considered and marketed as beautiful if they fit a very specific mold that society has created. Women who don’t fit this mold of being feminine, thin, and pretty are shamed and encouraged to change. However, it isn’t just the “ugly” women who are shamed in the media. There is a consistent message that runs throughout advertisements that suggests that women are lesser than men, and that they exist solely for the benefit of men.
“Advertising contributes to people’s attitudes about gender, sex, and violence,” states Jean Kilbourne in her article, Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt With advertising agencies standing by the notion that “Sex Sells” it isn’t uncommon to find sex tied into a number of advertisements seen everywhere on a daily basis. “Sex in advertising is pornographic because it dehumanizes and objectifies people, especially women …” (Kilbourne, 271). The objectification of women in our society is more prevalent than many would like to believe. Women being portrayed as passive, easy, innocent, needy, submissive and dependent beings create an understanding that women are less human than men. “Turning a human being into a thing, an object, is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person” (Kilbourne,278).
Gender stereotyping continues to boom in society today. The advertising and media world play a chief part in perpetuating the nature behind gender roles and it is society as a whole who choose to receive it as a norm. A wide scope of portrayals of men and women exists in advertising, however masculine imagery traditionally depicts athleticism, strength, activity and competitiveness whereas feminine images suggest submissiveness, beauty, dependency and sensitivity. The Britax Decathlon’s car seat advertisement and the Californian beach-estate property advertisement both exemplify the stereotyped representation of gender roles in society: the female toddler dresses up in pink, is only concerned with her accessories and plays inside, where as
1.2 BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE OF THE STUDY In a world of advertising, companies use images they believe will market their products successfully. The globalisation of the media has also paved the way for print and television advertisements to be viewed all over the world. Along with these images come images that may strengthen the probability of stereotypes including those about women. Today there are only a limited content of advertisements that do not include an image of a young slender female advertising a certain product. Through the media, all women the world over are exposed to the Western ideal of beautiful women with slender, ageless bodies (Poorani, 2012:1).
That is the question we wish to deal with in this project. Portrayal of woman in advertising has been an area of interest for both academicians (Das, 2000, Siu and Au, 1997) and practitioners. There has been a socio-cultural change in society over the decades which are evident from the increasing number of women pursuing careers, changing family role structure, and unfavourable female attitudes toward traditional sex-role stereotypes. The earliest study of women’s role portrayals was done by Courtney and Lockeretz (1971). They studied 112 ads in magazines and concluded that the ads reflected stereotypical roles like “women’s place is in the home, women don’t make important decisions or do important things, and women are dependent and need men’s protection, men regard women as sex objects and are not interested in women as
Racism is no longer accepted in ads, which can be seen by the huge amount of backlash that the brand Dove received on their ad for body wash in 2011. The ad contains a picture of three women with different skin colours. On first glance, it seems that the brand is simply supporting diversity, but the text above the women changes that. One the side of the woman with the darkest skin colour, the text says ‘’before’’ and on the other side it says ‘’after’’. This implies that having darker skin is bad, since the product is meant to improve the skin.
How Femininity is Represented in Contemporary Advertising In this piece of work, I aim to address and analyse how femininity is represented in contemporary advertising. By doing that I must deal with representation. Representation involves standing for or symbolising something. Hall states that ‘It does involve the use of language, of signs and images which stand for or represent things.’ (1997, p.15). It is a form of communication that can portray an aspect of reality through a medium.
Gender Stereotype in Advertisements In my presentation, I will be addressing gender stereotype and how women were and are still being presented in printed advertisements in the past 80 years. The three advertisements will explore the gender roles attributed to women in advertisement and how the message shifted from a more explicit, socially acceptable and firmly established view of female roles to a more implicit conception of women in today’s society. The first advertisement, Hardee’s, dates back to the 1940s. The main aim of the ad is to convince men to opt for Hardee’s fast food as an escapade from home-made food prepared by their wives. Obviously, men are the sole target audience here, while women are given direct orders not to “leave the kitchen”.