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Codes Of Gender Essay

2619 words - 11 pages

In this analysis, the author examines the staging of male and female subjects in visual discourse by deconstructing advertisements that involve gendered subjects, examine gender on an institutional level, and look at gender as a performance. Advertisements are the most conventional ways to portray commercial realism, something that could be real because they don’t look peculiar or weird- they look normal. The big question asked by Erving Goffman, author of the book, “Gender Advertisements” is why do these advertisements not look strange to us when in fact they really are (Jhally)?
Gender is a learned social construction on what you do. It is a cultural system based on the binary opposition ...view middle of the document...

Posture is a form of power that is used by every individual as well as in institutions.
In the first image we have a man towering over an almost-naked woman who is lying down in between the man’s legs. The man is fully clothed in a suit, which represents power and formality. It is extremely suggestive as it looks like he came to this position without the woman’s knowledge or consent since her sunglasses are pushed up for her to see. He is in a dominating position where she has to look up at him and the man’s face isn’t shown in the ad, which shows that he is confident. The ad is suggesting that if you have Sky Vodka, you can look glamourous and wealthy as well. The men are always given more power and a higher status than the women (Appendix A). The second image reveals how femininity is portrayed. In the ad for Dolce and Gabbana’s Monico Lipstick, notice the lightness of the woman’s hand touching her face, the touching of one’s face, especially the finger-to-mouth pose is reminiscent of a child. She is also dressed seductively with a come-hither look on her face that is bold and suggestive (Appendix A).
Gendered existence is not a matter of free individual choice because there are cultural and social constraints determining people’s lives. When we try to figure out which spectrums we are from we tend to make people’s differences a problem (Heiskala 215-231). This is the problem with diversity; we use what is different about people to oppress them. People who aren’t in our “reference group”, those we use as, what sociologists call “standards of comparison” (Johnson), are people who are beneath our social construction. Derrida’s theory is that we give things a privileged position and that there is no center because we made it up. White, male, and heterosexual individuals are considered as the privileged. This group of people can reap the benefits of never having to worry about being ridiculed or looked down upon. In their daily lives this oppression may be done consciously or unconsciously. By not saying anything you are also exacting that same feeling of oppression. With privileged positions comes gender discrimination. There is a clear distinction between women and men. According to Block and Galabuzi, women encompass barriers to ideal jobs, as they are more likely to be stuck with a low-paid job that is insecure with few or no benefits. Compared to men, women witness a gendered income gap where they receive less than their male counterparts (Block, and Galabuzi). In the Mooney reading, they mentioned a myth where mothers on welfare have large families with many children and that unmarried women have children solely to reap the benefits of welfare. Men are not portrayed as needy or in such desolate situations as to need several children as much as women do. This leads to a negative image of women because they are being discriminated for their sex at home and in the workplace (Mooney, Knox, and Schacht ).
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