Gender Representation In Advertisements Essay

3134 words - 13 pages

I have to admit I am an avid reader of magazines. I read everything from the the stupid celebrity gossip magazines to Time magazine and National Geographic. Since our brief overview of magazine advertisements in class, I decided to look into how magazines make us think and more specifically I wanted to see how the magazine advertisements portray women, since that has been a hot topic for a while now. I like analyzing advertisements and looking at how viewers react to specific advertisements that may or may not be targeted toward them. The question I wanted to research was “How are different genders and sexualities represented in magazine advertisements?”, but I figured it was too broad for this assignment so I narrowed it down to: “How are women represented in magazines and magazine advertisements, and how is beauty portrayed?” I also wanted to touch on how gay women are represented, and I will towards the end of this paper.
What really got me interested in this topic was learning how advertisements and magazines like Seventeen effect girls’ self-esteem in health class many years ago. I actually decided I may want to pursue a career in advertising, so I know all of this knowledge will be helpful. What overall sparked this question however, was the discussion we had in class about advertising and the in-class exercises we did that made us look at advertisements in our own way. Lastly, I decided to write about women in magazines and magazine advertisements because lately there has been a lot of controversy over how women are portrayed and what the “ideal” woman looks according to advertisers. So, to answer my question I looked at many sources within the Academic Search Complete database and found one great article titled: “The Construction of Beauty in Malay Magazine Advertisements” by two Monash University professors. This article answered part of my question perfectly and I will summarize the key points that helped me answer my question. But first I will give you a little background knowledge.
I suppose it would be important to know how advertisements work and how if affects viewers. Understanding how an advertisement affects its viewers is key before we can move on to how the article analyzes the advertisements featured in the magazine. Advertisements work by drawing your attention to a specific product or service. They do so by placing the ads in the right place, using different fonts or typefaces to draw attention, and by using various techniques like celebrity endorsements to get you to look at the ad. However, the key of an advertisement is not for you to look at it an go on your merry way, advertisers want you to be affected in someway that you can relate to so you are more likely to buy their product or service in the long run. Advertisers use various tactics that are most known for targeting your self confidence in order to get you to think the product or service will make you smarter, richer, more beautiful, and overall, a better...

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