As a society, we are seduced by the power of advertisements. An advertisement sells more than a product; it sells images, values, concepts of love and sexuality and most importantly normalcy. It conceptualises the world and our role within it.
The media’s misrepresentation of the fluid nature of gender archetypes with rigid, limiting and immutable stereotypes constructs a distorted view of reality.
We all know the idealised characteristics of masculinity and femineity: men are strong, powerful and protective while women are delicate, beautiful and dependent. However, this repetition desensitises us to gender disparity and encourages us to conform to the role dictated by the media.
Thus, the pervasive and reoccurring image of males and females as binary oppositions in advertisements has pronounced gender inequality in society through exerting gender specific social pressure to emulate these constructed stereotypes.
The Power Wheel campaign highlights the underlying construction of the binary oppositions of gender in advertising that is instilled upon children. The Barbie Jammin Jeep advertisement encapsulates the stereotypical attributes of girls to emphasise the socially defined limits of femineity. The advertisement’s safe animated setting with exclusively female characters visually projects a façade of females being valuable, passive and dependent. Additionally, the recurring emotive language of the characters “jammin’ out” as “barbie girls” patronises the fullness of female potential. Conversely, the Monster Traction Truck advertisement highlights the empirically based constructions of masculinity through the recurring theme of adventure. The realistic, exploratory imagery of the ad, reinforced by male characters and narration, personifies men as being dominant, hyperactive and independent. Ultimately, the adjectives used to describe the Power Wheels vehicle epitomises the disparity between male and female representation through the girls’ “glam machine” juxtaposed to the boys’ “monster truck” that’s “ready for action”. These binary oppositions indoctrinate children with rigidly defined stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. Pike and Jennings (2005) established that “the repeated exposure to these images contributes to the development of children’s conceptions of gender and their expected roles as men and women.” This normalisation of opposing gender stereotypes desensitises viewers to the degree that these ideologies penetrate society. Thus, these contrasting distortions of reality exemplify to children not only who they are, but also, who they should be.
The humours “boys verses girls” theme of the Masterchef promotional advertisement normalises gender archetypes through binary oppositions that epitomises gender inequality. The advertisement’s inflammatory label of the “1950s housewife” and emphasis that “women are better at presentation… we are used to grooming ourselves” attributes women’s culinary skills to an archaic...