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The Role And Impact Of Gender In Advertising

3195 words - 13 pages

In order for two things in this world to be entirely equal, the two things would have to be the same. It should be inescapable; however, that men and women are not the same. The two have many physical and psychological differences that set them apart. Many would even go as far as calling them opposites. Are they really all that different though? Are we born with these traits that set us apart from the opposite sex, or are we overly influenced by society to think that each gender is supposed to act in a certain way? Like anything, there is a happy medium. A common place where we tend to see the dramatic differences between men and women are in advertising. Advertising bolsters the stereotypes of men and women and plays a very impressive role in gender beliefs in society (Paek 2011). Gender is represented in advertising today by the current popular culture that shapes the ideals and images we place on specific genders.
It is undeniable that men and women are portrayed differently in advertising and part of the reason is due to the objectification of women. The “women’s movement” has played a very big role in the significant social developments in the second half of the twenty first century (Artz 1991). This was a time when women saw themselves as being objectified and wanted to do something about it. They started questioning the rights of women and strived to be considered equal to the opposite sex in the eyes of the world (Sun 2010). This social and psychological movement, which began in the 1960’s, was a vital stepping stone for women as 1975 was even named “International Women’s Year” (Artz 1991). By the women’s movement assimilating more women into the workforce it greatly changed the way women were portrayed in advertisements (Artz 1991). The women’s movement is extremely relevant to gender’s role in advertising as it has greatly changed the stereotype of women prior to the 1960’s. The two advertisements shown below are both portraying women seen in the kitchen. The first image is from 1957 and the second image is from 2014.
The advert from 1957 shows a husband and wife in the kitchen with a kitchen aid mixer in front of them. The caption reads, “The Chef does everything but cook – that’s what wives are for!” This caption implies that the wife is expected to cook all of the meals for the family. The woman in this advert appears happy as if she accepts her role in society and she will fulfil the stereotypical duties that her husband expects of her. The advert itself is largely targeted at men suggesting that if they buy their wife this kitchen aid mixer then dinner, along with all other meals, will be made faster by their wife. The idea then might wander into the husband’s mind about his food taking forever to be ready. No man wants to wait for his super after a long day’s work at the office. This one line caption has now made the husband in the relationship reconsider his wife’s ability to make quality meals for her family in a timely...

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