Gender Roles In Moderen Advertisments Essay, Research Paper
Commercials on television tend to portray stereotypical roles of gender. |The effect of television imagery can be particularly consequential in modern industrial societies like the United States, where 98% of households have at least one television set and the average American watches over 30 hours of television each weekX(Coltrone, Adams 1997, 325). These images do not create an accurate image of the modern woman, often demeaning their role in society. Females are depicted as attractive sexual objects, obsessed with appearance and dating; while men are more likely to be shown as aggressive and powerful, accomplishing some all important task(Ruth 1995, 388). Different gender stereotypes are portrayed at different times of the day and evening in order to target certain audiences. All of these images portray different levels of traditional gender roles. Often these differences are not discrete, |Men are generally thought of as independent, objective, active, competitive, self-confident, and ambitious; while women are seen as dependent, subjective, passive, not competitive, lacking self-confidence and ambitionX(Coltrane, Adams 1997, 325).
Women / mothers are more likely to be watching television during the day, therefore advertisements tend to target the typical American housewife(Craig 1992, 209). During soap operas commercials go beyond matching a product aimed at a housewives particular needs, they portray stereotypical roles they should sustain. Daytime advertisements on television tend |to portray men in stereotypical roles of authority and patriarchal dominanceX, while women are associated with traditional roles of the American housewife(Craig 1992, 209). Females are shown maintaining the perfect household, with their primary goal being to take care of their husband and or family(Nemi 1997). Housewives are seen as happy to serve others and to relinquish their spare time and personal needs; all in an effort to insure that their families feel loved and cared for(Niemi 1997). Throughout out day time commercials there are never any connotations of single families(Niemi 1997), which in reality being a single parent is a common occurrence.
Some advertisements may even play on a women’s guilt and insecurities, showing them that by using their product it will help them maintain the perfect household(Niemi 1997). These advertisements tend to be conservative, showing a females existence completely dependent on her family(Niemi 1997). During the day women are completely defined by the services they provide; a clean home, prompt meals and a caretaker(Niemi 1997). Females are never defined by their intellectual skills outside the home(Taflinger 1996). These commercials generally show women in a position of cooking, cleaning, child care and maintaining an attractive appearance( Craig 1992, 209). | Men are portrayed as the primary charter in less that half of these commercials…when they do appear…[they are shown] as a celebrity spokesperson, husband or professionalX(Craig 1992, 209). These images may be unconscious internalized by women, giving them the mental image of the ideal housewife they should strive to be, often making them feel they are not living up to the American standard of a wife and mother(Stephens, Hill, Hanson 1994, 137).
Evening commercials tend to be more heterogeneous, portraying the needs of the working mother struggling to balance her career and family(Craig 1992, 210). | Men were more likely to be portrayed as a parent or spouse in settings at homeX(Craig 1992, 208). These advertisements tend to be cosmetic and household commercials showing women that product |XX can help them better manage their time at work and home as to never neglect her family(Ruth 1995, 388). Cosmetic commercials show that a working woman can beautify herself in a matter of minutes( Stephens et.all 1994, 137). This also sets forth the negative stereotype that women are not beautiful unless they were makeup( Stephens et.all 1994, 137). The use of skinny young models in these advertisements also sets forth a view of what the ideal woman should be, a standard most women can not live up to ( Stephens et.all 1994, 137). During prime time men are usually the primary speaking character. This gives rise to the notion that is unconsciously internalized while viewing these commercials, males hold dominant authority(Welch, Huston-Stien, Wright and Plehal 1979, 202). Commercials aired at this time tend to be less offensive because they are dealing with a broader audience that ends to represent both sexes equally( Craig 1992, 210). The goal of advertising at this time is not to offend either sex, henceforth there are less negative stereotypical roles during these advertisement than during the weekend( Craig 1992, 210).
Weekend commercials are typically when women are portrayed as sex objects. Most viewers of weekend television tend to be males, therefore these advertisements are aimed at men. They usually do not show families during the weekend, but when they do it is typically away from home( Craig 1992, 210). Women portrayed in theses commercials are always with men, | and seldom as the primary charter. they are generally seen in subservient roles to men… as sex objects or models which their only function [seems] to be to lend an aspect of eroticism to the adX(Craig 1992, 210). It is here where the most negative images of women are shown. These types of commercials are only shown for there sex appeal in an effort to catch the males eye(Taflinger 1996).
Sex is used in advertising because it has shown to work. Sex also happens to be the second strongest of the physiological appeals, falling after self preservation(Taflinger 1996). This can be directed at both men and women. In advertisements that are aimed at men, the goal is to portray a subtle image of sex with out any complications, which plays into the male ego(Taflinger 1996). When directed at males | …it is easy to get a man+s attention by using women+s bodied and associate getting the woman if he buys the productX(Taflinger 1996). In these commercials there are not any indications as to the power, status or money that a woman has, just that the woman is simply beautiful. When advertisements are aimed at women the goal is to show a product that men like, and will help women keep there figure and beauty(Taflinger 1996). Indicating that | the woman+s concern is attracting the attention of men from which to choose, and that using the product will aid her in her questX(Taflinger 1996). The difference between the two types of advertisements is that a women+s goal is to obtain a man, whereas man+s goal is to achieve some type of sexual activity. |This type of advertising leaves women with the indication that men only see them as sex objects, and men find women only seeing them as insensitive and sex crazed animalsX(Taflinger,1996).
|Advertisements are selling us something else besides consumer goods; in providing us with a structure in which we, and those goods, are interchangeable, they are selling us ourselvesX(Coltrane, Adams 1997, 325).In general advertisements send out a negative stereotype of women. They set the standard for what a women and men would be and look like. These images can have a negative effect, such as women having an eating disorder in an effort to become as thin as models on television(Stephens,Hill,Hanson,1994,p.137), or mothers feeling they are inadequate because they can not live up to the perfect housewife(Niemi 1997). |Media Imagery has changed only slightly, with men predominantly portrayed as workers and women as sex objectsX(Coltrane, Adams 1997, 323). These stereotypes are instilled beginning with childhood, and they instill the notion of traditional gender roles(Welch et.al 1979,202). Commercials do not reflect the modern woman, even in an age when equality is suppose to prevail.
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