Gender Branding in Media Perpetuates Sexist Culture<br />by BryanaMenefee<br />Sociology: Gender Roles In Society - Ericka Dixon<br />03/15/10<br />
Advertising is a Money Making Machine<br /> Currently, advertising makes up about $180 billion dollars of the country's annual economy (Kilbourne). The mass media is a major gender socializing institution, as materials in the Gender Roles class have shown<br /> This link gives an overview of revenue in the <br />Advertising and Branding Industry <br />
Nike Case Study<br /> A Nike case study explained how Nike has a parent brand which focuses on athleticism. Since athleticism is viewed as a masculine trait, the parent brand is represented by qualities widely deemed male-oriented, such as being competitive, muscular, and sweaty<br />
Mainstream Media<br />Mainstream, or media geared towards the "general public“, is considered men's media, while women are considered a specialized niche whose feminine traits are assigned within the confines of patriarchy.<br />
Sub-Branding Women<br />Literally, Nike was resistant to the idea of visual images of women sweating. Campaigns involving women were geared towards empowerment, which involved concepts like independence and self-assurance and were considered a sub-brand.<br />
My Case Study<br /> My observations were focused on recognizing sexist trends towards patriarchy in advertising. I watched how women were represented and what messages were given them, along with how differently women were portrayed than men. I also paid attention to the difference in the advertising messages aimed at men versus women. I assessed my observations along with a case study and various information from social scientists throughout this course.<br />
Movies and Television<br />What Women Want gave a Hollywood view inside the world of advertising executives in a very similar scenario to the actual Nike case study.<br />Mel Gibson plays a dashingly charismatic yet chauvinistic ad executive who has to come up with a campaign for women's sportswear.<br />Even this movie, with its mild attempt at feminism, still represents women's concerns through the perspective of men even after their supposedly "true" thoughts are overheard.<br />
Life Imitates Art<br />On programs like Desperate Housewives, women's main concerns appear to be gossip and make-up. <br />Though media often imitates life, my real life observations did not reflect many of the trends seen in media programming.<br />
When observing gender dynamics as they exist in the workplace, I noticed two things about women contrary to the representations in the media: none wore make-up or high heels, overall they worked in the same specialties (baking, customer service, cashier) as men and showed equal competence.<br />
Results<br /> The results showed overwhelming evidence supporting the hypothesis that today's media advertising is used to uphold sexist patriarchal culture. As late as the 1990's debates were incited about how women should be represented in the media and some of the arguments still exist today. Some, like Jean Kilbourne, feel patriarchal representations of women are defamatory. Others, like Nike, protest certain types of representations as inappropriate for women like images of sweating or aggressive behavior. Feminist traits allocated to women include sensuality, self-empowerment, and physical perfection. These traits are handed down by men, who view women as sensual objects of pleasure and who view self-reliance in women as an extra ordinary quality because women are usually co-dependent. Nike had a hard time adopting the ad campaigns focusing on women because they viewed their brand as male-oriented.<br />
Works Cited<br />Apatow, Judd (Producer & Director). 2005. 40-Year-Old-Virgin [Motion Picture]. United States: <br /> Universal Pictures.<br /> <br />Cesario, Jeff (Writer), & McCarthy-Miller Beth (Director). 2010. Episode 2 [Television series episode]. <br /> Gayle Depoli (Producer). The Marriage Ref. New York: NBC<br /> <br />Grow, Jean M. 2008. "The Gender of Branding: Early Nike Women's Advertising A Feminist Narrative". <br /> Women's Studies in Communication.<br /> <br />Kimmel, Michael. 2000. The Gendered Society, Second Edition. New York, New York. Oxford.<br /> <br />McEveety, Steve (Producer), & Meyers, Nancy (Director). 2000. What Women Want [Motion Picture]. <br /> United States: Paramount Pictures.<br />
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