Gender Inequality in Advertising By: Christel Amidon
Why I Chose This Topic I have always been fascinated by the impact of advertising. I have researched and written other papers on different areas of this topic, however this time I wanted to use this opportunity to observe my peers. This project gave me a chance analyze data that I have collected from people of both genders and of all ages to see how advertising has affected their views.
Background Analyzed Heiko Motschenbacher’s article, Speaking the Gendered Body: The Performative Construction of Commercial femininities and masculinities via body-part vocabulary Motschenbacher discusses how Advertisements use more than just imagery to send body messages These written advertisements are “clearly structured in accordance with dominant gender discourses that are strategically deployed to normatively construct female and male bodies” (Motschenbacher, 2009)
Continued… She analyzed Men’s Health Magazine and Cosmopolitan Magazinefor written advertisements and how they use gendered language. She found that there were several cases where the same word was used positively for one gender and negatively for the other. This proved that written messages that use body-part lexemes can perpetuate gender inequality in consumers.
Hypothesis: American Media has been the leading influence on gender inequality in American culture. These images are perpetuated by making the gender differences seem natural even though they are not naturally produced in society. These media outlets are slowing America’s progress toward gender equality.
Method I created a survey that would allow the participants to fill in their answer so that they could make the connection with the first image that came to mind. I surveyed 10 people ages 17-55 Six questions total 4 multipart questions 2 single part questions Questions were answered with Male/Female/Both
Survey Questions Who would be in an advertisement for the following soaps? Laundry soap ________ Body soap ________ Car soap ________ Who would be in an advertisement for the following Pro Sports? Golf ________ Soccer ________ Basketball ________ Tennis ________ Who would be in an advertisement for the following alcoholic beverages? Beer ________ Wine ________ Liquor ________ Who would be in an advertisement for the following cars? Truck ________ SUV ________ Sedan ________ Sports car ________ Minivan ________ Who would play an action hero on TV or in the movies? ________ Who would play a chef on TV or in the movies? ________ I chose these questions because of there diversity. I wanted to see how often the gender selected would match the gender dominated subject.
Analyzing each group of questions shows how most participants chose the gender that fits within the stereotype.It created a spectrum; women on one side men on the other. This allowed some subjects to fall in the middle as both male and female.
Female------------------Both------------------Male Minivan SUV Truck Sedan Sports car
This shows how influential images and vocabulary are in advertising.
Advertising repeats gendered stereotypes so often that it has become a societal norm.
Conclusion I felt that my research showed the impact media has had on gender stereotyping It also shows that no matter the age, the stereotypes are almost identical. I feel that this is a dangerous epidemic for our population because people really do not have the ability to think outside of what has become a unequal gender norm.
Kimmel, M. (2008). The Gendered Society. New York: Oxford university Press Inc. Motschenbacher, H. (2009). Speaking the Gendered body; The PerformativeConstruction of Commercial Femininities and Masculinities via body-part Vocabulary. Camberage University Press, 1-22.