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Advertisements and our children

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Advertisements and our children

  1. 1. Advertisements and Our Children:Unknown Affects<br />Arianna Hyder<br />Sociology 235<br />Professor Erica Dixon<br />August 17, 2010<br />
  2. 2. Background<br />This project all started with an epiphany of how little I had understood how ads were subconsciously affecting me, and I realized, my children. My husband and I view advertisements very differently, but I never really contemplated how my girls could be viewing these same ads.<br />Once I started learning about how the models are used to depict male dominance stereotypes I was enraged. How do the people creating these advertisements get away with this? It is because, like I once believed, society does not believe there is anything subconsciously going on with these advertisements.<br />With so much information being given to them, parents can end up becoming confused as to how to best help their children, and end up doing nothing.<br />
  3. 3. Hypothesis<br />Even with all of our modern day advancements, advertising is still gender stereotypical which is influencing our children in a negative way by promoting long standing labels, that as a society we believe to have done away with. Children are still being taught there are separate boy domains and girl domains instead of learning that we are all equal, and that boys are dominant, smarter, and far superior than girls.<br />
  4. 4. Methods<br />Although there are several ways research could be conducted to prove this hypothesis, the method that was chosen was a survey with several questions and pictures of several advertisements. <br />This survey was conducted as a blind study, with only the gender and age of the child being asked for.<br />In total 150 surveys were attempted, with 50 being completed. The subjects were girls and boys, ranging from 6 years old to 13 years old. Of the completed surveys, 38 were female and 12 were male.<br />
  5. 5. Questions from the Survey<br />What do you see in this picture?<br />How does this picture make you feel?<br />What do you think of this picture?<br />
  6. 6. Pictures from the Survey<br />“Normal” Men<br />“Normal” Women<br />
  7. 7. Pictures from the Survey<br />Women as Stupid<br />Men as Stupid<br />
  8. 8. Pictures from the Survey<br />Men in Control<br />Women as Nature<br />
  9. 9. Results<br />The results were very surprising because it was predicted that the girls would feel very stifled, held back, and as lower class citizens by these advertisements, while the boys would feel empowered, in charge, and superior. This was not the finding at all from these surveys.<br />All of the children, both boys and girls, between ages 6 years old through 11 years old, looked just at the person in the advertisement, without a lot of regard for the products in the ad. The boys focused on the fact the people in the ad were looking at them. The boys tried to figure out if the person in the ad was thinking, daydreaming, challenging him to fight, or wanting something from him. The girls focused on what the person looked like and how it made them feel. The girls wrote about the emotions the people evoked from the looks on their faces and tried to figure out what would happen next, if they needed help, or if the ad should be on TV or in magazines.<br />The boys and girls ages 12 years old through 13 years old, looked at the product being sold in the ad, and only a little bit at the people in the advertisement. The boys were mainly interested in how attractive the man or woman in the ad was. Some made the connection that the product being advertised was supposed to help you become more like the person in the ad. The girls also were interested in how attractive the man or woman in the ad was and most thought they needed to go right away to buy the product being sold.<br />What astonishingly did not happen were any indications of feelings or resentments from any child over these advertisements. None of them indicated they felt empowered or constrained by these advertisements.<br />
  10. 10. Conclusion<br />The results were very surprising to me. After everything we have learned and read about this quarter, I figured if these traits were being ingrained in us from childhood, the child would somehow subconsciously realize it, and I would be able to recognize this, and try to sculpt their point of view. I think the children were very honest and open with their thoughts and feelings, and enjoyed the fact they were helping me out. <br />After some though, there are a few changes I would make to this experiment. I think maybe some other advertisements could have been used, maybe ones that depicted children instead of adults, to see if the results would be different. Print ads were the easiest to mail out and carry with me to show the children, but maybe ads off of TV would be more thought provoking. Even though I tried to sample a large group, it didn’t work out, so maybe the sample was not big enough. I thought my questions were very good, because they asked what they saw, felt, and thought, but maybe I could revise my questions as well.<br /> The main question that came up for me during this gender study is how do I feel as a parent about ads, and how do I let my own children view them? It has made me look at advertisements a whole new way. I started muting commercials on TV to discourage my children from paying so much attention to them. I already only let them look at certain animal magazines but I have started looking through them before I let my children have them. The most important change for me was the realization of what is being directed at my children. I started having conversations with them about the ads on TV and in magazines, which I had never done before unless it was really disturbing. Now we discuss almost every ad we see, which has so far been a great insight for me as to what my children are thinking. It has given me another opportunity to talk and know my children.<br />

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