Branding Sexuality & Gender: How Does Branding, in the Context of Advertising, Reinforce Gender Stereotypes and Inequalities in the Public Space? What Are the Affects of This?

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Branding Sexuality & Gender: How does branding, in the context of advertising, reinforce gender stereotypes and inequalities in the public space? What are the affects of this?

Anna Ptasinski October 2010


Plagiarism Declaration 1. I know that plagiarism is wrong. Plagiarism is to use another’s work and pretend that it is one’s own. 2. I have used the Harvard convention for citation and referencing. Each contribution to, and quotation in, this essay from the work(s) of other people has been acknowledged through citation cited and referenced. 3. This essay is my own work. 4. I have not allowed, and will not allow, anyone to copy my work with the intention of passing it off as his or her own work. 5. I have done the word processing and formatting of this assignment myself.

Signature: ___________A_____________ Anna Urszula Ptasinski

Date: ______2010.10.08______


Contents Page 1. Introduction 2. Literature Review
2. 1 Gender inequality: it’s relation to branding in our society 2. 2 The female form and feminism 2. 3 Brand strategy and its reinforcement of gender stereotyping and inequality 2. 4 Brands and their advertising: how gender stereotypes are still implemented 2. 5 Influences and effects of branding within the public space 2. 6 Change: understanding branding and the public space 2. 7 Provoking your thoughts: brand campaigns to raise awareness 2. 8 Consequences

4 8
8 9 10 11 13 15 17 19

3. Methodology
- Method of analysis - Research questions - Sample selection - Research aims

23 23 23 24

4. Results & Findings
- Sexism in the South African context - Respondent’s thoughts on gender stereotyping - Branding and gender stereotyping in the public space - Respondent reaction to the way females are represented in the public space - Sex as a commodity

25 26 29 30 33

5. Conclusion 6. Bibliography 7. Appendices

36 38 41


CHAPTER 1 An Introduction to the Study
Some time ago Gustave Le Bonne (1879) compared most of the female’s brain to that of a gorilla and stated that: “the inferiority (of women) is so obvious that no one can contest it for the moment; only its degree is worth discussing” (quoted in Joanne Naiman, 1997: 250). So, it would be pertinent to say that like race, gender inequality has been an issue within society for centuries. Although, through the later stage of the 20th century, the lines of these gender inequalities started to blur as women started to strive for the same respect and positioning as men, yet it would be ignorant to assume that gender discrimination towards women is not still strongly manifested within society today. It is important to ask the questions: What are these bigoted ideologies and where these bigoted ideologies are most affluent, along with how they are indirectly influencing the mindsets of males and females alike? It is not new to people that the mass media and retail marketers have a very influential and firm grasp on society and their attitudes. Through media and advertising saturation, many people become susceptible to many brand messages that are being portrayed through/by a particular service or product, therefore it would be interesting to see which of these brands are reinforcing these binaries and how. Women have always taken on the roles of being sexual beings that are constantly idealized by men (and even other women) and live solely for that purpose. Such stereotypical mindsets needs to be eradicated so that it gives way for a niche in the market so that brands can become highly influential and initiate change of particular sexist mindsets. Because when following particular trends that are portrayed through popular culture, it seems that not many brands manage to market themselves in a way that reverberates female empowerment and, to some extent, liberation. Patrice Oppliger (2008: 3) stated that popular culture, through several media channels, manages to portray the female in a way which makes her feel that she...
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