Sexism in Advertising

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Ciera Colley
M. Conklin
ENC 1102-058
27 September 2011
Project 1: Ad Analysis

It is obvious that women and men have play different roles in advertising. Men are portrayed as the dominant figure, while women are portrayed weak or as objects. For example, in this ad the male figure is taller and his face doesn’t have as much lighting as the female figure. Appearing in 1961, a time remembered by family values and consumerism, this ad for a Kenwood Chef food processor uses the stereotype of women being at the disposal of men. The audience is singled out through the text in the ad itself, which reads “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef.” As men working was the main source of income for the average family in the 60s, the obvious purpose of this advertisement is to convince men to buy the product for their wives. While the ad possesses a dual gender message, as wives may see it and ask their husbands to buy the product for them, but it definitely relates more to men. Before actually knowing what product the ad is promoting, seeing “The Chef does everything but cook - that’s what wives are for,” one would think that by “chef” they meant the husband, since he doesn’t cook. Then the eye goes to the wife’s chef hat; this sends a mixed signal. Is the wife a different person when she’s cooking? The tone of the ad provides a light, casual humor, as if one’s home life will be better with this product. The female subject in the ad looks overjoyed to receive this gift from her husband, to be able to serve him that much better. The male subject’s personality seems distant. It almost appears as if the two have been photoshopped together, making him distant from the female figure. His face is grainy, while hers is bright and flawless. Keeping its target audience in mind, the tone of the ad is informal, humorous, casual, and plainspoken. The Chef’s slogan reinforces society’s idea of a woman’s duty in the kitchen, with one of her main responsibilities being...
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