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Stereotype in Ads

By | August 2008
Page 1 of 8
Stereotype is generally a generalization about a group of people that other people

make based on their personal experiences or limited knowledge. In advertising

industry, stereotypes conform to a visual pattern of appearance and behavior that is

easily recognized and understood to communicate to the audiences. Sometimes

stereotype is deliberately set up to stimulate demand particularly in women and

beauty business. Producers create needs by using images of ideal women which are

unattainable for all but a very small number of women then the stereotype is

reinforced to customers by the presence of advertisement. On the one hand, this

strategy seems to have a powerful effect as beauty industries are continually growing.

On the other hand, research indicates that exposure to images of unrealistic ideal

female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of

unhealthy eating habits in women and girls.

Dittrich (1998) reports that the average person sees between 400-600 advertisements

per day, and one out of eleven of these advertisements contain a direct message of

beauty. Guillen and Barr (1994) track a magazine for adolescent girls over 20 years

and found an increasing majority of advertisements and articles promoting weight

loss, while Hertzler and Grun (1990) examined 117 magazines and found and

implication that women need to be slim, as well as fit and young, and to use cosmetic

products in order to be beautiful (Smith, 1997, p. 16). In cosmetic and diet product

industries, stereotypes are used in advertising to reinforce the importance of a thin

body as a measure of a woman’s worth. “Advertising delivers a commentary to

women that, to secure their fascination and preference of men, they will relinquish the

approval and sisterhood of women and that the sacrifice is worthwhile” (Cortese,

2004, p. 25). By presenting an ideal image of ‘perfect...

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