Gender in Magazine Advertisements
May 2, 2013
Sociologists conduct various types of research in order to study human societies. Depending on the purpose of the research, either qualitative (non-numerical) or quantitative (numerical) research may be more beneficial. Researchers may also use field research in order to see the events as they actually occur or use unobtrusive research of social behavior that people create or leave behind. Content analysis is a form of unobtrusive research that studies documented commercials, such as magazine advertisements. The research conducted in our study required the use of content analysis because the purpose of the study was to look at how gender roles are portrayed within various magazine advertisements. Advertisements have enhanced societies’’ perception of stereotypes and social norms. Advertisements have allowed society to single out outliers that do not fit into their respective stereotypes or follow the expected social norm. The advertisements from various magazines are targeted at different audiences, which were then categorized into four major themes in order to depict the perceived differences between male and female gender roles in American society. Background/Literature Review:
Every day, society is bombarded by a slew of advertisements to attract the eye and sell the perfect product. Graphic Designers, Commercial Advertisers, Posters, Magazines etc. are tirelessly edited and revised to sell to the consumer in such a way that makes the product almost possible to resist. However, what methods are being used to help subconsciously persuade each individual? Could the same stereotypical roles that we learned in grade school as discriminatory, sexist, and just plain out wrong be presented in such a way that makes a product appealing to the common consumer? It is important to discuss the fact of how gender roles may be used in any form of advertisement to sell a product and how these subliminal persuasions may alter our view of men and women’s role in society. If exposed to enough sexist media, society may adapt norms that would further stereotype men and women and place sanctions on those that don’t follow them to the letter. In this particular segment of sociological research, it is important to address the issue of how social roles are depicted and demonstrated through the media. In particular, entertainment means such as magazines. The magazine by Barbara B. Stern, particularly talks about the role of gender versus multicultural affairs. What can be derive from this is an image of the broader scope in which media in the past and present, has chosen and portrayed the subject of gender in a rather repressive manner; most often and usually directed towards women. What has been discovered was there are two relationships to be found: the time of which the articles are written and the social infrastructure of society back in the particular era and the culture it’s brought about within. From what is seen in the first article, there exists a correlation between the history and the tone, as well as its social implications, in terms of impact it has brought upon the youths of its generation. For example, “the focus has shifted from interest in commonalities among women and differences from men to differences between various groups of women” (Stern 1). From what we see here is in other words, is a historical shift from gender dispute to disputes within gender groups. Instead of comparing how men are different to women, we began take a look at how women are different from each other. In a following excerpt, it is also mentioned that if we take a look, again at the historical context of the article: we see that most scholars, writers and journalists were educated men, since women weren’t trained as professionals in education, but as an item which did not require necessary teachings. Additionally, the majority of literature from the...
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