Gender Roles: Mass Media Advertising
Media today, specifically advertisements play an enormous role in the American society. To be direct, magazines are found to be the most powerful form of advertising influence on people. Throughout the years of this marketing system, Americans have come to accept and develop insensible attributes to the misleading and unfair aspects of these many advertisements. What many people of America don’t seem to acknowledge or care about are the many deluded portrayals of men and women in these advertisements; specifically women. Men and women throughout the world of advertising are depicted completely different. There is a harsh form of gender bias and stereotyping. Not only are females represented as objects and/or products, but their stereotypical model is also shown unrealistically skinny and what women consider “perfect”. In the current popular magazines that are looked upon today including, Sports Illustrated, People, and Cosmopolitan are all representations of the degradation of women and the sexist perspective of a stereotypical female. Women in these magazines are shown in seductive ways having to do with nudity. They have become a part of the advertising culture that perceives the female as inactive, powerless, and unsuccessful. According to an article on www.eating-disorders.org , The Independent Television Committee and the Government started forming regulations against allowing unhealthy and underweight images of women be shown in advertisements. Of course this statement is true, but did these rules and regulations on advertisements help? Are ads finally considering the importance of the female mind and body? 59 percent of women reported dissatisfaction with their body shape, and 66 percent expressed a desire to lose weight. Only 29 percent of the girls were overweight, states a study from an article, Women and Body Image. This statistic clearly gives an idea that many Americans do not see. Women are not only portrayed as objects but are also seen as skeletal images that perceive a completely unrealistic picture. To non-models, the readers, this forms low self-esteem and uncontrollable health issues. This is just a small example of the effects of advertising. To make it clear, the word advertise is defined as, “The activity of attracting public attention to a product or business”. Attraction, that’s what advertisement companies are encouraged to do. They need to provide ways that attract the human brain to specific products for selling use. As shown in many magazine ads, women are the source of attraction. The use of women in ads for alcohol, cars, perfume, etc. is extremely degrading and deceiving upon respectfulness towards these women. Advertisements don’t seem to detect the amount of worth they are giving women. These magazine ads not only maintain gender stereotyping, but they also perform unrealistic ideas of women and treat women like objects. On the contrary, many sources have stated that the advertising and negative portrayals of women have been considered. That women are finally becoming not just a sex object in the media. A recent study found in the article, The Media and Eating Disorders, revealed that “…persisting negative stereotyping of women found in
magazine ads, however, they also recorded a slight improvement in the way women’s roles were portrayed in magazine ads”. This article obviously states a point that women’s roles in ads have improved from negative to positive but past that article’s point there is no concise evidence of improvement. Looking at magazine ads today, I see no improvement. Women are still portrayed with stereotypical men-pleasing roles which make them look trashy and insignificant, which is considered negative not positive. Also, according to Rosalind Gill from article, Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising, “young women in advertisements are now frequently depicted as active, independent and sexually...
Citations: 1. Deanne, Jade. The Media and Eating Disorders. 2009 <http://www.eating-disorders.org.uk>
2. Malgorzata Skorek and Margrit Schreier. “A comparison of gender role portrayals in magazine advertisements from Germany, Poland and the United States” ICA 2009 <http://ucmerced.academia.edu>
3. Gill, Rosalind. “Feminism & Psychology”; Feb2008, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p35-60, <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=31122484&site=ehost-live>
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