Sexual Images and Social Inequality in Advertisements
Mass media has played a very special and important role in social influences and identifications. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and the media is that of the beholder as it can be a “powerful agent of gender-role socialization” (Crooks and Baur 2008, 70). Generally, the media is the one that can either help shaped or changed certain social images. Once an image has been made popular by the media, it can become a substantial impact that can change people’s view of ideals and images. However, even though our society is very diverse and colorful, the mainstream media present images that are consistent with stereotypes and the dominant ideological portrayal of society. One of the most obvious examples is in advertisements. The popular images of sexuality in advertisements clearly reflect and reinforce social inequality.
Typically, women have been mostly type-casted as submissive, passive, emotional, nurturing, and dependent while men as dominant, active, rational, aggressive, and independent in commercials. For example, an old flyer for the manufacture of home appliances, Dormeyer, showed a variety of appliances that were listed as a Christmas gift options for a husband to his wife (15 Sexist Vintage Ads). The ad asked the wife to pick and choose what she liked and showed them to her husband so he would buy them for her as Christmas gifts. It even suggested that if he didn’t buy them immediately, she should cry a little so he would do so right away. It then advised the husband to buy them so that his wife wouldn’t cry. It is only one ad but it represents two of the four traits of women stereotypes in social media; “women place’s is in the home” and “women are dependent on men” (Lundstrom and Sciglimpaglia 1977, 72). According to the ad, the wife is passive and emotional so she would only stay at home and do house works; hence the appliance and the tears. The man is portrayed as rational and...
References: 15 Sexist Vintage Ads. Cool Ads. Oddee. http://www.oddee.com/item_96674.aspx. (accessed
April 10, 2011)
Beck, Linsey. 2007. Feminist Film/Media Studies.
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/raim0007/gwss3307_fall2007/2007/09/ (accessed April 11, 2011)
Crooks, Robert and Karla Baur. 2008. Our Sexuality. 10th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth.
Lundstrom, William J. and Donald Sciglimpaglia. 1977. Sex Role Portrayals in Advertising.
Journal of Marketing 41, no.3: 72-79. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1250940.
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