Representation of Men and Women in Advertisement Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3055 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Business - Advertising

Stylistic Analysis of the Representation of Men and Women in the Language of Modern Advertisement

The way that modern advertising re-presents or conveys perceptions and interpretations of male and female identity has been the focus of studies in many disciples, including media studies and sociology. The analysis of media advertising provides insight into certain ideological and cultural perceptions in a society. It also shows the way that underlying cultural views of male and female or gender identity is largely constructed by the specific culture. It is therefore very useful to study the ways"... In which people, places, values and beliefs are represented in contemporary media and their impact on society"

Controlling Advertising ? ASA Schools and Colleges resources No 1).

These studies also apply to the analysis of popular culture and the extent to which female and female identity can often be misrepresented and distorted by the media. This aspect will be a central focus of this paper.

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In the past, advertising and advertisers were largely restricted and circumscribed by the different nationalities, countries and cultures from which they originated. In other words, advertising would be inclined to represent the regional or local ideas and ideologies of a particular culture. However, this situation has changed in recent years with the advent of the phenomenon of globalization. Globalization implies the breaking down of cultural barriers and demarcations and the creation of a "global culture." This leads to shared perceptions across national and regional barriers, especially with regard to important social aspects such as gender and gender differences. This is another aspect that will form an important part of this discussion.

Term Paper on Representation of Men & Women in Advertisement Assignment

In general, this paper will deal with an analysis of the stylistic components of the representation of men and women in the language of modern advertisement. This will largely be achieved by relating theoretical points-of-view to the analysis of specific advertisement that appear in the media, in an attempt to ascertain the way that the media presents and represents views of male and female identity.

Advertising and gender: an overview

In historical terms, modern advertising had its genesis in the 15th and 16th century. In 1655, the word "advertising" was first introduced. Some of the earliest advertisements were posters or large printer sheets that were mass-produced for public display. The art of poster design was revolutionized by the French artist Jules Cheret during the latter half of the 19th century. An example of his work, designed in 1890, advertised the brand of face powder, La Diaphane.

Source: (http://www.allposters.com/-sp/La-Diaphane-Posters_i381852_.htm)

Advertising has become an important part of contemporary social and economic systems. It has also become a vital aspect of the communications system for both consumers and businesses. The essential contemporary difference is that while 'persuasion through communication' was mainly by word of mouth in the past, modern communications systems, from the printed media to the Internet and more recently mobile communications, have increased the expanse and the influence of advertising in unprecedented ways.

In the Sixteenth century, commercial print advertising began in Britain. However, the high cost of publishing and purchasing printed tracts prevented the printing press from actually serving as a public instrument. Pamphlets were the cheapest publications available. Advertising however became more pervasive with the publication of the first newspaper tabloids.

The rise of adverting as a popular medium begins with the industrial revolution. The beginning of large-scale industry created the environment for extensive advertising. In the Twentieth Century the growth of the consumer culture and technologies such as television and later the Internet, all contributed towards making advertising a consistent and ubiquitous medium in the modern world.

The success of advertising from a commercial perspective also provoked criticism from academics and other sources. This criticism was largely related to the way that advertising in fact distorted and/or even shaped or constructed reality and gender identity in order to sell products or draw attention to a certain point-of-view. For example, many critics stated that advertising promoted a materialistic approach to the world and an ethos suggesting that what one possesses is more important than who one is. "Of course ads promote consumerism and materialism" (Srinagar).

One of the central areas of concern is the way that modern advertising shapes gender issues and perceptions. As Sut Jhally puts it, gender in advertising is probably the "...most heavily exploited social resource by commercial communication strategies" (Jhally). This is due to the fact that, gender is one of our deepest and most important traits as human beings...What better place to draw upon than an area of social behaviour that can be communicated almost instantly and which reaches into the very core of our definiton of human beings?

Jhully 135).

In essence, it should be borne in mind that in any analysis of the media advertising is usually directed towards one central objective; this is to sell products and attract the buying public. This view can be extended to those forms of advertising intended to motivate actions and to persuade or enlighten the public. "The main purpose of advertising is to persuade people to take action: to buy something, to believe an idea or support a cause" (Controlling Advertising ? ASA Schools and Colleges resources No 1), 2.1. Media advertising and popular culture

It is also important to understand the relationship between the rise of popular culture and gender advertising. Popular culture refers to the division of culture into elitist and "high" forms of culture and popular or more common forms of cultural activity. Popular culture has during the past century been defined and understood in contrast to "high" or more elevated forms of culture. In essence, popular culture refers to cultural forms of interest and entertainment common to the masses or the majority of people.

The view of popular culture as being somehow inferior to 'higher' forms of culture can be traced back through history and to the sense of elitism and divisions in society between the rich and poor, the powerful and the less-powerful. The creation of the Internet and the development of the World Wide Web, with its many aspects and communications abilities, is possibly the opposite of the view that the elitists had of culture. In effect that the Internet has achieved the enhanced and the distribution of a world - wide popular culture that is shared within and between countries - which can be related to international popular culture through the process of globalization.

The important link between popular culture and advertising is that popular culture reflects the central ideologies, stereotypes and prejudices in the society. Due to the pervasive nature of popular culture, advertising draws on this culture for its material and even in some cases creates image and ideas that influence popular culture. As one commentary suggests, "We learn from advertising... how to dress, what make-up styles are fashionable, what bands are playing the coolest music, etc. Advertising thus leads society. Such influence can be construed as inventing pop culture." (My Theory of How Advertising Works).

Analysis: gender and stereotypes

Many experts in their analysis the contemporary media representation of male and female identity assert that there has been a certain prejudicial and distorted view of gender in advertising. This is mainly due to the promotion of male and female stereotypes in the media. "The socially constructed and organized unequality between men and women is one of the major injustices of our times" (Woman and Man in Advertising: Narrative Illustration of an 'Equality which Cannot Be Found').

These stereotypes refer to common cultural perceptions of male and female identity and to the reflection of cultural mores and norms about male and female qualities. These general traits can be summarized in their most common forms as follows.

Male' Gender Traits

Female' Gender Traits

Independent

Dependent

Rational

Irrational

Rough

Gentle

Nasty

Nice

Brave

Cowardly

Insensitive

Sensitive

Aggressive

Placid

Competitive

Co-operative

Physical

Emotional

Disobedient

Obedient

Active

Passive

Unhappy

Happy

Assertive

Unassertive

Confident

Unconfident

Uncaring

Caring

Introduction: Advertising & Gender)

In general, it has being found that modern advertising tends to portray men as more autonomous and independent than women, "....with men portrayed in many different occupations as compared to women being shown as housewives and mothers." (Introduction: Advertising & Gender) There is also a difference in the products that men and women are display or refer to in advertisements; women are usually seen in domestic advertisements and men in ads for vehicles and business products.

This also refers to the view that modern society is still largely patriarchal and that there is a consistent view that is suggested in advertising dating to the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries that women are inferior to men. This is subtly conveyed in the semeiotics and the stylistic undertones that will be explored in the following examples. It should be remembered that the advertiser "...structures the gender images in their commercials to match the expectations and fantasies of their intended audience" (Introduction: Advertising & Gender).

The stereotypes of women that are often encountered are those that refer to the women as a mother… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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