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Gender Stereotyping

In: Business and Management

Submitted By slang11
Words 1642
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1. Sean Lang
2. MKT 115 –Sec 770
3. April 27, 2014
4. Gender Stereotyping in Advertisements
5. 1550
6. I am highly motivated, and I am committed to excellence.

Advertising Gender Stereotypes

Gender Stereotyping in advertisements happen all around us. Whether it is a commercial, billboard or a magazine, advertisements are everywhere. Gender stereotypes happen at an early age that includes children. Children’s advertisements implant the very gender roles that are portrayed in today’s society. Creating specific gender products is also creating large profits for companies. When first thinking of gender stereotyping in advertisements one might think of the negative aspect first and not realize that there are positive ways to advertise to specific genders for purchasing products. By using these gender specific advertisements, companies can sell products more efficiently. Advertising to children at an early age can play a significant role in shaping the expected role for him/her in today’s society.
There are many examples that can clearly outline gender stereotyping. In many instances someone might not catch it because it is so normal in today’s culture. Monica Brasted is a psychologist and observed her child when the two of them went to McDonalds one day. Monica’s little girl was upset because she didn’t get the toy she wanted. “When I asked her what was wrong she asked why the woman had given her a care bear when she wanted a transformer” (Brasted). This then brought up the question, why is a transformer toy considered a boy toy? The conclusion was gender stereotypes. According to Brasted, there is a deeper meaning behind this advertising technique and that plays a part in “gender roles.”

Children are frequently exposed to many commercials when watching their favorite TV shows. “Girls are presented in traditional roles such as playing house and cooking. Boys on the other hand are shown seeking power, speed and physical action” (Brasted). Brasted also makes the connection that these types of imagery shows boys are more independent than girls are. It’s strange to see advertisers try to limit girls to being around the house playing with mini accessories such as play kitchens and houses, baby dolls and much more. Boys are able to play outside with their toys and move around. “The boys in the advertisements are allowed more freedom to roam the world.” This freedom can translate into the working world and could create more aspirations to be more determined and successful with no limits.
Another example is depicted in a print advertisement. There is a boy and a girl with a play castle. “The boy is shown standing inside the castle looking out while the girl is depicted as cowering outside the gate of the castle as if in fear of something unseen” (Brasted). Again the boy is shown to have more power and control over the situation subjecting the girl to be lost and powerless. The advertisement also brings up the point of what colors represent boys and girls. “Apparently, the gray castle is intended for boys and a pink one is available for girls” (Brasted). Gender stereotyping in advertising is done not only for portraying gender roles at an early age but also to create massive profits for the companies. According to Lori Day, advertisements create huge differences in what boys and girls should desire, along with how to present themselves. This “difference” makes room for companies to exploit new ways of doubling profits. “The strategy is simple: convince kids of both genders that they are very different from each other and that they need completely different products with different colors and different labels, and they will naturally only want what they've been told is "for" them and what has been spoon fed to them since birth” (Day). It makes complete sense when looking at it through a company’s perspective. If a company comes out with a toy that has the potential to be used by different genders, simply change the color from black to pink can enormously increase sales of that one particular product. Day also argues that it is up to the parent to help control this advertising that is forced on children every day.

If you look at the picture above, it is evident that companies make double the money if a couple has two different gendered children. Normally if two children grow up at different times the parents can save an outfit and use it again. If companies make gender specific clothing, the parents are forced to buy another one to keep with the gender stereotype, thus creating more profits for companies.
Parents are being forced to cope with the daily media and their children with the hopes of finding a balance. “Today's parents have to pull off parenting by exercising some degree of control over how much pop culture gets to their kids while also giving them the increased freedoms they need as they get older to develop media literacy and critical thinking skills” (Day). The media advertisements are not going away and in order to be an effective parent one simply just needs to be aware of the situation at hand. After unveiling different cases of stereotyping, the question still exists, does sex really sell? The answer to that question is yes.

When people generally think of the phrase “sex sells” they immediately think of women being portrayed as sex objects wearing skimpy outfits. Yes, there is some truth to that in many advertising techniques, but there are also different perspectives to look at it. “Consider the fact that women are also portrayed through ads as nurturing, caring, softer, maternal figures” (Richardson). Women that are portrayed in media advertisements don’t always have a negative stereotype attached to them. “If an advertiser wants to show the benefits of a new laundry detergent, choosing a female figure, because of the family and maternal stereotypes that come attached, will more than likely be a successful use of talent” (Richardson). Male advertising goes the same way. “How about commercials for “man food” like beer and bratwursts? The partying, obnoxious male figure often makes an appearance in these types of ads” (Richardson). This often doesn’t offend men because they don’t think too deeply about the advertisement. “Companies also don't have to worry about offending men through commercials because men do not tie themselves to ads emotionally” (Lemmons). Because men don’t really care about the emotional side of the ad, the situation lets companies stretch the boundaries of male stereotypes. Like women, male advertising also has a positive portrayal. “Men are often portrayed as strong and courageous leaders. Leaders that serve as family men; heads of households; nurturing, caring father figures and husbands; or as community and civic leaders that champion positive causes” (Richardson).
This is a clear representation of how sex sells by using a specific gender to identify the norms of society’s lifestyles. “It is true that there are certain roles where feminine and masculine traits do a better job conveying a particular message” (Richardson). This message is not always a negative one. Personally if I was selling a product that generally was used by a specific gender I would advertise to that stereotype. For example, the aftershave Aqua Velva aftershave commercial unveils a dad and his son playing catch and afterwards goes into the scene where the dad shows his son the product he uses. It wouldn’t make sense to have a woman portraying that role because she has no use for the product. Some products are gender specific and need specific gender advertising.

All in all, gender stereotyping can be seen in all aspects of society. From children to adults, gender stereotyping is shown. A few argue that advertisements show people how society is supposed to look like. “Thus television, responsible for providing the central social discourse, is supposed to be “a mirror of the society” (Wolska). This “mirror” has an effect on society and companies use this advertising strategy to maximize profits, regardless if the advertisement shows negative or positive gender stereotypes. Companies want people to follow the depicted societal image. “Advertising, like Weight Watchers’ latest campaigns, clearly place genders in particular stereotyped roles, thus causing society to follow them” (Platt). In order to make your own decisions a person has to be aware of their surroundings. Gender stereotyping in advertisements isn’t going away so its best that one acknowledges the situation and make informed choices.
I have read the "Academic Dishonesty" guidelines. I understand them and have followed them with this assignment

Works Cited Brasted, Monica. "Care Bears vs. Transformers: Gender Stereotypes in Advertisements." The Socjournal. N.p., 17 Feb. 2010. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <http://www.sociology.org/classroom-controversy/care-bears-vs-transformers-gender-stereotypes-in-advertisements>
Day, Lori. "Media's Shameless Role in Peddling Gender Stereotypes to Children." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 26 Aug. 2013. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-day/the-medias-shameless-role_b_3806548.html>
Richardson, James. "Male Female Gender Stereotypes in Advertising." By James Richardson. N.p., 21 Aug. 2008. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. http://www.insidebusiness360.com/index.php/male-female-gender-stereotypes-in-advertising-23477/
Lemmons, Kristen. "Gender Stereotyping in Ads." BestThinking / Trending Topics / Business & Finance / Sales & Marketing / Advertising /. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. http://www.bestthinking.com/trendingtopics/business_and_finance/sales_and_marketing/advertising/gender-stereotyping-in-ads
Wolska, Malgorzata. "Gender Stereotypes in Mass Media. Case Study: Analysis of the Gender Stereotyping Phenomenon in TV Commercials." Krytyka.org. N.p., 9 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://krytyka.org/gender-stereotypes-in-mass-media-case-study-analysis-of-the-gender-stereotyping-phenomenon-in-tv-commercials/>.
Platt, Sarah. "Advertising Has Plenty of Gender Stereotypes." The Independent Florida. Alligator, 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://www.alligator.org/opinion/columns/article_a5775b26-9042-11e2-b4fa-0019bb2963f4.html>.

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