Culture and Gender Stereotyping in Advertisements
You made some really good points not only about the existence of stereotypes in advertising, but also on how often they are taken for granted or ignored. For example, the pictures you posted that showed women being objectified were far from uncommon. They were the type of things that we see on an everyday basis and we don’t really react to much anymore because it has become so common. I think the short film was a really good way to prove your point because when the roles are reversed such as they were in that video, it kind of snaps us out of the state of mind that stereotypical advertisements have given us, and reminds us just how often we as a society glance over that type of thing happening to women.
Another example of gender stereotyping in advertisements Axe body wash has probably been a leader in using masculinity to appeal to males. In this advertisement a man is not present but displays a shower head pouring women from it rather than water. This could be depicted as “If you use this, women will rain down on you.”
However, research by Kolbe and Muehling (1995) indicates that the evaluation of gender appropriateness can be altered through non-stereotypical advertisements. They found that, boys who viewed ads with a female actor were more likely to indicate that the toy was appropriate for both genders than boys who saw male actor only ads. The boys who saw the male actor ads said that the advertised toy would be preferred by boys only. Girls who say the female actor ads also indicated that the toy was less appropriate for boys only.Generally, I feel that the campaign to stop gender stereotyping in advertising peaked about 20 years ago. This makes me ponder both the push and pull factors. In other words, do the advertisers lead, or are they led-by public opinion and social conditions? I suspect it is a two-way street.This finding is significant because it indicates that males may not respond negatively to female models in advertisements. Nontraditional presentations appear to have the capability of altering the gender-appropriateness classifications of an advertised product. Kolbe and Muehling argue that this finding is important from a social influence perspective, because boys who saw counter-stereotyped ads were more likely to indicate that the toy was for both genders than were stereotyped ad treatment males. Overall, their study suggests that some changes in gender appropriateness are possible, but are limited by the already strongly held beliefs by children about gender and the lack of counter stereotypical advertisements presented on television.