• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

With reference to consumer advertising in magazines discuss the view that the mass media continue to reinforce gender stereotypes.

Extracts from this document...


With reference to consumer advertising in magazines discuss the view that the mass media continue to reinforce gender stereotypes. In order to approach the subject of advertising reinforcing gender stereotypes one has to examine and consider adverts as removed from 'real life' and not - as argued by Dyer- 'replacing distorted images with representations of people and situations as they really are. (Dyer, 1982, p14) In other words there is a tendency to look for a reality in adverts that may not exist. However for many commentators there is a definite subordination of women in advertising. An argument based on women being portrayed as sexual objects, domestic workers who are either heavily reliant on or are trying to capture a man. 'Indeed Goffman argues that there is a 'strong relationship between adverts and reality and if anything they reinforce our stereotypes'. (Goffman' 1979, p84) Nonetheless what is overlooked in this perspective is that women are not one homogeneous group, there is a variety of social backgrounds therefore diversity in how a particular advertisement is read. To help clarify these positions this essay will examine two approaches to the study of advertising, namely content analysis and semiology while at the same time encompassing the different codes and conventions followed by advertisers. However as a starting point it will be useful to look at the findings of some relatively recent research carried out by the Advertising Standards Authority and the Broadcasting Standards Commission, to examine the regulations covering advertising and gender/sexual stereotyping. ...read more.


By stating this Sumner is suggesting that as social beings we bring with us, in our interpretation of adverts certain values and belief systems- albeit learned- depending on social background resulting in an assumption that viewers are unable to see anything other than what is in front of them. It is true that advertisers would agree there exists within adverts a preferred reading, however that may not be how the viewer interprets it. This preferred reading also allows the viewer to disagree and possibly take offence at the message being promoted intentionally or otherwise. Another criticism aimed at this method, is that it assumes women are part of a homogeneous group and that they share a common idea of how women in particular should be represented in advertising. This criticism has also been levelled at feminist research and brings to the fore debates on positive imagery. However when considering feminist interpretations of gender stereotyping it is worth bearing in mind that although this movement wish to see a fairer more positive representation of women in advertising the question of whose ideology of fairness would be represented. Nonetheless being able to establish gender stereotyping within advertising is, as many commentators would argue going to take more than counting the times an image is represented. Indeed Leiss suggests that within content analysis of advertising 'the real weakness may lie in the use of denotative-what you see- measurement as opposed to connotation-what you infer-and its many levels of meaning', as used in many of today's picture adverts. ...read more.


Indeed akin to a hypodermic model whereby people are injected-metaphorically speaking- with information that does not get processed and comes out exactly as it went in. Gender stereotyping in advertising is therefore very subjective in that whatever way we measure and analyse the subject it must be stressed that we have the ability to disagree with any message that is conveyed by advertisers. Through the use of semiotics we can build up a picture of what is behind the images we are confronted with. By the same degree content analysis can give one the idea that the result is conclusive. However no method is perfect and in the same way it can be useful it can also be misleading as has been shown above. When one is also faced with the argument of ideology within advertising it is akin with all aspects of social life. It is true to say we follow rules and regulation in our every day social lives that may constrain some of our actions, in the same way that advertisers are constrained by bodies such as the BSC. However in the same way we are constrained, we are also protected by the same ideology, therefore we have some powers available to disagree with, contest and challenge messages or actions deemed unfair or stereotypical. As a result it is difficult to establish whether adverts reinforce gender stereotypes or if indeed we do that perfectly well for ourselves. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Advertisements section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Advertisements essays

  1. A study of the representation of women in magazine beauty advertisements, with close reference ...

    Advertising is the most potent message in our culture. It is toxic for women and young girls' self esteem, as it forms the basis of what we believe women should look like. Girls are desirable for advertisers, as they develop brand loyalty that can last a lifetime. The representations created within the adverts are completely unreal, in terms of conforming to social and male expectations.

  2. Charity Adverts Evaluation

    I personally did like the outcome of the adverts, since I am I did experience some difficult decisions about color schemes, the way the pictures should be positioned and so forth.

  1. The History of AdvertisingTypes and Functions of AdvertisingAdvertising in mass media.Advertising agencyDomestic advertising

    If the need is not satisfied, the person feels like destitute and unfortunate. Unsatisfied person will do one of the following things: either will be engaged in search of the object, capable to satisfy his or her need, or will try to muffle it.

  2. Gender stereotypes in two adverts and how the US Government publicises its War on ...

    Setting is very quiet, calm, and softly glowing. In the following scene, the TV screen is filled with lively children running around and mom and dad chasing after them. Parents are busy keeping their eyes on children. The bathtub is filled with toys and the house is a mess.

  1. Do we control the media or does the media control us?

    as they now know their target audiences inside and out, because they created them. However a counter argument to this, is the uses and gratification theory. This states that the reciever uses the media to their own advantage, choosing whether to use the media for: diversion, surveillance, personal identity or

  2. "All Advertising Should Be Banned" - Discuss

    If the children of today grow up with these stereotypes deemed acceptable then what will the generation of tomorrow be like? Land Rover claims that no offence was meant by the image of the Himba woman. So does that mean it was tolerable - no.

  1. Introduction to Semiotics and Communication - An Analysis of an Advertisement

    The general message sent out to the public by the ad is self-empowerment and independent thinking. The capitalization, larger font, and the differing direction of the word 'NEVER,' in relation to the rest of the phrase, helps to emphasizes a strong drive and resistance to a particular object or action.

  2. This essay concerns a semiotic analysis of advertisements whose similarity is based on the ...

    This code attributes basic meaning to the advert, whose conventional combination of iconic image and linguistic representation (of words and pictures) allows the recipient to receive a message, which is justified and reiterated by the relationships of resemblance at play.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work