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To what extent to today's television advertisements conform to or challenge traditional gender roles?

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Introduction

To what extent to today's television advertisements conform to or challenge traditional gender roles? The way in which men and women are portrayed (in this case through advertising) is called gender representation. When examining the different ways in which men and women are represented, the concept of gender roles comes into view. The traditional role of a woman is 'housewife' or 'mother' and the role of a man is the 'bread winner' or 'working male'. When referring to these traditional gender roles, stereotyping is another aspect that often appears. Stereotyping is very powerful and advertisers often use it in their commercials. This is because it is a very strong and effective tool. This is because it leads to quick thinking and can often help a product to stick in your mind. These stereotypes can be so discreet that we often do not unconsciously realise they are there. Advertisers are very clever in hiding stereotypes and also in making them acceptably obvious. Many ads use clear stereotypes but we are so clouded by the product that again we are oblivious to them. ...read more.

Middle

The man as the 'earner' and the woman merely as his 'errands girl'. The male celebrity goes on to order his assistant to buy presents for all his celebrity friends. The woman is 'the shopper' while the man provides the money for the presents. The ad ends with the celebrity buying himself a bright, fast, expensive sports car, which the woman had thought, was brought for her. Silly mistake. This entire ad contains traditional gender roles but it has to be looked at a little deeper to realise. The second ad is for a Vauxhall Corsa. In this advert a group of cars are playing hide and seek. One of the cars is counting, while the others hide. The counter is a man as is the voice over. There is also a young boy featured in the ad. But no women feature anywhere. The ads target audience is obviously men. Researchers have discovered that adverts aimed at boys or men are often fast paced, contain bright colours and have quick shot changes whereas ads aimed at girls or woman tend to be slow paced, with pastel/neutral colours and often have smooth, flowing shot changes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Advertisements are there to sell a particular product but also they act as a break between or during programmes. As viewers we need this period to be a break from stereotypes also. Children often imitate people they see as a role model, a person who is a big part of their life. As strange as it sounds television can be just as big a part of a child's life as their family is. This is not necessarily a bad thing as many of the programmes kids watch on TV are educational and have the ability to have a child's full attention. When I programme ends or has a break half way through, the child is still completely focused on what is on the TV screen so it is so important for adverts to be a learning experience too not crammed full of gender stereotypes. If gender equality is going to be achieved we need to develop this concept from a young age, while the mind of a child is still learning. Advertisers have a duty to do this for two reasons. Firstly because it is a positive way to take advantage of the power they behold and secondly because its something that should have been done along time ago. ...read more.

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