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This essay will be discussing how the issues of gender and sexuality are represented in advertising.

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Introduction

This essay will be discussing how the issues of gender and sexuality are represented in advertising. For many years, imagery of traditional male and female stereotypes have been used by companies in the advertisement of their products. Many adverts for products from the early to mid-twentieth century show women in a negative light (usually to be more shallow and less intelligent than men) or being subservient to men, for example a 1953 advert for what appears to be tomato sauce shows a picture of a woman with a surprised look on her face with the caption 'You mean a woman can open it?' and also a 1952 advert for Chase & Sanborn coffee features the image of a woman laid over her husband's knee being spanked with the caption: 'If your husband ever finds you're not "store testing" for fresher coffee ... if he discovers that you're still taking chances on getting flat, stale coffee...woe be unto you!' Although sexism in advertising to these extremes has gone out of fashion since second wave feminism in the later part of the twentieth century, and would probably receive complaints if they were introduced today, there have still been some adverts that are offensive towards women. ...read more.

Middle

The company later on ended the campaign and tried to make the product appeal to both sexes but weren't successful so introduced Coke Zero in 2005, a very similar product to Diet Coke, but marketed at men. They then reintroduced a modernized, slightly more subtle version of the campaign in the early part of 2007 with the man keeping his T-shirt on and working as a lift engineer and three female office workers getting into a lift and pressing the emergency button, even though they don't need to, so he can come to help them. Carte Noire (a coffee brand) currently have an advertisement complain aimed at women featuring attractive men coming out with stereotypical phrases that appeal to women such as "I'm going to clear out the spare room to make more space for your giant handbags". There are four different men each with an alter ego relating to one of the four different favours of coffee the brand produces. In recent years more representations of homosexual men and lesbians have been used in advertisements, although heterosexuals are still pronominally used. Companies which have used these adverts have included British Airways, IKEA, Cartier, French Connection, Coors Light and Dolce and Gabbana. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although gender stereotyping still exists as an advertising tool, it is has become less prevalent and less extreme even when compared to relatively recent times. Even then it is frequently used - for example - to portray men as incompetent in matters such as housework, or ignorant of aspects of family life: for example, the recent Boots advertising campaign portraying a man who is incapable of buying presents for his family members being rescued by women hiding in a darkened room. Again, the Maltesers advert mentioned above is a good example of this shift in advertising focus. Despite these changes in advertising fashions and increased sensitivity towards using gender roles, it is still a useful tool for those wishing to sell products. However, it is fair to say that within this, there has been a significant move away from patronising and sexist images since the later part of the 1960s. In the same way as it is difficult to imagine a cartoon character such as Olive Oyl being created in the twenty first century (being portrayed as constantly needing to be rescued and being physically pulled back and forth between two men) , a campaign perceived as being sexist is highly unlikely to reflect well on a product. ...read more.

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