Essay on Automotive Advertising and Masculinity

Essay on Automotive Advertising and Masculinity

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Automotive Advertising: Fueling Masculinity since Forever

There has always been the cliché of gender roles in toddlers that girls play with dolls and boys play with tools and cars. Is that what is expected of children of each sex, or do adults not know any better? When my male cousin was born when I was sixteen, the baby was showered with gifts of plastic screwdrivers, wrenches, saws, Bob the Builder accessories, and of course--toy cars. Why do we have this preoccupation that little boys--who in turn become men—have the desire for model cars? Since Karl Benz designed a practical car with an internal combustion engine in 1885, cars have been deemed the toy for boys. In Benz’s time, automobiles were considered a gentleman’s luxury; they were to be driven only by men who could afford them. Women, considered to be incapable of driving in the early 1900s, were supposed to be passengers along for a ride. When advertising came around once cheap automobiles could be produced in the 1920s, it was no surprise that nearly every single advertisement was geared towards men. In Michele Ramsey’s article on automobile advertising and gender, the advertising that was geared towards women was used to support that buying an automobile would make one’s social status climb due to attractiveness. Also, no women ads featured them in the economic world, only in caring for others and that buying a car helped one “be a good mother”. The early ads focused on men were the subtle things such as the boasting of the sheer power a car had available, or the image of a man catching the eye of a woman in his new car. Into the 1950s, the standard advertising for the newly evolved sports car usually featured a young man in a Corvette for example, with women looki...

... middle of paper ...

... every promotion. Automotive ads will forever be associated with such subject matters because they sell cars, simply said. If it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

Works Cited

"Actron Diagnostic Tool." Performance Chevy Magazine Dec. 2005.

"Eagle One Polish." Hemming’S Muscle Machines Mar. 2006.

"Hot Rod Power Tour Mustang." Hot Rod Magazine May 2006.

"Image 10 Car Finish." Hot Rod Magazine July 2006.

"Model on Nissan." Import Tuner Magazine.

Ramsey, Michele. "Selling Social Status: Woman and Automobile Advertisements From 1910-1920." Women and Language Spring 2005. Proquest. Richter Library, Miami.

Rich, Babarine, trans. The American Automobile. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1988.
Wachs, Martin. "The Automobile and Gender: an Historical Perspective." University of Califonia Journal. Proquest. Richter Library, Miami.

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