Gender Roles, Commodification and Advertisements

1623 Words7 Pages
Advertising has a great deal to say about gender identity. Ads use visual images of men

and women to grab our attention and persuade. They are really projecting gender display the ways in which we think men and women behave not the ways they actually do behave (Goffman, Erving.Gender Advertisements)

Advertisements are apparently vested with only one basic interest: to sell and to sell more. What they sell is not the commodity per se; rather they sell hope, anxiety and imagination. While goods are manufactured in factories, the strategies to market them are cooked up in the ad rooms. An advertiser will exploit every possibility that grabs more attention from the consuming public. What Charles Haskell Revson, a pioneer in American cosmetic industry and founder of Revlon cosmetics firm, remarked about the marketing of his products can be taken as the motto of the entire advertising industry. He famously stated: “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope”.

It is on this premise that the key ideas mentioned in the title are to be explored and what is attempted here is a re-examination of the stereotyped notions of gender roles and commodification which are prevalent in the academic discourses. It is widely debated that advertisements are ab/using and objectifying female body by the portrayals of highly sexualized images of it. One often sees a half naked girl appearing on television screen or magazine pages for promoting a commodity which doesn’t necessarily require the presence of a female body for endorsement. While most of the conventional debates on the objectification of women in advertisements centered on the sexualized images of women, the recent studies address non-sexual representations of female...

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...ter; no matter what/who. For the adman, a viewer is a mere consumer who can be easily fooled and allured to false hopes and convictions. And the advertiser who designed the portrait of the girl which I mentioned earlier could grab more attention to his work/product by provoking the society to such a heated debate on it.

Let me conclude the paper on a personal note: In one way I too am helping that particular advertisement to be more popular. Those among the readers who haven’t seen or heard that advertisement heard it from my paper. And that is what we call advertisement.

Works Cited

Hayward, Susan. Key concepts in Cinema studies. Chennai: Rutledge, 2004. Print.

Revson, Charles, Wikipedia. Web. 13 Dec.2013

Zizek,Slavoj. The Metastases of Enjoyment. New York: Verso, 1994. Print.

Zizek,Slavoj. The Parallax View. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2006. Print.
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