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The Portrayal of Women in the Media

analytical Essay
3423 words
3423 words
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The Portrayal of Women in the Media

Redbook magazine are devoted to selling products ranging from shoes to shampoo. The entire magazine only has only 210 pages. Approximately 6-8 min of every half hour television show is produced by ad agencies. Americans are bombarded with advertisements. We see them everyday in many different forms and through different mediums. Advertisers study America’s population through a systematic breakdown and analysis of our likes and dislikes in relation to our differences. These differences include gender, sexual orientation, economic status, location, race, ethnicity, and more. Advertisers have substantial knowledge of what appeals to each of these demographics and how these demographics will respond to different stimuli (i.e. visual audio, ect.) as well as where the advertising will be most effective. In other words, advertisers find it more beneficial to target specific audiences (Furnham; Mak, 1999).

One of the central audiences that advertisers focus their attention on is women. Being such a large part of society, American women are targeted along with every other group. Ads placed where women are most likely to see them are custom tailored for women. Studies give ad agencies an accurate idea of what it is that they need to show women in order to get them to buy their product and their brand. If these ads can improve a woman’s mood her increased euphoria will subliminally be linked with the stimulus (the ad). This will, in turn, have a positive effect on their attitudes toward the product and brand (Simpson; Horton, 1996). There are several strategies that are popular in both television and magazines, many of which involve images of men. Advertisers use images of men by themselves or in a variety of positions and settings to appeal to women. By far, the most common image of men in advertising is of that of the “young, white, able-bodied, and staunchly heterosexual” man (Jackson, 1994). The vast amount companies spend to advertise is proof in itself; these ads sell products. It should be noted that all television commercials analyzed in this paper come from the Lifetime network between 1pm and 3pm. The slogan of this network is “Lifetime: Television for Women”.

Basic Gender Differences

Studies involving both normal and brain damaged individuals have shown associations between gender and neuralgic activity...

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...Dennis A.; Cornish, Ian M. “Conservatism and Gender in the Perception of Sex-Roles in Television Advertisements”. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1993, Vol. 77, p642.

Melvin, Thomas E.; Treiber, Linda A. “Race, Gender, and Status: A Content Analysis of Print Advertisements in Four Popular Magazines”. Sociological Spectrum. Jul-Sep 2000, Vol. 20, Issue 3, p357.

Meyers-Levy, Joan. “Gender Differences in Cortical Organization: Social and Biochemical Antecedents and Advertising Consequences”. Ed. Eddie M. Clark et al. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1994.

Prakash, Ved. “Sex Roles and Advertising Preferences”. Journal of Advertising Research. May/Jun 1992, Vol. 32, Issue 3, p43.

Simpson, Penny M.; Horton, Steve. “Male Nudity in Advertisements: A modified Replication and Extension of Gender and Product Effects”. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Summer 1996, Vol. 24, Issue 3, p257.

Stern, Barbara B.; Holbrook, Morris B. “Gender and Genre in the Interpretation of Advertising Text”. Gender Issues and Consumer Behavior. Ed. Janeen Arnold Costa. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1994.

Sutherland, Max. Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer. St. Leonards: Allen and Unwin, 1993.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that advertisers study america's population through a systematic breakdown and analysis of our likes and dislikes in relation to our differences.
  • Explains that advertisers focus their attention on american women. ads placed where women are most likely to see them are custom-tailored for them.
  • Explains that studies involving normal and brain damaged individuals have shown associations between gender and neuralgic activity. since each hemisphere has properties associated with it, this information is relevant to the advertising industry.
  • Explains that the reader actively contributes to the exchange of information. if different readers interpret the text differently, needs to create a text that will be interpreted the correct way.
  • Explains that women depend on the left hemisphere, which responds better to audio stimuli. television and magazines reach more of the female population than radio.
  • Explains that men view women as lower on the socioeconomic scale, while women see the two genders as equal. the ad industry has provided funding for research on these areas.
  • Explains that advertisers spend money researching and using male models in their ads are deducible from common sense. women's moods increase as models of the opposite sex are shown to them but decline with the suggestion of full nudity.
  • Analyzes how coca-cola ran an ad in which all of the women in an office rushed to the window to watch the construction worker take his shirt off and drink diet coke. michael jordan walks buy in tight fitting shirt and suit.
  • Explains that in magazines male models are used for everything from coffee to clothes. ad 1 was taken for redbook and ad 2 from marie claire.
  • Explains that portrayal of stereotypes is often a good technique because people need to be able to relate to it and react positively to situations.
  • Analyzes how the idea that men represent the outer working world can be useful to ad agencies.
  • Analyzes how women's feelings on stereotypes are exploited in the image of the relationship.
  • Analyzes how role reversal or female dominance is shown in magazines using several methods. one is to show a picture in which the man's attention is totally focused on the female while she is focused elsewhere.
  • Analyzes how simple positioning of the bodies can imply a woman's power or authority in an advertisement. teen people uses positioning and dress to show role reversal.
  • Analyzes how the image of the happily involved man has become popular in advertising.
  • Analyzes how the image of the ideal relationship is popular in visual advertising. in an ad for allergy medicine, the woman is shown wheezing and coughing, while her husband comforts her.
  • Analyzes how ralph lauren's ads portray the ideal relationship image that appeals to women.
  • Explains that in appealing to women's left hemispheric tendency to respond positively to audio messages as well as messages involving men, many television ads use male voice-overs.
  • Analyzes how the ratio of male to female voice-overs was 28:14 or 2:1 in commercials on lifetime.
  • Explains the theory behind advertising strategy. ads are custom tailored to be effective on specific audiences. they study how the brain remembers, processes, and responds to stimuli.
  • Opines that popular culture thrives because it appeals to the population, but at the same time, it's influenced by pop culture. subliminal suggestion makes selling products to america feasible.
  • Explains that firat, fuat a., "gender and consumption: trancending the feminine?", in gender issues and consumer behavior. thousand oaks: sage, 1994.
  • Analyzes furnham, adrian, mak, twiggy, and mak. sex role stereotyping in television commercials: a review and comparison of fourteen studies done on five continents over 25
  • Opines that jackson, peter, black male: advertising and the cultural politics of masculinity. gender, -place-and-culture, march 1994, vol.
  • Explains kaufman, gayle, and the portrayal of men’s family roles in television commercials.
  • Analyzes melville, dennis a., and cornish, ian m. “conservatism and gender in the perception of sex-roles in television advertisements”.
  • Explains melvin, thomas e., and treiber, linda a. race, gender and status: a content analysis of print advertisements in four popular magazines.
  • Cites meyers-levy, joan, and eddie m. clark. gender differences in cortical organization and advertising consequences.
  • Explains prakash, ved. "sex roles and advertising preferences". journal of advertising research.
  • Explains simpson, penny m., and horton, steve, "male nudity in advertisements: a modified replication and extension of gender and product effects".
  • Explains stern, barbara b., holbrook, morris b, and costa, janeen arnold. gender issues and consumer behavior.
  • Explains sutherland, max, advertising and the mind of the consumer, st. leonards: allen and unwin.
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