Gender and Its Role in Advertisement Essay

Gender and Its Role in Advertisement Essay

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Advertising media is an everyday societal phenomenon. Advertising companies use various means to get people to buy their product or service. Advertisers craft a “semiotic world” with the aim of convincing their target market of the “rightness” of purchasing their product or service (Harris/Cambridge State University, Northridge). Advertising media also reflect the gender roles, namely masculinity and femininity, which inundate our environment on a daily basis. This essay will, through semiotic analysis, compare and contrast two different advertisements, to illustrate how gender roles are constructed within these representations.
The first advertisement is of two boys running towards a setting sun on a beach. The caption of the advertisement reads, “When was the last time you found sand in their pockets?” This advertisement, through the use of semiotic tools, reflects the gender role of masculinity. The setting of the advert is that of the outdoors, which represents independence, being adventurous and extroverted, all elements which are associated with masculinity. The actor of this advertisement is the two boys, who are running towards the goal, which, is the beach and setting sun, which represents freedom and independence. The fact that the boys are shown to be running, indicates that they are physically active and adventurous, which are both elements associated with masculinity. The ideal/real axis also provides elements of masculinity. The ideal in the advertisement is the freedom and independence that is associated with masculinity and the real is the beach and open spaces towards which the boys are running. There is a vector (“natural lines formed from the composition of the picture”) (Roux, Stellenbosch University) which...


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...e of femininity as being associated with female individuals who are associated with the colour pink, enjoy the act of shopping, are fashion conscious, seen as vulnerable and dependent on a man for protection and who are beautiful. This “correct” image of femininity, being portrayed in the advertisement, will manipulate the female market into buying the product which is being advertised, as this image of femininity is the one which all females aspire to due to societal pressures.

Gender roles are constructed in the media through the use of semiotic tools. Through the reflection of masculinity and femininity in the two advertisements, advertisers manipulate consumers into buying their product or service, as society places so much emphasis on what is correct and expected of different sexes that the members of these sexes will aspire to the image projected in society.

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