Essay about Visual images Reinforce Traditional Gender and Sexuality Stereotypes

Essay about Visual images Reinforce Traditional Gender and Sexuality Stereotypes

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Visual images reinforce traditional gender and sexuality stereotypes through the manifestation of the masculine and feminine miens. An examination of print media advertisements highlights the social and cultural ideologies associated with traditional gender roles that are expected and imposed on by society.

“Advertisements are deeply woven into the fabric of Western Culture, drawing on and reinforcing commonly held perceptions and beliefs” of gender and sexuality stereotypes. They have a strong role in shaping society by reflecting, reinforcing and perpetuating traditional societal values and attitudes towards gender roles and identities. The visual images displayed in advertisements are “often absorbed into peoples learned expectation of individuals, comprising various groups, and therefore have the ability to sway individuals perceptions of and interactions with others” . These stereotypical representations of men and women depicted in advertisements invoke gender identities and reinforce societal values and attitudes towards gender roles. Renowned Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman stated that the stereotypical portrayal of gender “insinuates its way into our collective cultural consciousness, even our individual psyches, normalising certain traits associated with masculinity and femininity, men and women, and impacting upon how we frame and define gender and sexual difference in contemporary consumer culture” . This opinion reinforces the notion that the visual images utilised in advertisements reinforce traditional gender and sexuality stereotypes through the depiction of characteristics traditionally associated with masculinity and femininity.

The inherent gender dichotomies apparent in society are reinforced through t...


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...Channels of Desire: Mass Images in American Consciousness, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 118 – 122.

Kang, M. (1997) The Portrayal of Women’s Images in Magazine Advertisements: Goffmanns’ Gender Analysis Revisited, Sex Roles, 37: 979 – 997.

Linder, K. (2004) Images of Women in General Interest and Fashion Magazine Advertisements from 1955 to 2002, Sex Roles, 51 (8) 409 – 421.

Sturken, M., & Cartwright, L. (2001) Spectatorship, Power and Knowledge, Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture, 124 – 128.
McRobbie, A. (2004) Post-feminism and Popular Culture, Feminist Media Studies, 4:3, 255 – 264.
Moriarty, S. (2002) The Symbiotics of Semiotics and Visual Communication, Journal of Visual Literacy, 22:1.
McCann, E. (2009) Burberry Advertisement, June, Vogue, 14.
McCann, E. (2010) Godiva Chocolate Advertisement, May, Vogue, 18 – 19.


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