Gender Stereotypes On Advertising Media

Essay add: 28-10-2015, 14:46   /   Views: 1 470

Commercial radio channels, newspapers, magazines, and televisions are today present in countries all over the world and advertisements and commercials are a natural part of people's lives. Different Medias are used to reach out to potential existing costumers and consumers by both local and national companies. Most people all over the world are today subjected to a great amount of television advertisements and that because of the huge spread of commercial televisions (Furnham and Mak, 1999). This combined with the fact that television advertisements control society's belief and behavior that makes the study of how advertisements are designed interesting. In addition to that because gender is one of the largest segmentation variables, there exists an enormous interest among marketing researchers in gender related research. Milner and Higgs (2004) argue that how men and women are portrayed in advertisements play a role in indicating the society's attitudes towards gender. Gunter (1995) argues that gender stereotyping in television affect young people who learn gender appropriate attitudes and behavior. Due to the present situation where companies and organizations use television commercials to reach men, women, and children, there is a significant interest in how gender stereotypes are portrayed in television advertisements. Silverstein (1974) express a concern how society's observation of appropriate gender roles is influenced by portrayed gender roles in television and advertisements. Hawkins and Coney (1976), on the other hand, suggest that different cultural perceptions of what is seen as a proper role for a woman can result in national differences in how women are portrayed in advertisements. One way or the other, men and women in television advertisements are portrayed following traditional gender stereotypes (Furnham and Mak, 1999). Irrespective of if the television advertisements that influence how society view suitable roles for men and women, or if television advertisements is just a reflection of how gender roles are manifested in society (Courtney and Whipple, 1983), further study of when, where and how gender stereotyping occur in television advertisements is of interest.

Problem Statement

That gender is one of the main segmentation variables for advertisers which is one of the factors that makes it interesting to advance study how gender stereotyping is manifested in television advertisement. Although large amounts of research have been done since the 1970s but there is still some things that are unknown.

This study will shows the effect of gender stereotypes on advertisement. The study continues with a literature review.

Research Question and Hypothesis

The following research questions are used to guide the research process:

Which gender nowadays has more opportunities for advertisements?

How gender role is being challenged and changed?

(Hypothesis) How adds are full of stereotypes related to gender?


The terms that are recurrent in this study includes stereotypes, gender, and commercials.


A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing: "sexual and racial stereotypes".

A stereotype is a fixed, over universal belief about a particular group or class of people." (Cardwell, 1996).


The state of being male or female.

Gender is a variety of physical, mental, and behavioral characteristics distinguishing between masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, the term may refer to sex (i.e. the state of being male or female).


Concerned with or engaged in commerce, a television or radio advertisement.

Relating to commerce. In the investment field, the term "commercial" is generally used to refer

to a trading engaged in business activities that are hedged by positions in the futures or options


Literature ReviewGender Stereotypes in commercials

In the world of advertising men and women have consistently been portrayed in stereotypical ways. Women have been the principal focus on most ads, because studies have shown that she owns the power over the wallet in a household. Advertising has started a masculinity campaign where they are separating the genders all together. (Gender stereotyping in ads, Kristen N Lemmnos)

The mass media has always been the profitable way for business to reach out to the people and in reality marketers have well utilized this medium of advertising. However, they have also been usually criticized for portraying strong gender stereotypes, especially negative stereotypes of women. Unfortunately, such criticism had little effect and today gender stereotypes in advertising still exist. Women today generally have more opportunities for advertisements. Not unexpectedly, this change had unusual effects on male audience.

Mass media play a major role in a modem world, they consist of press, television, radio, books, magazine, newspaper and internet. Gender stereotypes in advertising nowadays have a great control and reaches large audiences. Mass media also affects people life by shaping attitudes and belief. In case of gender roles, the societies have documented the domination of males by institutionalizing of male control over women. Nowadays the difference between males and females roles are similar, however mass media still perpetuates traditional gender stereotypes.

Stereotyping commercials

Women are often presented in commercials, because they are seen as responsible for making every day purchases. Men generally advertise cars, cigarettes, business products or investments, whereas women are shown rather in commercials with cosmetics, they are also most likely portrayed in the home environment, unlike men, who are shown outdoors. Another important feature is the face-ism phenomenon in the commercials, which consist in showing the complete figure in vase of women and close-ups shuts in case of men (Matthews, J.L, 2007). More and more commercials are directed to children. They indicate the proper place in the society for girls and boys. Girls are shown as babysitters nursing dolls or cleaning house with a pink cleaning kit, whereas boys do sports or play computer.

If men and women appear in the commercials together, they mostly presented as a couple or marriage. A sexual suggestion is also often used in this case, in this condition of competition; women appear to be weaker than men.

Breaking the Stereotypes

In spite of the important presence of the stereotypes in commercials, advertising specialists more and more often use non-schematic ideas of the promotion of products and services.

Media stereotypes

Media stereotypes are expected, especially in the advertising, entertainment and news industries, which need as wide an audience as possible to quickly understand information. Stereotypes act like codes that give an audience a quick, common understanding of a person or group of people usually relating to their class civilization or race, gender, social orientation, social role or occupation.

Gender stereotypes in commercials, television and film

Gender stereotypes are not as common in television with adults, yet children are still confused to the roles of their specific gender. One must understand the term gender, to grasp the contrast of stereotyping among boys and girls.

Most of society believes that women are physically weaker sex; while men are the emotional weaker sex because of the way the sexes are tide to gender specifications.

Gender roles in commercials

The use of gender roles in commercials and in the media are imbedded subconsciously in the minds of the mass public. Gender stereotypes are general beliefs about sex linked qualities, where it is important to characterize the gender roles and stereotypes that have become imbedded in our society. The gender roles of women have been labeled as being a mother, care giver, understanding, proper, and house-keeper. The male on the other hand has been portrayed as a strong, working individual that takes care of the family and comes home to a loving wife. These gender roles are becoming extremely challenged as society is a turn in economical and sociological terms. As these roles are changing stereotypes about behavior and characteristics of genders are also changing. To take the role of the woman and see how she is being portrayed today we must look at some statistical information on commercials, Men have been accused of being concerned with occupation. However the man's place in the job market is being more and more decreased because of the rise of women in the work force, gender roles are being changed as well.

It is true that the roles of men and women are having a huge shift. In order to appeal to the growing demographic marketers have recreated commercials to the growing shift. Gender roles and stereotypes have changed according to the trend that society is going towards however to request to the greatest amount of audiences some commercials have also continues to follow the stereotypes and gender roles that have become imbedded in so many peoples minds. The problem there does not lie with the way people are stereotyping men and women, but with the way feminism and masculinity is perceived by society in negative ways. Today's commercials have become varied in its ideas and beliefs in order to follow the very diverse society we have become adapted to.


The current research involves both qualitative and quantitative methods since the data collection procedure is based on a questionnaire and on interview.


The first method of data collection is a questionnaire including seven questions which range between yes/no questions and open-ended questions.

The purpose of these questions is to collect data about gender stereotype in advertising. It's going to be distributed and administered by the researcher himself. The sample is randomly chosen.


The interview is going to be conducted with two experts in the field psychology. It includes four questions about the effect of gender stereotypes on advertising.


This study showed that in some ways that television advertisements consistent with traditional gender stereotyping. For example, there are more male than female central characters, and men are more frequently narrating the voiceover. Men are often portrayed in traditional dominant roles, like interviewer or narrator, and promote masculine products, such as finance and real estate. They are also more likely to be portrayed as middle aged. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to be depicted as young, and do most often promote body products. However, in some aspects television advertisements differ from traditional gender stereotypes. This study presents equal representation of sexes in dependent roles, like parent or spouse, were women traditionally are overrepresented. The same goes for some of the settings. By tradition men are overrepresented in work related settings, and women in a domestic environment. The result presented in this study thereby also show evidence on non-stereotypical gender roles and settings.

Article name: Gender Stereotypes On Advertising Media essay, research paper, dissertation