Gender And Sex Role Stereotyping In Media Advertising Media

Essay add: 28-10-2015, 17:43   /   Views: 301

Gender and sex-role stereotyping is something that affects everyone who comes in contact with media, regardless of age. What your perception of gender is has an impact on what roles you associate with being male or female. These perceptions are formed and change throughout your lives due to the environment around you. I chose this topic because I find it interesting and believe that it is something that most everyone can relate to. We are in a time and age where advertising and mass media are a part of our everyday lives. Everything that we purchase we purchase due to some type of advertisement that has persuaded us to buy that item. Advertising and media are important because they are what drives us to do the things we do and believe the things we believe. Almost everything that we do is affected through the media or some form of advertisement. I believe that gender and sex role stereotyping in the media plays a large part in how we understand gender and how we live our lives. The media's representation of gender impacts how we understand gender and the roles in which are associated with gender. I find it interesting to look deeper into these commercials and the tactics used and understand why they appeal to us. Commercials are one of the main and most common forms of advertisements used today and one of the most influential to audiences, which is why I chose commercials as the medium to research.

Literature Review

For years, advertisers have used gender to appeal to and persuade audiences. Researchers hypothesize that gender is represented in the media through the roles that male and female actors are given in commercials. The objective of this literature review is to support these researchers' hypothesis that gender is something that we see in the media, and is something that affects our perspectives of the roles which are associated with genders (Royo-Vela, M. 2008;Davis, S. 2003). What we see around us and in the media on a regular basis shapes our own idea of society and gender without us even knowing it. We are in a time and era where most of us were born around media and it is a part of our everyday lives. This identification of gender begins at the adolescent age and continues to be shaped and changes throughout the years. Researchers over the years have done numerous studies in order to determine whether or not gender and sex role stereotypes exist in the media. Studies have hypothesized that certain genders are expected to have certain gender roles which can be seen in commercials (Royo-Vela, M. 2008). Behaviors, Interactions, and Representations

Men and women are portrayed in the media differently through the products that they are associated with representing in commercials (Royo-Vela, M. 2008). They are also represented differently through the types of behaviors and interactions the actors engage in during commercials (Larson, M. 2001). Studies have found that women were more likely to be represented as "homemakers and spouses" and were typically seen representing products which are used in the home. They found that men were generally depicted as "professionals or workers" and were typically seen with products used outside of the home. When analyzing the settings of the commercials, female characters were generally seen in a home setting and male characters were generally seen outside of the home or in a work environment (Davis, S. 2003). This particular use of settings to portray gender has an impact on the types of roles associated with genders. Female gender is generally seen in a home setting, which therefore portrays the female gender as someone who does not work, or as someone whose role is to take care of the household (Scharrer, E, 2006). The male gender is seen outside of the home and in a working environment, therefore the male gender is portrayed as the "breadwinner" of the family or the one in charge of financially supporting the family (Scharrer, E, 2006). "Advertising in general has been criticized for its gender representation, placing women into subordinate roles and making the male voice more authoritative" (as stated in Macklin, M. 1984). Studies have also shown that males are generally portrayed as more competitive and more active than females. Males are also typically seen as more aggressive and dominate than females (Macklin, M. 1984). When people view these commercials, their perceptions of gender and sex roles are subliminally being formed or changed without even knowing it. These formations of gender are important especially when it comes to viewers who are at the adolescent age, which is the most vulnerable age group of viewers. Commercials geared towards adolescents are especially important in the shaping of adolescents' idea of gender. In a study done results found that children could differentiate which commercials were aimed towards boys and which were aimed towards girls (Lewin-Jones, J. 2009). In toy commercials aimed at adolescent viewers, researchers discovered that the gender of the actors in the commercials had an impact on the children's perception of who should play with certain toys (Lewin-Jones, J. 2009). Results like this prove how commercials have an impact on what children believe to be appropriate for a male and appropriate for a female. Toys promoted by female actors are associated with being a female toy, and toys promoted by male actors are associated with being a male toy. The association of gender in toy commercials contributes to the idea that boys play outside or with toy cars and girls play will dolls and stay indoors. If a boy were to be seen playing with a doll it would be looked at as strange and against the male gender because society has an image of what the typical boy should do and what toys are meant for a boy. This would be the same scenario if a girl were to be seen playing with toy cars or trucks, because society has named those as toys meant for boys. It makes you wonder if commercials were to start showing commercials with boys playing with dolls and girls playing with toy cars, if over time it would have an impact on society's idea of what toys are considered gender appropriate. "Studies found that throughout the years the impact of television on children has changed dramatically." In the past what children understood about the male and female gender roles was through interaction with other children and through their parents. However, since television has become a part of our everyday lives it now has a huge impact on the minds of children.

Impact of Age

The age of the target audience also has an impact on the gender portrayals in commercials (Stern, S. 2004). Studies found that genders of the same sex and different age groups differ in what products they are associated with advertising. "Adolescent, young adult, and middle aged adult women were associated more with products which were used in the home. Teen and senior aged women were associated with products used away from the home. Researchers found that the ages of the male characters in commercials did not make a significant difference in the products that they were associated with advertising. In all of the age groups males were mostly associated with products that were used outside of the home."

Boys Vs. Girls

"Through the studies of advertising in commercials, researchers have found there to more representation of males in commercials than there are females. They have also found there to be more male only commercials than there are female only commercials. These studies also found that gender stereotyping varies depending on the ages of the target audience" (Hentges, B. 2007). "When only one gender was represented, the gender was more likely to be a male than a female, except for commercials for personal products"(Signorielli, N. 1994). Gender stereotyping in commercials is more influential on the adolescent age group than it is adults because adolescents are still in the process of forming their own perception of gender (Hentges, B. 2007). In a study done on commercials airing on MTV, results agreed with previous studies that males are represented more than females in commercials (Signorielli, N. 1994). "There were also findings that female actors in commercials were represented as being more physically fit, more attractive, and more likely to be wearing provocative clothing than male actors." Representations like these have an impact on the idea of gender. These commercials depict an expectation for women to be more fit and more attractive than males. Based on my readings of these studies done by researchers, it leads me to ask the question, Do gender and sex role stereotypes in the media have an impact on society's view of what is male and what is female?

RQ1: Do gender and sex role stereotypes in the media have an impact on society's view of what is male and what is female?

Article name: Gender And Sex Role Stereotyping In Media Advertising Media essay, research paper, dissertation