Stereotyping is not a new concept to people worldwide. Individuals have consistently judged someone based on their race, ethnicity, and even gender. In advertisement in particular, gender stereotypes have been used regularly without notice. Some argue that it helps connect real life experiences and familiar roles to the consumer. Throughout the years it has become increasingly popular to objectify one gender and categorize another as superior to the rest. Since the beginning of advertisement, women has been placed in ads and commercials in ways that make them subordinate to men. While men are shown as strong, independent, and powerful game changers. The question is, when gender roles are switched in advertisement, does this have an effect on the consumers general opinion of the ad?
To begin I want to show some typical ads from todays advertising market.
All three of these ads show objectify women and create the stereotype that women as subordinate to men. Unfortunately this has become a social norm for people around the world. This behavior/stereotyping simply goes unnoticed or is found humous. This is a form of advertisement that is used typically because it captures the consumers eyes. But has advertisers taken this concept to the extreme?
There have been some people who have protested this stereotype and have switched the typical roles of men and women in different advertisement campaigns. What I challenge all of you to do is to first look at how the women are portrayed, and then shift your attention to how the men take on the “female role”. How does your reaction affect your opinion to the product?
Here are two examples of how our youth are playing on the gender role issue.
If ads were not posted with images like the ones above many people would have a very different outlook on the product. Some may find the images as a joke, while others may think they are simply ridiculous. There are also ads out there that have children posing as the main focus. From a young age we are exposed to these basic beliefs and ideals of what products boys use and what products girls use. The problem is, why is it acceptable for people to view these switched advertisements as funny or stupid, and the regular gender based commercials and ads as something that is informative or as a response to the consumers basic ways and beliefs.
The video below is a French short film portraying a man in the general “female gender role”. As he goes about his day he is exposed to sexual harassment and other everyday activities that society declares as a woman’s job in a mans world.
This video shows how gender stereotypes are experienced not only in America, but throughout the world. Things that some view as social norms, may be completely objectifying and irregular to others. The problem that I have with this issue is we as a society have made it so normal to objectify one group of people. When the roles are reversed it appears “wrong” or not appealing to the general public. This is both a flaw and a well played move that I see within advertisement. Advertisers put out to the consumer what they believe he or she wants to see, disregarding what may be overdoing a stereotype started years ago.
Moretsky, A. (2013, May 9). Role Reversal: Perceptions of Men and Women in Advertising. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.outsourcemarketing.com/role-reversal-perceptions-of-men-and-women-in-advertising/
Pourriat, E. (2010) Opressed Majority (Video file). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4UWxlVvT1A