Sample B+ - Advanced Writing 1: English 201 L2 Soma Feldmar...

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Unformatted text preview: Advanced Writing 1: English 201 L2 Soma Feldmar 1 3 April 2010 Benefits of Reversing Gender-Role Stereotypes in Advertisements We see advertisements everywhere we go. Advertisements are in the mall, on television, in the magazines-literally in almost every aspect of our life. These many advertisements, however, are going beyond simply selling a product or service. Although, some advertisements are successful in doing this, they are also teaching the public where people belong in society. Advertisements portray men and women in gender specific settings and have been the main contributor to gender-role stereotyping in America. This issue is of interest because our society is associating a man with a construction site and a woman in a kitchen because of the advertisements that they are seeing in the media. Many times, this occurs without viewers even realizing that these ads are having this effect. First, you will see that advertising in the past has in fact stereotyped gender—roles. After this, the effects that media advertising has on children will prove that advertising does in fact affect people’s thinking and gender-role assumptions. Following this, sources and some of my own perspective will show that everybody would benefit immensely from reversing gender-roles in media advertisements. Finally, I will talk about some of the progress that has been made to curtail negative stereotypes of gender-roles in advertisements along with making concessions and refuting opposing arguments. Although advertising is meant to sell products and services to the people of America, in doing so, . are await, 35C HIM W6 . . advertisers Whamfihl stereotypes. If we, as a somety, deSIre a more sexually tolerable culture with more diversity, then advertisers need to drop the gender-role cliches in their advertisements, and instead, reverse the gender—roles in these ads. Advertisements incorporate gender—role stereotyping into their advertising campaigns. Do advertisements actually come out and tell its viewer that women and men have specific roles in our society? The answer is no; it is not that cut and clear to the viewer. The message is not emphasized by the advertisers, but research has shown that companies truly do slip gender-role stereotyping into many of their advertisements. Mary Gilly is a professor of marketing at the University of California, Irvine, who specializes in consumer behavior due to the unintended consequences of advertising. In her article, “Sex Roles in Advertising: A Comparison of Television Advertisements in Australia, Mexico, and the United States,” which was published in 1988, she refers to studies conducted on advertising showing that “women were found predominantly in the home, rather than in occupational settings like the men” (76). She adds that “women were more likely to appear frustrated than men, were recipients of help and advice, and were not physically active” (76). This research proves that there are indeed assumed gender- roles in advertising. In addition, it shows that these gender-roles are not merely in a few advertisements but she uses the word “predominantly,” meaning that these stereotypes are widespread across advertising. These cues have led our society to assume that certain roles in society are either male or female. Advertising does in fact affect the way that we live our lives and it feeds negative stereotypes. Barrie Gunter is a media research specialist with a Ph. D. in psychology. His recent book, published in 2005, Advertising to Children on TV: Content, Impact, and Regulation, tells us what kind of a detrimental impact subliminal messages in advertising can have on society. Gunter says that “According to the cultivation theory, the more time individuals spend watching television, the more likely they are to develop a View. of the real world that reflects the world as displayed on the screen” (131). This statement suggests that people actually do play out what they see in the media in real life. It supports the idea that our society cannot draw a distinct line between the media and real life events. Gunter adds that “Much research suggests that the mass media can exert powerful influences at the level of social conceptions and perception. In particular, such effects have been demonstrated in relation to gender-related social perceptions” (130). This statement goes a step further and is specifically referring to the media’s impact on people’s perception of gender positions in society. His belief is essentially that the media strongly effects how people relate to gender-roles in their everyday lives. Specifically, Gunter’s book discusses a study done on children who were exposed to media advertisements. He writes, “Randrup and Lac (2000) concluded that young children need to be exposed to these same advertisements a number of times before they recognize the central message, although peripheral cues are quickly remembered and are the main focus of children’s attention” (35). This proves that children generally do not know what it is exactly that is being advertised. Instead, children are simply picking up on what is described above as “peripheral cues” as to who goes where and who does what. In doing this, advertisements are giving children their first sense of where people belong in society and therefore giving children their first chance to stereotype and associate men and women with specific roles in society. The gender-role stereotyping that has taken place due to the advertisements can be reversed only by targeting the main source of the issue: advertisers. As seen, the advertisements that have aired in the past have in fact incorporated gender-role stereotyping and also have affected the way that our society sees the roles of men and women. In order to put an end to this injustice, companies will need to use forms of alternate advertising. For example, advertisers need to show men and women in unconventional environments such as men cooking in the kitchen and women on the construction site. This sort of reversed gender-role advertising would be very effective in extinguishing the stereotyping 'fire that advertisers themselves have started. Our society would use the same logic that they have used in the past to pair what they see on television to real life, ultimately reducing these stereotypes in society. Advertisers are often worried about losing sales with unconventional forms of advertising. Changing the commonly accepted ideas about the roles and relationships between men and women can be both controversial and costly. Gillian Oakenfull, a marketing prOfessor and at Miami University, and Timothy Greenlee, an associate professor X director of marketing at Miami University, provide evidence that advertising with reversed gender-roles, while appealing to both the gay and straight community, can have some surprising profit opportunities for advertisers. In their 2004 article, “The Three Rules of Crossing Over From Gay Media to Mainstream Media Advertising: Lesbians, Lesbians, Lesbians,” the co-authors refer to the gay community as the “Dream Market” for advertisers. Oakenfull and Greenlee justify this claim by explaining that this particular sector of society has an “above average disposable income and a willingness to spend.” So what is holding back these advertisers from more reverse gender-role advertising? Why don’t you see the magazine and television ads taking advantage of the opportunity to boost sales from this type of advertising? Well, a CNN poll from this recent article has shown that 48% of Americans feel that gay relationships are “morally wrong.” Therefore, marketers are basically worried that if they choose to incorporate reversed gender— roles into their advertisements, their profits would feel the negative effects because the large population who are against gay relationships would perceive the advertisements as such and essentially buy less. Or as Oakenfull and Greenlee put it, advertisers would be “alienating a far greater percentage of the market in pursuit of the dream market.” The research conducted by Oakenfull and Greenlee has proven that advertising to the gay community could allow these companies to reap huge profits. However, what they did not touch on is the impact that such advertising could have on society. This advertising would also be enriching to the publial because being exposed to this form of advertising would allow people to relate more easily and comfortably with the gay community, hence accepting different norms and societal positions due to advertising. These ads would push for a more sexually tolerable society with all genders and sexualities fitting in together. These harmful advertisements are affecting everybody. Our entire population suffers from these gender-role stereotyped advertisements because they are diminishing the diversity in America. The ads are taking away from the unique aspect of all people, decomposing diversity, and taking a particularly harsh blow on one particular group of society. This society is the gay community. The stereotypical sex and gender-roles that advertisements are encouraging are adapting society to seeing and associating men and women in a particular setting. This makes it very difficult for a gay member of our society to express themselves and feel secure with their unconventional lifestyle. It also places a burden on this community by challenging them to break down these stereotypes and fulfill a happy life of acceptance in society. Overall, all communities feel the oppression of the gender—role stereotypes in advertising in the media. It has been established that we need a change of style for advertisements in the media. In order to know where to start, it is best to look at what changes already have been made up to this point. Carole Macklin, a professor at the University of Cincinnati, and Richard Kolbe, a professor of marketing at Kent State University, published an article called, “Sex Role Stereotyping in Children’s Advertising: Current and Past Trends.” In this article, the authors explain some of the progress that has been made in the past in order to curtail “how males and females should behave in society” (34). For example, the National Advertising Review Board is an organization that has come up with a set of questions for advertisers regarding “destructive portrayals” (34). Some of these questions are: “Am I implying in my promotional campaign that creative, athletic, and mind-enriching toys and games are not for girls as much as for boys? Are sexual stereotypes perpetuated in my ad? Are the women portrayed as stupid in my ad? Does my ad make us of contemptuous phrases?” (34). Although this article and these questions were put into effect twenty-two years ago, it proves that gender-role stereotyping in media advertisements is an issue that holds weight and has been a longstanding problem in America. While these ethical questions are definitely a step in the right direction, more ground is going to need to be covered if we are going to overturn the stereotypes in advertisements and ultimately achieve a more tolerable world. For instance, advertisers should ask themselves if they have made use of an alternate form of advertising that embodies men in women’s positions in society and vice versa. Also, the more specific the questions and requirements are, the harder they are to loophole. Again, these questions are intended for the advertisers to ask themselves before airing an advertisement to make sure that they are not encouraging the same gender stereotypes that they have been supporting for so long. Opposition to my argument claims that it is too hard to distinguish advertising as the main culprit for gender-role stereotyping. Barrie Gunter claims that “it is difficult to assess the influence of stereotyped gender-role portrayals in advertisements as so many other media sources and real-life experiences also provide gender-role models” W131). While this may be true, I refute the idea that advertisements should not take the majority of the blame for gender-role stereotyping. We have seen studies that have shown that children primarily pick up on gender- role cues when watching advertisements and other studies that have shown that there are stereotypes in many advertisements. Therefore, media advertisements, more than any other contributor, are the main source of gender-role stereotyping. With reversed gender—role advertising in the media, we will be on our way to living in a more diverse and progressive country. Advertisements are the most important aspect of our society that we need to change in order to suppress Wender-role stereotypes. The subliminal messages that are bestowed in advertisements start to contaminate the minds of young children at a young age when they are most susceptible. Although the main point of an advertisement is to sell its viewer a product or service, they are also feeding negative ideas about what should be expected of men and women in their ads. Advertisers have created a negative externality that is very harmful to our culture. With reversed gender-roles in advertising, a burden would be removed from the gay community, the straight community, and hold profits for companies who decide to use alternate forms of advertising. I think the decision is obvious. If advertising has had the ability to cause our society to stereotype gender-r01es,.therfi%uldn’t reversing these roles in advertisements cause society to follow suit and become more accepting to reversed gender-roles in real life? 870:5 3* Works Cited Gilly, Mary. "Sex Roles in Advertising: A Comparison of Television Advertisements in Australia, Mexico, and the United States." The Journal of Marketing Vol. 52.No. 2 (1988): 75-85. JSTOR. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. Gunter, Barrie, Caroline Oates, and Mark Blades. Advertising to Children on TV: Content, Impact, and Regulation. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2005. Print. Macklin, Carole, and Richard H. Kolbe. "Sex Role Stereotyping in Children's Advertising: Current and Past Trends." Journal of Advertising Vol. 13.No. 2 (1984): 34-42. JSTOR. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. Oakenfull, Gillian, and Timothy Greenlee. "The Three Rules of Crossing over from Gay Media to Mainstream Media Advertising: Lesbians, Lesbians, Lesbians." Journal of Business Research Volume 57.1ssue 11 (2004): 1276-285. JST OR. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. ...
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Sample B+ - Advanced Writing 1: English 201 L2 Soma Feldmar...

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