Stylistic Analysis of the Representation Term Paper

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 15
  • Subject: Business - Advertising
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #88574388

Excerpt from Term Paper :

This view is evident in this earlier advertisement for United Airlines; which uses the female stereotypes of nature to convey its message of care and stability.

Source: (

The following advertisement from a magazine cover from the 1940's also strongly suggests female stereotypes associated with food and family. Note as well the title of the magazine - Everywoman - which suggests a stereotypical ideal that women should strive for.


Many contemporary advertisements still tend to use male and female stereotypes but this usage in the media has become more sophisticated and subtle in terms of the way that it is encoded in the style and the visual language of the advertisement. The following comparison clearly shows this aspect.

Fig.3 Davidoff Cool Water-Woman

Fig.4 Davidoff Cool Water - Man

Source: Introduction: Advertising & Gender

In the above advertisements, both figures three and four display the same style of photography and representation - as well as a similar use of color and composition. However, there are some subtle but marked differences. In essence, the female character is calmly looking at the viewer, while the male is actively jumping or emerging from the water.

While the female figure is depicted as passive and lying down, the male is active and ascending out of the water. The underlying implication is that the male is the dominant and more assertive figure and the female is the more submissive and less active. This also has further analytical implications. The female looks at the viewer as if the needs reassurance from the outside about her value or beauty, while the male is looking away and has a more confident demeanor. This advertisement is relatively easy to analysis in terms of the cultural stereotypes of female submissiveness and male dominance and action.

The representation of gender in the above advertisement communicates two very different perspectives or messages about gender. One interpretation is as follows.

This plays on the ideology that most women do not have the self-confidence to show their body but using this product will restore that confidence. The 'Cool Water for Men' implies that not only will the product make you as a man, feel cool and fresh, but it will give you full of energy so that you ready for any action.

Introduction: Advertising & Gender)

The following two advertisements can also be compared to the same stereotypical analysis as the above. In figure five the image of the two women are presented as static and doll - like. In a sense, each women is depicted as "...a lifeless object -- a thing that cannot act in any way whatsoever..." (Dolls).


On the other hand, the following advertisement places a much more active and dynamic emphasis on the way that the male figure is depicted.


Conclusion: Globalization and advertising

As was previously mentioned the range of advertising has extended in recent years with increasing interaction and sharing of views and perspectives between different cultures and counties. This has been largely facilitated by new technologies like the Internet.

The implication of this globalization of values and views is that advertising is exporting ideas and values that considered to be accepted globally across various cultures. This means that, in essence, cultures are no longer immune to perceptions and views of gender that are now encountered in the media advertising, and which may in many cases conflict with the cultural norms and values of that society.

The phenomenon of globalization has been described as, "... The spread and connectedness of production, communication and technologies across the world. That spread has involved the interlacing of economic and cultural activity."

Globalization) a more theoretical and functional definition of globalization is suggested by Anthony Giddens (1990). He describes globalization as "...the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa." (Hoffman, Laura and Kurz, Richard)

The contemporary Internet culture has meant that cultural views in various societies can be shared through technology. This is an aspect that the modern advertisement industry has taken full advantage of, and one often finds the inclusion of gender stereotypes promoted in terms of international acceptance. For example, there has been a promotion of the view of gender equality between the different sexes in advertising - a view that is in line with modern contemporary culture.

The popular culture view is that difference between male and female qualities and attributes are largely artificial. There is a modern cultural predilection towards uniformity rather then difference. In an article entitled Girrrl power and boyyy nature: the past, present, and paradisal future of consumer gender identity, the author states that,

In a postmodern society, traditional notions of femininity and masculinity come across as antiquated and illusory. The consumption ethic has deconstructed the historical male female mind body producer consumer dichotomy and made identity construction a consuming pastime. It has also turned gender into a pastiche of possibilities.


This is an attitude that has to be taken into account in the understanding go the way that advertising reflects and influences ideas of gender in the popular culture.

In the final analysis, gender - based advertising is a reflection of cultural norms, traits and stereotypes with regard to the sexes. However, with the advent of mass communications technology and access to media advertisements from virtually any region on earth, gender related advertisements have an enormous and pervasive influence on various cultural perceptions of male and female identity. This means that in the age of globalization, gender advertising can also have a negative impact on the cultural norms and values that were previously separated for trends in other countries. For example, the recent predilection towards the uniformity of the sexes in advertising may be problematic for cultures with certain values and more 'conservative' cultural estimation of male and female identity.

Works Cited

Controlling Advertising ? ASA Schools and Colleges resources No 1. December

Dolls. December 20, 2007.

Garst J. And Bodenhausen G. Advertising's effects on men's gender role attitudes. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, May, 1997. December 20, 2007.

GENDER in ADVERTISING. December 20, 2007.

Globalization. December 20, 2007.

Griscom. Amanda. Trends of Anarchy and Hierarchy: Comparing the cultural repercussions of print and digital media. December

Hoffman, Laura and Kurz, Richard. Globalization and Your Career. 2005. December 19, 2007.

Introduction: Advertising & Gender. December 20, 2007.

Jhally, S. The Codes of Advertising: Fetishism and the Political Economy of Meaning in the Consumer Society, Frances Pinte.1987.

Kacen J. Title: Girrrl power and boyyy nature: the past, present, and paradisal future of consumer gender identity. 2000. December 20, 2007.;jsessionid=2D91BC2C15B955D0FD9C276C3D62F305?contentType=Article&dAction=lnkhtml&ontentId=854513.

Maxcy, David Joseph. Advertising the gender system: Changing configurations of femininity and masculinity in early advertising in the United States. December 20, 2007.

My Theory of How Advertising Works. December 20, 2007.

Srinagar. Do ads promote materialism? 2006. December

20, 2007.

Woman and Man in Advertising: Narrative Illustration of an 'Equality which Cannot Be Found'. December 20, 2007.



The above advertisement prefigures the focus in modern advertising on the aspects of female beauty and vivacity to attract public attention.

Pamphlets were generally only produced and distributed among select audiences until the 1620s with the introduction of new, less expensive type-face technologies. (Griscom)

The relationship between advertising and consumer culture is a complex one and strictly outside the parameters of this discussion. However, it should be noted that this relationship has also had a profound effect on the representation of gender in the media.

However, as will be pointed doubt in this discussion, these stereotypes are changing in the context of the globalized world and there is a greater movement towards gender equality in advertising.

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