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Gender Stereotypes in Commercial Advertising

Italiano

Film Elitist
I'd want to know what people think about the stereotypes in today's advertising for the sexes.

How degrading/categorizing/sexist do you think it is?

I'd like to know what your stance is as well. Please expan on your own topic, and give your own insigt onto the issue; so we can actually have a discussion; otherwise there is no discussion. REmember this is Mature Discussion; not the sub-topic forum.-Sui

Sorry bout that Sui, I was a little tired at the time I wrote the thread.

Anyways, Advertisements today try to send messages to a certain audience and I't's gotten to a point in where they use gender stereotypes to sell their product.

I think that some of the messeges are very subtle and others out in the open.

But people are saying that those messages are dictating what the norm is for males and females and that it's severly affecting how people think. Now I agree and disagree with that.

I agree that people can be affected in terms of buying or endorsing in their product, but it doesn't affect the way people act as a norm...

Actually let me rephrase that, I should say that people shouldn't be that impressionble. But it's not like I can defend that.
 

oxyMORON

A Darker Knight
You mean ...

Men: Macho, chisled bodies, big muscles, etc.
Females, skinny, big boobs, etc.

That's practically what's out there. And that's what's screwing up many teens, their concern over their image.
 

SenatorB

J.S.P.S
I think it makes perfect sense. People see a really attractive person using some product and subconciously associate the two... this means that subconciously, people are buying a product because they think it will make them more desirable. If you see someone ugly using the product you'll think "well hey, it's not doing much for him, now is it?" and be less likely to buy it. I don't see it as sexist at all, each product has a certain target, and it only makes sense to use an advertising method that specifically targets that group. For example, it would be stupid to have a woman advertising something that is mostly bought by men (for example, a men's razor, a video card, a big truck... they're all things that while a woman COULD use them, the vast majority of them are bought by men). I don't see why it would be degrading, so I cant comment about that. I think that yeah, it does categorize people into "attractive enough to advertise" and "not attractive enough to advertise." Unfortunately, this brings up the problem oxyMORON mentioned, that some people see this as "attractive" or "unattractive" and strive to be these really attractive people who most people can never look like.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
SenatorB said:
I think it makes perfect sense. People see a really attractive person using some product and subconciously associate the two... this means that subconciously, people are buying a product because they think it will make them more desirable. If you see someone ugly using the product you'll think "well hey, it's not doing much for him, now is it?" and be less likely to buy it. I don't see it as sexist at all, each product has a certain target, and it only makes sense to use an advertising method that specifically targets that group. For example, it would be stupid to have a woman advertising something that is mostly bought by men (for example, a men's razor, a video card, a big truck... they're all things that while a woman COULD use them, the vast majority of them are bought by men). I don't see why it would be degrading, so I cant comment about that. I think that yeah, it does categorize people into "attractive enough to advertise" and "not attractive enough to advertise." Unfortunately, this brings up the problem oxyMORON mentioned, that some people see this as "attractive" or "unattractive" and strive to be these really attractive people who most people can never look like.
No, it makes perfect sense to use women to market a men's product. C'mon, SenatorB! It happens everyday. Advertising companies have always exploited women to sell to men. Take a Gillette men's razor commercial, you have the stereotypical handsome man, shaving his face unrealistically in a few strokes, the main point of the advertising doesn't come until after the sexy woman walks over and rubs his cleanly shaven face.

Advertising can quite easily be degrading. However, while exploitation of woman has been getting lighter, we are now seeing a lot more men being sexually objectified by companies like Calvin Klein. Women have always been seen as sexual objects in the media. How often do you see an "ugly" woman in advertising? She's always perky, strong, independent/subserviant, thin, and usually has a nice chest. You think women aren't exploited through advertising? Watch three minutes of SpikeTV. You'll see.

Also, at the beginning of the argument, you said that we associate beauty with quality. What the real question here is who teaches us to associate the two? The media shapes us as we grow, no matter what. Let's put it this way: the heroes are beautiful, the women are vuluptuous, the villains are hideous, and the losers are ugly. Even in children's toons, the good guys always look, well, good! There have also been a lot of villains with physical abnormalities or alterations, making them abnormal and strange. So in essence, we are taught that beauty equates to winning, quality, and success.
 

SenatorB

J.S.P.S
the main point of the advertising doesn't come until after the sexy woman walks over and rubs his cleanly shaven face.
Ah, you're right... I hadn't thought about that... Even so, I dont think that makes it particularly sexist... It's using sex appeal, but it isn't showing that one gender is superior to the other. They do the same thing the other way around too, with men being shown attracted to women for women's products. Acknowledging the existance of gender does not necessarily imply sexism.

I don't think that showing someone as sexual is inherently degrading either. In commercials with sexy women in them, they aren't being shown as objects, but as sexy women. The Calvin Klein men aren't being shown as anything less than they are... fit men in underwear... they're models. I doubt anybody sees the advertisements and thinks less of them as people, they realize that that's their job. The fact that a man or a woman is attractive does not necessarily degrade them, if anything it makes them superior to most people in that regard, and capitalizing on that facet merely highlights the fact.

I think that even without media, humans would still associate beauty with quality. It's a natural phenomenon to be attracted to beautiful people. You'll see it all throughout life, an attractive person will get a job over an equally qualified but ugly person. Advertising using attractive people showcases that which is already considered a good thing, using it to increase the attractiveness of the product itself. If you saw an identical commercial for razors, but one is how it is now, and the other was with an ugly guy and an ugly woman, you'd be drawn to the one with the attractive people. Being attractive gives something an extra edge over that which is not, even when they're otherwise equal. And of course the media shows the good guys as hot and the bad guys as ugly... a bad guy could look perfectly ok, but that edge would be working against the persona of the character, whereas an ugly bad guy it compliments the persona.

So in essence, we are taught that beauty equates to winning, quality, and success.
We already know this, media just capitalizes on it. Beauty is a good thing, nobody will deny that, whether or not they've been exposed to the media.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
SenatorB said:
Ah, you're right... I hadn't thought about that... Even so, I dont think that makes it particularly sexist... It's using sex appeal, but it isn't showing that one gender is superior to the other. They do the same thing the other way around too, with men being shown attracted to women for women's products.
I never said anything about sexism.

SenatorB said:
Acknowledging the existance of gender does not necessarily imply sexism.
Yes, I know, anything else? I never said that.

SenatorB said:
I don't think that showing someone as sexual is inherently degrading either. In commercials with sexy women in them, they aren't being shown as objects, but as sexy women. The Calvin Klein men aren't being shown as anything less than they are... fit men in underwear... they're models. I doubt anybody sees the advertisements and thinks less of them as people, they realize that that's their job.


This ad right here makes the woman a vehicle for the product, reducing her to an object, this is what I'm talking about here. You're right, nobody thinks anything of an ad like that, but subconsciously, it is affecting us, teaching us these things.



Here's another example of objectification. This guy's toned physique and tanned, unmarred skin is used as a selling point for the product. Why does that work? Because we have been taught that unblemished skin and a tight physique are desireable things, not by natural instinct, but by the media.

SenatorB said:
The fact that a man or a woman is attractive does not necessarily degrade them, if anything it makes them superior to most people in that regard, and capitalizing on that facet merely highlights the fact.
Yes, we know that too and I didn't say that either. I never said beauty degrades them but I did say that beauty does make them superior in most people's eyes. While one's beauty is part of the subject at hand, we are also talking about manipulating advertising for our own monetary gains.

SenatorB said:
I think that even without media, humans would still associate beauty with quality. It's a natural phenomenon to be attracted to beautiful people. You'll see it all throughout life, an attractive person will get a job over an equally qualified but ugly person.
No, once again, back to our ancient ancestors, beauty was not something considered. It was necessary to find a mate to reproduce and keep the species going and that was it, cavemen weren't picky. Also, a few centuries ago, big women were considered the highest echelon of beautiful. The skinny women would eat more to match the size of the desired feminine figure, which was slightly overweight. So you see, it's a function of common belief, beauty. It has become, over the many years of media influence, natural to associate personal interpretations of beauty with success and happiness.

SenatorB said:
Advertising using attractive people showcases that which is already considered a good thing, using it to increase the attractiveness of the product itself. If you saw an identical commercial for razors, but one is how it is now, and the other was with an ugly guy and an ugly woman, you'd be drawn to the one with the attractive people. Being attractive gives something an extra edge over that which is not, even when they're otherwise equal. And of course the media shows the good guys as hot and the bad guys as ugly... a bad guy could look perfectly ok, but that edge would be working against the persona of the character, whereas an ugly bad guy it compliments the persona.
You're not reading into what I said. I'm questioning where these predetermined notions are coming from and my answer is the media. Why do you associate beauty with quality (hypothetical)? It is not presumed that we are attracted to beautiful people. We were slowly taught a certain physical form and continiously shown why it's so desireable. When man was nothing more than another mammal trying to survive, you think they saw a female and passed her up because she didn't have brown hair? Or trim thighs? Or a designer purse? Hell no, it was survival.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
Piccolo said:
Wow, haha you people really look in depth into commercials, I never even pay attention to them lol.
I had a class about media, self-identity, and society last semester and it was an awesome class. I'm considering going into media studies as a career, thus I love the topic of anything media.
 

SenatorB

J.S.P.S
You were commenting on the parts of my original post that I was talking specifically about sexism and degradation (in relation to the first post's question posed), so I thought that you were commenting about the same thing. Apparently you took the arguments completely out of context though, which while it doesn't make what you said anything less true in this case, it does lead to a bit of confusion. We uh... we weren't actually talking about manipulating advertising for our own monetary gains... at all...

You don't think that a caveman would pick an attractive cavewoman over an ugly one, if they were otherwise the same? Beauty is human. I don't look at a girl and think "she looks like a girl in a commercial, therefore I am attracted to her," nor does a girl look at some fit toned guy and think "he sure looks like he could be in an ad, he must be hot." People see beauty and know what it is without having to be told, which accounts for why everybody thinks different people are beautiful, and even the ugliest people have someone out there who will think they're beautiful. Advertising capitalizes on the fact that our society has a strong majority of people who find a certain general image to be attractive. I agree, it does help shape the general idea, but it is based on something that already exists. Centuries ago, the general image was different, because for the most part, a slightly heavier woman would be more likely to carry babies and would live longer, so subconciously it was again a matter of survival. I think these predetermined notions come not from the media, but from people, and the media takes the notions and uses them.

I dont see how either of those images objectifies the models in them. After all, it only makes sense that a pair of woman's underwear be advertised on a woman, and advertising them on an attractive woman only makes the product look better overall. I suppose in a way you can see the model as a prop, but there's no way around that.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
SenatorB said:
You were commenting on the parts of my original post that I was talking specifically about sexism and degradation (in relation to the first post's question posed), so I thought that you were commenting about the same thing. Apparently you took the arguments completely out of context though, which while it doesn't make what you said anything less true in this case, it does lead to a bit of confusion. We uh... we weren't actually talking about manipulating advertising for our own monetary gains... at all...

You don't think that a caveman would pick an attractive cavewoman over an ugly one, if they were otherwise the same? Beauty is human. I don't look at a girl and think "she looks like a girl in a commercial, therefore I am attracted to her," nor does a girl look at some fit toned guy and think "he sure looks like he could be in an ad, he must be hot." People see beauty and know what it is without having to be told, which accounts for why everybody thinks different people are beautiful, and even the ugliest people have someone out there who will think they're beautiful. Advertising capitalizes on the fact that our society has a strong majority of people who find a certain general image to be attractive. I agree, it does help shape the general idea, but it is based on something that already exists. Centuries ago, the general image was different, because for the most part, a slightly heavier woman would be more likely to carry babies and would live longer, so subconciously it was again a matter of survival. I think these predetermined notions come not from the media, but from people, and the media takes the notions and uses them.

I dont see how either of those images objectifies the models in them. After all, it only makes sense that a pair of woman's underwear be advertised on a woman, and advertising them on an attractive woman only makes the product look better overall. I suppose in a way you can see the model as a prop, but there's no way around that.
Beauty is not human, beauty is an abstract term because it has infinite interpretations. I like short red-haired girls with a little curve, my best friend likes tall, thin, brunettes, while my cousin is dating a fat blonde girl. Point and case, too many interpretations, the topic is too fluid to make any other statement besides that it is incomprehensible.

I wasn't talking out of context, you just assumed I was speaking about sexism and assuming is the mother of all fuck-ups. Yes, we know everyone has their own personal concept of beauty, but a lot of people are suckered into the image presented to us by the media because people these days like being pushed around (or it's fairly easy to do). Another thing you didn't seem to notice, is that the term 'media' does not just apply to newspapers, television, or magazines, media is another broad term for wide scale communications. Media has existed for a while by that definition. The media attempts to change attitudes because they can't just trust people, they need to convert them. People also naturally group, so when an ideal becomes embraced, it will gain popularity with more followers because there are many that would rather be herded like that.

You're completely missing my point on objectification. Advertisers do not rely on their audience to do anything but give feedback. They identify their targets and try to catch them. Just like Right Guard Extreme Deoderant would try to find out who's buying their deoderant, the age, the location, and other correlating traits they could exploit. The man in the picture is being objectified because you can only see bits of him, the parts the ad agency is using to sell the product. Those parts are being used, not the guy as a whole, he's pretty much an object being rationed off. There's nothing wrong, at a very basic level, with using people to sell products, that's just elementary. What I've been trying to point out to you is the fact that there are dramatized cases of objectification. There are extremes.

There's a website called GirlsofCS.com where female Counter-Strike players gather and notify us non-believers of their existence. The website supposedly exists to drag female gamers out of the shadows and into the light. The gamers themselves are sick of the seemingly old jokes and sayings about women not existing on the internet and women in games all looking the same and being sexually exploited. However, the owner of the site advertises with this:



That's certainly not objectifying . . .
 

SenatorB

J.S.P.S
Merc, If someone asks a question about X, I respond to X, and you respond to me, it's perfectly fair for me to assume that you would be talking about X, and not Y... you were talking about Y. Another thing you didn't seem to notice is that this isn't a discussion about media in general, it's about specifically gender stereotypes in advertising.

And no, I dont think that that image is objectifying. I think it's illustrative of the female sexuality, which is what the site is trying to represent.

What would you suggest the Right Guard Extreme Deoderant advertisement be then... it wouldn't make sense to show the whole person (and it wouldn't fix any imagined objectification), yet it wouldn't make sense to not have any person at all... it wouldn't make sense to use an ugly person as opposed to whatever model they have... what do you suggest to fix this supposed objectification? I don't see anything wrong at all with them marketing to a specific set of people. After all, that's what advertising IS, an attempt to get more people to buy a product, and if it's reaching the wrong set of people it isn't accomplishing that goal. I haven't missed your point, I just think you're wrong.

Everyone DOES have their own concept of beauty (as I said, if you read it...), but that doesn't change that the majority of people see a certain set of features to be beautiful. This is a known and tested fact (guys like big eyes, high cheekbones, full lips, high eyebrows, small nose, large smile, medium breasts/waist/hips/legs, women like sunken eyes, heavy eyebrows, broad chin, but a slightly feminine face, broad shoulders, thin waist/hips/legs, and a tight ass. These are studied facts, we learned them on the first day of lecture in my Psych 101 class... they're basic and intrinsic). Now everyone does vary, but for the most part, there are basic things which most people find beautiful. This is not a fact presented by the media, into which we have been convinced, but rather a tool the media uses very effectively. It's like me saying "I like Z", and the advertiser saying "well we've got Z," the advertiser doesn't say "we've got some Z here" and I say "I guess I now like Z." You have your cause and effect backwards.
 
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