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Gender Stereotypes An Advertising: A Practical Analysis

Gender Stereotypes And Advertising: A Practical Analysis

Written By Jude Okoye

Gender stereotyping is the practice of ascribing to an individual man or woman specific attributes or roles by reason of his or her membership of the social group of men or women. A gender stereotype is, at its core, a belief system and that belief can cause the holder to make assumptions wrongly or rightly about members of the subject group. In contrast gender stereotyping is the practice of applying that stereotypical belief to a person.

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (2014) defines stereotype as a generalized view or preconception about attributes or characteristics that are or ought to be possessed by members of a particular social group. It can also be seen as roles that are or should be performed by members of a particular social group.
Consequently, the office defines gender stereotype as a generalized view or preconception about attributes or characteristics that are or ought to be possessed by women and men or the roles that are or should be performed by men and women. Gender stereotypes can be positive and negative, for example, “men are strong”, and “men are crawlers”.
Gender stereotyping is common in advertising and it serves some necessary functions in society by reflecting traditional roles about men and women. It can also depict some negative portrayals attracting disapprovals.
Analysis of gender stereotypes in select advertisements;
1. BED BATH AND BEYOUND:

This AD, is selling a range of hospitality services, perhaps of a guest house or a restaurant offering accommodations, foods, etc. The model is a beautiful young woman playing the role of a waiter. This signifies the typical traditional role of the feminine gender as a better care giver. It is an application of the gender stereotypical belief that women should take care of the domestic front. Again it indicates that the room services in hospitality and entertainment industry are jobs typical of the members of the feminine gender. The use of the fine lady suggests sensual pleasure because the copy says “and beyond”, a subtle sexual objectification of the model.
2. NAUTHY GIRL:

This AD has an explicit message of a beautiful mermaid clad in bikini and swimming in a glass of beer. Beer drinking and woman signify male gender indulgence, sensual and sexual pleasure which the consumers of the brand are sure to derive. The AD depicts gender stereotypical belief that women are sex objects, only suitable for men’s relaxation. Of course in a typical African setting a mermaid swimming in a glass of beer signifies evil spirit and this is enough to make the AD campaign to flop.
3. MUM LIKE NO OTHER:

This Indomie noddles AD portrays the members of the feminine gender as having the role of child bearing and management of the domestic front, cooking and taking care of the household.
4. IN AN ABSOLUTE WORLD

This is an attempt to reverse gender roles. The pregnant male model and the slim cute female model signify gender roles reversal. The AD can be counted for its comic value. Sex role of procreation is biological and the same for every culture.
5. MILK WITH FLAIR:

This AD attempts to show how pleasurable drinking the milk brand it sales can be. It therefore uses a lady showcasing her slim smooth body to depict the message of pleasure. This signifies a gender stereotypical belief and portrayal of the gender role of the woman as sex objects.
6. A CLEAN LIFE IS A SIGN OF GOOD LIFE

This advert reverses the typical role of the male gender as the boss of the household. Here the man wearing the kitchen apron and doing domestic works signifies housekeeping. This is a western stuff though, the AD may not sale or air in Africa.
7. Career Woman Ad

This advert portrays a dual role for the female gender. The model being corporately dressed and answering a call from a cell phone while cooking indicates that she works to earn a living. Being found in the kitchen shows her also in charge of the domestic front, perhaps a single mother as her boy sitting in the background may indicate.

Analysis of any Four adverts portraying gender stereotypes in The POPULAR ADVERT VIDEOS below;

1. PAPILO AD portrays the members of the female gender majorly as housekeepers but they can as well engage in petty trading to keep busy and keep watch over the progress of their children.
2. BLUE BAND AD portrays the members of the female gender as housekeepers without other roles.
3. PANADOL EXTRA AD portrays the members of the male gender as strong, tough and cable of doing hard labor.
4. BAGCO SUPERBAG AD portrays the members of the male gender as tough, strong, hardworking, sensible, unemotional and intelligent.

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

4 Comments

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  1. Gender issues and Gender roles has been sparking a hot debate lately especially after Chimamanda Adichie made a comment about men holding a door for women, people really misunderstood her and of course called her names but I think she really meant well, I was read one of her books “Dear Ijeawele” where she was trying to strike a balance between a man and a woman, and never believed anything such as gender roles was relevant. Like in a typical African home setting, the mom cooks and cares for the children while the dad only makes money, then the male children to the “harder” chores while the female does the “eaiser” ones,division of labour right?but CNA objected to this, she believes that everyone should do any of the chores, the man and woman should do everything that biology allows, nothing like that work is only meant for the female ones or male ones to do… No

  2. Chukwuanu Ekpereamaka Peace

    Hmm, this is good to hear.

  3. Obiechina Ifunanya Vivian

    Educative piece…

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