Advertisements are everywhere in our lives, but do you know that a lot of the products are being advertised and promoted by the marketers in certain ways that will appeal to specific groups of people? The impact it causes on society is what we often see nowadays: gender stereotypes.
Our society has been putting “tags” of gender differences on both men and women. The majority of us have started to unconsciously accept and follow the “ideal images” created by those who have intended to impose these tags. Both women and men are being told by advertisements to have specific characteristics and to behave in certain ways in order to become a “perfect” person of their own gender. Those who don’t fit in with the “ideal images” will be seen as less of a man or woman.
Let’s see how advertisements portray ideal gender images and how they define “attractiveness” for both men and women.
In advertisements for makeup products, skin products, fashions, etc., their target group is women. They are trying to convince female customers that the “standard of beauty” is defined by how models look in advertisements.
Advertisements for fashion put the idea in people’s minds that women should look skinny and have perfectly curved bodies.
Advertisements for makeup products show that women should put on makeup to make themselves look gorgeous.
Advertisement for skin products tell customers that women should have clear, healthy, and radiant skin in order to look young.
For men, the commercials portray an “ideal” man as looking strong, masculine, rich, and heroic. Advertisements for gyms/fitness, watches, cars, suits, etc., depict images of how a successful, rich, and powerful man should look.
This advertisement for muscle gain supplements shows that a man should appear masculine and strong.
This advertisement for men’s suits implies that men wear suits because this represents their status and power.
This advertisement for cars tells the consumers that the expensive car symbolizes wealth.
Gender stereotypes put pressure on both women and men.
Advertisements also set roles for males and females.
Women have always been portrayed as the “housewife” figures who are responsible for doing all the domestic chores. For example, they need to do laundry, take care of children, prepare for meals and go grocery shopping, while men are seen as bad at handling all those domestic chores, so they should go to work.
Is it true that men are more capable of handling difficult and professional jobs while women are not? Are the things that men say persuasive but the things women say are not? Is it right that women can be emotional and passive, but men have to be tough, active, smart, and independent?
Watch bias women commercials here.
Watch male gender stereotypes video here.
The idea about stereotypical gender roles can also be seen in the differences between boys’ and girls’ toy sets. Girls’ seemed to be related more to beauty and nurturing, while boys’ are wheeled toys or about building.
Have you ever seen an advertisement showing a boy playing with Barbie toys or makeup sets? Rarely. How common is it to see an advertisement where a girl is playing with toy trucks, toy guns, or Superman toys? I don’t see it a lot. Is pink only for girls, and do boys have to choose blue? That concept seems like it has been embedded in people’s minds for a really long time.
Even the categories of toys are being segregated by genders. People believe that boys and girls like different things, so they stick with the idea that we should have gender-typed toys for girls and boys.
Advertisements have normalized these types of gender ideas. They lead everyone to change our thoughts on how we view ourselves.
Every one of us is unique. Should all of us need to follow the rules of gender? Do we all have to meet society’s expectations on how to become an ideal boy/man or girl/woman? We all have the power to make our own choices and decide what we want to be like.
So, let yourself define who you are, not the advertisements!