Women in advertising
Men and women are different. It was designed by nature like this and there is nothing wrong with it as they perfectly supplement each other. There are stable images of men and women's roles in society, which are very difficult to change or overcome. Men are usually regarded as strong and resolute, clever and quick. Female roles are reduced to pretty and sexy objects. Advertising not only reflects the situation on the world market, but also the tendencies of the modern society and things, which are in the requisition. Gender plays an important role in advertising and gender stereotypes very often define the advertising style.
Men generally carry more important social roles, with very few exceptions, and this is reflected in the advertisements. Men play the role of authorities in the advertisements who either give examples or express their professional opinion in the contrast to women, who mainly play submissive roles of users of the products.
Advertisement can be called a measure of social opinion as it expresses the needs of the society but at the same time, it also forms it. It plays a vital role in promoting labels and stereotypes. Certain ads are targeted to certain social groups. Ads, which display different female characters, appeal to different social groups.
In my paper, I would like to study different approaches to women in advertising, such as treating women as sex objects, housewives, submissives, mothers, professionals, dumb blonde, to analyze the social position of women and their perspectives.
Let's focus on each type of advertisement to study the social role it gives to women.
Women in advertising
First, and most traditional category of advertisements depicts women as typical ha housewives, fulfilling the major gender stereotype of mankind. These characters radiate sweetness, warm-heartedness, and passion to householding. For example, the advertisement of commercially laundry “Bryza”, underlines the laundry to be a women occupation. In the advertisement man is singing about children and stains and then addresses women with the words “Now You have Bryza”. Such an attitude implies that only women can and must be interested in laundry and other issues connected with householding. Another bright example of such an attitude is an ad by Virginia Slims. This advertisement states “The sexiest move that a guy can make [in the house] is cleaning up.” Such an attitude presupposes that cleaning is fully women’s occupation and men, who help their women about the house, are doing the heroic deed and should be treated as heroes. Examples are multiple and we can calculate up to a dozen of advertisements, where women act as typical housewives during one commercial block. Such an attitude humiliates female dignity and strengthens social stereotypes about the woman as a housewife. There is nothing bad in being a good housewife or taking care of husband and children. It’s bad when all life is artificially and intentionally centered all around this aspect. To understand the accordance of this category to ethical norms, we should define ethics first. Ethics or moral philosophy is defined as a set of regulations, which defines right or wrong behavior. From an ethical point of view, popularising the idea of housekeeping can not be regarded as something wrong. We should look deeper into the root of the problem to see another ethical problem here. Such kinds of ads can limit female rights. Voluntary or not, but with the help of these ads socials role of the woman is reduced to the role of the typical housewife. All the actions should be agreed with the ethics of the profession.
The role of submissive mother originally arises from the role of housewife. Motherhood is one of the main destinations of all women. We all know about this from childhood. Unfortunately, fatherhood isn’t considered to be one of the main social roles of the man. Raising children is considered to be a mainly female prerogative. Such an attitude is reflected in the advertisements, where all children are accompanied by their caring and submissive mothers. These are mothers, who make the children ready for school, cook them breakfast, take care of their health, appearance, toys, etc. The chances to see a man in the role of a loving father are very small or equals to zero. These stereotypes about the role of woman as submissive mother are reflected in the ad of Chewi-Quaker. A small girl is worried about new surroundings after moving to another school but becomes popular when finds Chewis and messages from her loving mother in her lunch box. Another very bright example is a Cheetos advertisement, where the mother of four children is driving a family van around the city. These are typical ads when a loving and caring mother helps her kids. It’s hard for us to imagine any man in the place of the woman in the ads about children. These ads are light and touching, but they serve a bad service persuading society that taking care of the children is a fully feminine responsibility. The social role of women is changed nowadays and the range of her responsibilities goes much further than housework or raising children. In many families, women work on a par with men or even more, but old social stereotypes are still alive and still give the perverted idea about the female role in society. Same as the first category, the ads which include the patterns of the submissive mothers don’t contradict any ethical norms directly as they don’t include any lies or violence, but the result can break the ethical norm, breaking the balance between the social and personal life of the women.