Evaluation Essay on Gender in Advertising

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Stereotypes are defined as “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing”. Advertisements attempt to appeal to different audiences by using different techniques, one of which is to include stereotypes. Throughout the advertisement era, the representation of gender stereotypes in advertising has decreased as time has passed. However, the stereotypical portrayal of men and women is still prevalent in today’s advertisements. Gender is not the only factor in which advertisements utilize stereotypes. There are many other factors, including race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. In this paper, I will specifically test how stereotypical gender roles in advertising affect the overall success of an advertisement. I will also explore what other effects these stereotyped advertisements have socially. I expect to find that as gender stereotypes in advertisements decrease the success of advertisements will increase. I also expect to find more positive social effects of advertisements as stereotypes are neutralized.

There are many ways in which a company may use gender advertising through sex appeal, gender-related stereotypes, etc. To test my hypothesis, I analyzed surveys to test the effectiveness of gender stereotypes in advertising. To gather the best information, more than one study was considered. In the first survey, ads for the same product were compared in which one depicted stereotypical gender behavior, while the other depicted no gender-stereotypical image. The advertisements were presented and those who participated in the survey chose which advertisement was most appealing to them, what made this appealing, and how these gender-specific products affect their likelihood to purchase. Another question was whether or not the advertising industry should be responsible for breaking gender stereotypes. The group consisted of a random sample of 250 men and 250 women, including different ethnicities, social classes, and ages.

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The results of this study were as follows, “Fifty percent of men and 68% of women said they would likely be affected by advertisements that break gender stereotypes. Thirty-six percent of total respondents said they like brands that break gender stereotypes in ads. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they sometimes prefer to buy products made for their gender, while 42% said they sometimes prefer products made for a gender other than their own. Thirty-seven percent of overall respondents agreed the advertising industry has a social responsibility not to promote gender stereotypes”(Sullivan-Jenks). This study illustrates that although women were more significantly affected by gender-stereotyped ads, a high percentage of both men and women would prefer products not advertised using stereotypes. This illustrates the major impact stereotyping has on the success of a product, regardless of gender. Another interesting statistic was that even though men and women prefer products not utilizing gender stereotyping, only 37 percent of those surveyed believed companies had a responsibility to not use stereotypes. This may be due to a lack of knowledge of the prevalence of stereotypes in advertising in today’s society. However, this portrays a lack of accountability placed on companies, which must be changed if the elimination of stereotypes is the end goal.

In another study focused more on the social effect of stereotyped advertisements, 142 men and women (52% women, 48% men) were given a booklet including one ad portraying stereotypes about men and women's body shape, while the other featured larger men and women breaking the stereotype. Those who were surveyed were polled in a consumer setting, such as the mall, where many demographics were captured. The booklet then asked about brand familiarity, if the ad included stereotypes, what effect the ad had on men and women, as well as their reaction to the ad. To eliminate bias those who were viewing the survey were first asked their likelihood to buy a product from the brand pictured regularly.

The results of this study presented a direct correlation between the stereotypical ad and negative social effect, as well as a lower likelihood to react with the ad containing stereotypes. “The manipulation check confirmed that participants perceived the stereotyped ad as significantly more stereotyped than the non-stereotyped ad. As a real brand was used in the stimulus ads, all analyses were performed while controlling for brand familiarity. In support of H1, a MANCOVA analysis showed a direct effect of stereotypicality on presumed negative influence on others. There was no significant direct effect of participant gender, and neither was there a significant interaction effect between stereotypicality and participant gender. Planned comparisons revealed that the stereotyped portrayal had a higher presumed negative impact on both women and men ”(Akestam 136). The study also revealed a worse attitude toward the brand responsible for stereotyping, as well as a decrease in the likelihood of purchasing the product being promoted. The lack of correlation between gender and whether or not an ad was presumed to be a stereotype, points out that stereotypical ads can be recognized by all, and have many negative effects when recognized. This is also due to an increase in awareness of stereotypes, allowing the public to be generally more aware, as stereotypes have continued to be present in advertising today. As time continues to pass, I predict the trend started by the United Kingdom which banned gender stereotypes in advertising, will be followed, and stereotypical ads will continue to be met with harsh consequences.

My hypothesis is supported by both studies, which illustrated a higher willingness to buy, as well as a better social image for ads not featuring stereotypes. As the social media era has progressed, the frequency of advertisements has increased, due to the increased exposure to brands. This has a direct correlation with the advances in technology, which will continue to progress with time, increasing the importance of removing stereotypes from advertisements due to negative social effects. Companies should strive to remove stereotypes and push towards progressive advertisements to ensure a positive image for the company, as well as allow for the product being advertised to garner as much attention as possible. Overall, a company's success in today’s world is not only determined by the quality of a product but also by how the product is marketed, valued, and distributed. A stereotypical advertisement can disrupt the success of any product regardless of value or quality.

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Evaluation Essay on Gender in Advertising. (2024, February 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/evaluation-essay-on-gender-in-advertising/
“Evaluation Essay on Gender in Advertising.” Edubirdie, 09 Feb. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/evaluation-essay-on-gender-in-advertising/
Evaluation Essay on Gender in Advertising. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/evaluation-essay-on-gender-in-advertising/> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Evaluation Essay on Gender in Advertising [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Feb 09 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/evaluation-essay-on-gender-in-advertising/
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