Portrayal Of Women In Advertisements Media Essay

This Article was written by Jacob M. Duker and Lewis R.Tucker, Jr. in 1977. In this article the discussion is based on the portrayal of women in advertising. The article basically says that the negative impact of women through advertisement showing them as housewives or sex objects have become a major source of concern for the women. The National Organization of Women (NOW) complained in 1971 that the women were still portrayed as domestic adjuncts, demeaned housekeepers, dependent on men, submissive, sex objects and unintelligent.

According to the article the research that was conducted by Courtney and Lockeretz, sexton and haberman on advertisements and print advertisements concluded on the note that women were not portrayed accurately meaning that the advertisements do no show the actual role occupied by women in a Society and the image of women reflected in ads is quite narrow. Now only the proportions of sex-object role portrayals have decreased significantly whereas the others have not. However the role of women in advertisements has improved quite a lot since the old times as they are not portrayed as the stereotyped women as they were portrayed before. But still the fact is that more advertisements are made on women being as sex objects, or house wives. As the hypothesis statement of this article states that there is no difference in the perception of advertisements portraying women in the role of mother, sex objects, housewife, or glamour girl between female subjects who show strong and those who show weak orientations toward the women’s liberation movement.

In order to explain this relationship quantitative research was conducted in which College students were used exclusively because they are the ones who are most likely to adopt current popular opinion towards both women’s lib and sex role portrayal in advertisements. Moreover it relies on the use of actual advertisements. Ads were pretested to insure that they did reflect the identified feminist issues. The pretests involved discussion of the ads with 30 female under-graduates to identify ads whose literal (as opposed to symbolic) messages were understood and which did project the image of women respectively as mother, sex object, glamour girl, housewife, working mother, modern woman, and professional, respectively. The following advertisements were chosen. 1. Mother feeding baby with a new disposable bottle (mother). 2. Beautiful female positioned by a line of cosmetics explicitly emphasizing “sexiness” (sex object). 3. Beautiful female being featured as a center of attention because of her “beautiful hair,” the result of using a well-known creme rinse (glamour girl). 4. Several housewives taking part in a testimonial for a new pressure-type drain opener (housewife). 5. A cereal ad featuring a mother with a young daughter discussing the importance of pursuing a career while being able to look out for the welfare of the family (working mother). 6. Beautiful female positioned in a hair coloring ad as an independent individual free to pursue anything without worry (modern woman). 7. Biographical profile of a female orchestra conductor indicating the brand of Scotch whiskey she preferred (professional). The advertisements was shown to 104 females between the ages of 18 and 21 who represented the student body of a northeastern university. The sample is biased toward younger, educated individuals. Coming to the Results only for advertisement 2, which portrayed a female as a sex object, did they obtained chi square value of 4.122 begin to approach significance. For all other role representations, the chi square values reflecting differences among groups did not exceed 1.76. These findings are especially striking because they involve the reactions of the two conceptually predetermined polar groups, the traditionalists and the pro feminists. Of further interest is the finding that the three groups of respondents showed no significant differences in both their positive and their negative reactions. The two polar groups both liked the portrayals in advertisements 2, 3, 4, and 7, both disliked the portrayals in advertisement 1, and groups were divided relatively evenly toward those in advertisements 5 and 6. This study has established an important conclusion with regard to profeminism and its relationship to reactions to roles for women (portrayal of women) in advertisements. We know now that having pro-feminist opinions does not change the roles being assigned to women in advertisements. So the dependent variable in this article will be perception of advertisements portraying women and the independent variable will be strong and those who show weak orientations toward the women’s liberation movement.

Women’s Role Portrayal Preferences in Advertisements: An Empirical Study

This Article is written by Lawrence H. Wortzel and John M. Frisbie in Oct, 1974. This article is based on the two published studies which did research on the role that women portrayal in print advertising. The Courtney and Lockeretz study concluded that the women are right on the part where they say that full views of their roles in a society are not shown. They are always shown as housewives or some fashion object or the most common as sex objects. These roles do not define a women and role they play or have to play in a society. The other case study by Wagner and Banos indicates that there has been a large amount of improvement in showing women’s role as a working member of a society. However they did not do much research on the effectiveness of the advertisement meaning that what kind of advertisement do women find more appealing or does the advertisement showing women in a working role make the product more better or desirable compared to the advertisements in which women were shown as sex or fashion object.

Therefore this research has two hypothesis statements, one, when a women appears in an advertisement the desirability of the product advertised to women exposed to the ads will be enhanced if that woman is portrayed in a career or neutral role, rather than a sex object, family, or fashion object role.

Two, those women who most strongly agree with the tenets of women liberation Movement will most strongly consider a product’s desirability enhanced when a woman appearing in the ad is portrayed in a career or neutral role, rather than a sex object, family, or fashion object role.

The traditional role of women was however not rejected. In this experiment, subjects were asked to “design” print ads by matching pictures of products with pictures of women. Two portfolios were prepared: one consisting of pictures of products, the other containing pictures of women. The product portfolio consisted of pictures of three products in each of seven product categories: small appliances, large appliances, women’s grooming products, women’s personal products, household products, foods, and men’s grooming and personal products. The specific product categories were selected to provide diversity while remaining within the boundaries of plausibility; each product category is one in which the picture of a woman in an advertisement would not be unexpected. Any product that consistently used advertising that portrayed a woman in a particular role was rejected to minimize possible bias due to conditioning. The portfolio of women’s pictures consisted of five pictures depicting women in each of the five roles-“neutral,” “family,” “career,” “sex object,” and “fashion object”-for a total of 25 pictures in all. The two portfolios were presented to a convenience sample of 100 young (ages 21 to 35) women. While the sample of young women was not drawn randomly, every effort was made to insure that a distribution of demographic characteristics would be achieved. The results indicated no consistent preference for specific female roles that always enhance product desirability and that cut across product categories. Coming to the result we must see that the women participating in this experiment appear to have chosen their preferred role-background on the basis of the specific product class with which they were con-fronted. For products that are usually used by households or families, the family role-back-ground was preferred. Preference for the family role-background was marginal for small appliances and strong for large appliances and food. For products that women use alone the neutral or career role-backgrounds were prefer-red, although the traditional fashion role was still acceptable. There is no product for which a sex-object role was considered the most enhancing role portrayal. After doing several research and experiment the article concludes by saying that women are indeed very happy when they are portrayed as traditional homemaker, fashion or sex objects. Women did find their liberation in ad to be portrayed by a housewife role. The reason they prefer these role portrayals they chose could be that advertisement has played a big part in making women accept the traditional role portrayals in ads in advertisements. So the dependent variable in this article will be desirability of the product and the independent variable will be exposed to the ads and woman portrayed in a career or neutral role.

Amanda B. Bower (Autumn, 2001)”Highly Attractive Model in Advertising and the Women who Loathe Them: The implications of Negative Affect for Spokesperson Effectiveness”

This Article is written by Amanda B. Bower in 2001. In this article the author tries to explain the impact that good looking models in advertisements, have on the self esteem of the women. As we know that the use of Attractive Models in advertising has become very popular in the world today but the effect is yet to be measure. Some women may have negative effects by comparing themselves to the attractive model and may think less of themselves. The purpose of the research was to find out that if the highly attractive images of women in advertising can persuade and if they have a positive or negative impact on the women living in a society. The physical Attractiveness plays a very important role as women want to compare themselves with the images of perfection, flawlessness, skinniness and beauty depicted in advertising. Would the one comparing herself would have an effect on her self-esteem and have a negative effect on the spokes person effectiveness. The results of the study showed that the people who compared themselves to the spokes person actually had a negative reaction and the effectiveness of the spokes person was reduced. This tells us that that there although there may be negative relation between negative effect and spokesperson efficiency but still the negative relation has to be more high for model derogation to take place. The patterns suggest an interesting limited condition. For Methodology 38 undergraduates were chosen and were given 5 photos of models to select from who would look better using the treadmill. The photos that were given were chosen from more than 100 photos of models from different magazines and none of them were from advertisements. While conducting the first study it was kept in mind that HAM would be the ones with who majority would like to compare themselves so to simplify the findings, a second study was performed. It was decided to take such a product that would emphasize more on the malleable part of woman’s physical appearance. This was done in order to see if the negative effect still existed when the body was not strongly emphasized on as it was done in the first case study. Regarding first study results strong evidence was shown that the comparers report relatively high levels of comparison with the model, whereas non-comparers report relatively low levels of comparison. Comparers had more negative feelings and found the models to be more attractive than the non-comparers. Results regarding Study 2 where One hundred eleven women participated indicated that the mean beauty evaluation (10.88) was again at approximately the midpoint of the scale and was not significantly different from the HAM beauty in the first study. This suggests again that the subjects view the model as representing the average beautiful model presented in advertising. The purpose of this study was see whether the highly attractive models had an ability to persuade and also if HAM’s had an positive or negative effect on women. Results showed that more importance is given to Spokesperson expertise and evaluation of product in a advertisement in product evaluation and intentions. So the dependent variable in this article will be self esteem and the independent variable will be advertising, and physical Attractiveness.

Images of Women in Advertisements: Effects on Attitudes Related to Sexual Aggression

This Article is written by Kyra Lanis and Katherine Covell in 1998. In this Article they have tried to make a point that portrayal of women by media can influence sexual attitudes and beliefs. As we all know that Advertising has a very strong power of persuading and manipulating. Bretl and Canto(1988) estimated and found out that a average american is exposed to over 37,000 advertisements each year. Certain Role Portrayals have been played by women in advertisements but according to this article very little attention has been given to the portrayal of sexuality of women in advertisements. So basically the purpose of this article and research is to see the effects of advertisements when women are presented in sexually provocative or a non-traditional manner. According to the article the stereotypic portrayal has an impact on attitudes of women as they become more conscious and have social anxiety meaning they start to believe that they have to be like the stereotypic women displayed in advertisements as the others might start judging them if they act differently. Secondly their desire and motivation to achieve anything becomes very low and their interest in politics participation decreases and this all because of the impact of stereotypic portrayed of women in advertisements.. For the experiment 90 participants were taken out of which 45 were males and the other 45 were females and they were all undergraduate students from university of Toronto. There were 2 studies on which participants had to participate. First study was to make own judgments about some advertisements and a second study in which they had to assist with the normalization of a questionnaire being made by a researcher. The results showed that control advertisements were rated as more appealing than the sex objects and progressive advertisements. The research further concludes by saying that although in some places women are also being depicted in wide range of social and occupational roles but there has been a vast increase in the sexually exploitive use of women in advertisements. So the dependent variable in this article will be sexual attitudes and beliefs whereas the independent variable will be portrayal of women and advertising.

A Longitudinal View of Women’s Role Portrayal In Television Advertising

The Article has been written by Marjorie Caballero and Paul J. Solomon in 1984. In this article by Adrian Furnham and Nadine Bitar, growing awareness of women’s role in society has been told meaning that women are now participating more in the labor force and that is changing the image of women and now people are again evaluating women’s contribution in a society. This role of women also has had many criticisms and some revolve around the stereotypical sex-role portrayal of women in the mass media. Here, the hypothesis of this article would be that the marketers and society have begun to accept the changing role of women.

The article also tells that according to the findings Women were portrayed more in decorative roles and in the home compared to men. And even if they were shown doing work in advertisements, the jobs that they had in the advertisements were traditional “female” Occupations and there was rarely a time when women were portrayed as professionals or authorities. The image we assume of a women by watching advertisements are of a young beautiful girl found in her home or kitchen and whenever she has any problems she is looking for some male influence to solve her problems. She is a sex-object and her job is take care of the male. For the research a quantitative methodology was followed, total of 2095 and 1872 commercials were reviewed and analyzed in 1977 and 1980 respectively. The Commercials were analyzed according to the following variable which was channel, time of day, ad distribution, characters women appear with, age, product category, role played by women and voice over.

According to report trends by Schneider and Schneider showed that the changing roles being shown in the advertisements are being accepted by the society. So the dependent variable in this article will be belief and the independent variable will be awareness.

The Impact of Women in Advertisements on Attitudes Towards Women

This article is written by Natalie J. MacKay and Katherine Covell in 1997. In this Article, a link is trying to be shown between images of women in advertisements and sexual attitudes. The continuous showing of these kind of advertisements undermine women’s striving for equality. Media has played a huge part in our culture. According to the article the people really do have perception that gender role and traits of men and women shown in advertisements is how they actually live in real world where men are shown as the one with the authority and the one’s dominating on women whereas women are shown as the one’s who only worry about their body image and are sex objects and are answerable to the men. According to the hypothesis that is males are most likely to be affected by advertisement type toward sexual aggression whereas females are not received partial support.

According to Livingstone and Green all this portrayal advertisement is creating negative attitudes. The article further says that over the past 5 decades the portrayals in advertisement has changed. Earlier women were shown as objects of sexual gratification, house makers, spouses and mothers. But now as women have started to enter the workforce, the image of women have begun to transform. Now women have started becoming the main characters in advertisements where they are portrayed as working in market place and in progressive occupations and are shown as equal to their male counterparts. The positive change has changed the image of women of only being sex objects. But the opposing portrayals of women have started to confuse people about women’s role in society because people still believed in the stereotyped women that were shown in previous advertisements. For Methodology 46 female and 46 middle class undergraduate students were selected from rural University College. Only Print Advertisement had been used. Before starting the study 150 colored advertisements from different magazines were rated by a senior psychology class. Rating was based on general appeal and the extent to which they met the criteria of exemplifying sex image. Out of the 150 advertisements there were 35 advertisements which were rated consistently as appealing and exemplifying sex image. These 35 advertisements were then shown to different undergraduate psychology class who did not take part in the main study. After there rating the final 20 advertisements were selected in which there was one set of 10 sex image and one set of 10 progressive image. After this the study took place and each participant was tested individually. They had to rate the picture on scale of 5 on the basis of use of color, graphical design, amount of product information presented, spatial layout and most importantly general appeal rating. The results Showed that Progressive Advertisements were rated more appealing than the sex image advertisements.

So we can conclude by saying that advertisements in which women have been shown in productive roles and are not shown as the typical stereotypical labels attached to them have been given unfavorable ratings. Perhaps it is because women are now being considered less feminine as they were shown earlier. So the dependent variable in this article will be attitudes and the independent variable will be portrayal advertisement.

The Portrayal of Women’s Images in Magazine Advertisements: Goffman’s Gender Analysis Revisited

This Article has been written by Mee-Eun Kang in 1997. The purpose of this article was to show the changes in the image of women in magazine advertisements since Goffman’s 1979 study. According to the findings indicated in the article the images of women seen in 1991 advertisements is pretty much the same compared to the images found in 1979 advertisements. But however change was found in the stereotypical portrayal of women. The magazine of 1991 showed more body display than those from 1979.

The hypothesis of this study is as follows:

The print advertisements in 1991 samples will show less frequent gender displays in terms of function ranking, ritualization of subordination, relative size, feminine touch, licensed withdrawal, body display, and independence (self-assertiveness) than those of 1979.

According to gender behavior told by Goffman relationship, playing the instructing role and main telephonic conversations are no longer shown in modern magazine advertisements. Moreover the article says that now the advertisements target more specific audiences. Other than that the Print Advertisement has almost remained the same but the huge change has been seen in the TV Advertisements and that is due to cultural alterations. The purpose of TV advertisements is to maximize demand of a product and using women in a sexist tone in advertisements has had more collective implications and according of Goffman if the media play their part correctly the people watching these advertisements are forced to believe that the way in which women are depicted in advertisements is indeed the way women live in reality. For methodology magazine advertisement was the unit of analysis. Print Advertisements were taken from 1979 and 1991 women’s popular magazines. A Total of 504 magazine advertisements were selected for this study in which 252 were from 1979 magazine and the other 252 were from 1991 magazine. The forms of gender display that were measured while comparing these advertisements were Feminine Touch, Relative Size, Function Ranking, Body Display, Self Assertiveness, Ritualization of Subordination and Licensed Withdrawal. The results showed that the there was not much change in the extent of sexism in magazines and the hypothesis is unsupported. Therefore it is concluded by saying that the portrayal of women in advertisements has not changed much since 1979. Still the same stereotyped images of women are being shown in magazine. So the dependent variable in this article will be perception of audiences and the independent variable will be advertisement and cultural alteration.

The Elastic Body Image: The Effect of Television Advertising and Programming on Body Image

This Article has been written by Myers, P.N., Biocca in 1992. In this article it has been told that the stereotypes of women shown in advertisements where women are being portrayed as being the sex object and the one’s with perfect body has started creating so many problems for the young generations girls. The girls have actually been so demotivated and disturbed by the stereotypes that they have started having eating disorders which has started to bring so many health issues for them. The hypothesis statement in this article is whether the “ideal body shown in advertisements and print advertisements play a key role in making women believe that body size is not perfect?”. Therefore the Independent Variable in this article will be Ideal Body Programming and Body Commercials which affect the females thinking towards their body images and mood.

According to Downs and Harrison work, viewers receive 5260 attractiveness messages per year out of which 1850 messages deal directly with beauty. Two researches with sample size of 1000 and 446 were conducted towards the perceived body image. All the participants were mid or late teens. The results showed that body images were misperceived. The last part of experimentation will be based on elastic body image referring to rickety self image. For that image following Hypothesis has been formed

H1: “Conflict will take place between internalized body ideal body and objective body shape because of exposure to body image advertising and programming. The conflict will lead to depression, self loathing, rejection and anxiety.”

For this a study took place where 76 college students in the age range of 15 to 24 took part to test the hypothesis. 120 advertisements were selected out of which 60 were BIC and the other 60 were NIC. The advertisement had to be rated for body image oriented ones and neutral image oriented ones. The advertisement which had highest scores in both category were selected and then video was made including the highest scoring commercials of both category’s and were watched by the subjects. The hypothesis was true to some amount because BIC did have a distorting effect but in way contradictory to the hypothesis.

The mood change before and after the tapes were played were measured by The Multiple Affect Adjective Check List (MAACL). Body image distortion was measured through a Body Image Detection Device (BIDD) was used to measure Body image distortion. The statistics were then used by the researchers to conclude the result on mood and body image through ANOVA and ANCOVA.

Waltz,T. (November 24, 2004). “The Effects of Magazines on the Self-Esteem and Portrayal of Stereotypes in Teenagers”

The Article has been written by Waltz T. on November 24, 2004. The article basically says that the Stereotypes shown in magazine and the print advertisements shown have had a huge impact on the self confidence and representation of girls in the real world as they feel less of themselves now and have been demoralized and demotivated after seeing such Print advertisements. The independent variable will be the stereotypes depicted in the advertisements whereas the dependent variable will be self esteem and self image. The Survey conducted at Mason High School in November 2004 was done to see if Magazines had any positive or negative effect on both genders and whether they believed that the gender portrayed in magazine were realistic or not and also to see if according to them the stereotypes were being enforced in magazine. The Female survey showed that the most read magazine among girls ranging in age from 15 to 18 years was Seventeen with 50%, 47% read Cosmopolitan, 21% read YM and 21% read other magazines. 41% of the survey takers took the tips that are offered in the magazine and 35% of the women believed to have a positive change in their lives. Only 9% felt that Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, YM and other magazines portrayed gender correctly whereas 79% felt stereotypes were being enforced by the variety of magazines. The Male surveys also had some interesting results. Age range was between 15 to 18. It was found out 31% of men that were surveyed read teenager magazines with maxim read by most at 23%, 4% read Esquire, 0% read Razor and 12% other magazines. Shockingly 19% of the males admitted that they read “girl” magazines. Only 8% men used the tips offered in the magazine. 19% of men had a positive change. 12% felt that gender was portrayed realistically and 50% believed that stereotypes were enforced in magazines. The author concludes by saying that magazines are the main reason for stereotypes having negative effects on teenagers nowadays and and giving them wrong version of the world and the people living in it. The article is related to the research as talks about the impact of print advertisements and how they have had effect on teenagers.

Joellen W. Hawkins and Cynthia S. Aber(1993) “Women in Advertisements in Medical Journals”

This Article has been written by Joellen W.Hawkins and Cynthia S. Aber in 1993. In this article it is written that according to studies conducted by Prather and Fidell there is more chance of women being in advertisements where they have to be pictured as needing psychoactive drugs, whereas there is more chance that men are depicted in advertisements for non-psychoactive drugs. Moreover the article says that all this is done because it is believed that women problems are related to emotional symptoms whereas men suffer problems, pressure and anxiety due to work pressure they get from their offices. The evidence of gender differences is also apparent in the wording of ads. Men’s problems are told in advertisement in a clean and direct manner whereas women’s problems are told in a humorous way because people assume that women really have no tension and pressures except to look good and maintain their body figures. A study was designed in order to see that what are the images of women as providers and consumers of health care that are portrayed in picture advertisements in medical journals and specially to see if there was any difference in the images of portraying men and women in picture advertisements. In Methodology 209 picture advertisements were taken from general and clinical medical journals and all pictures which portrayed women as either providers or consumer were included in the selected picture advertisements. Out of the 209 advertisements 76 were found to appear more than once, 43 appeared twice, 12 three times, 7 four times, 13 between 5 to 10 times and one ad appeared 17 times. The advertisements shown are very gender stereotyped showing women as disorientated and needing medication for sleep or depression, women as passive and men as active, men as authority figures and women as their patients, men as workers and women as sex objects or virgin. The article is concluded by saying that the number of labor force of women working has increased over the past two decades but a examination of medical advertisements made it clear that women are still not being shown the way they really are in reality. In this article the independent variable is image of women as psychoactive drugs and the dependent variable is the problems it creates among women. The article is related to the research as it tells the effects of advertisement on people according to the gender.

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