Media Assignment: Analyzing Gender Messages in Advertisements

OBJECTIVE: To recognize the gender messages put forth by the media that influence how women are viewed in our society. As Jean Kilbourne discussed in her Killing Us Softly series, images of women are used in all forms of advertising. People are subjected (consciously and subconsciously) to 3,000 ads a day; such pervasiveness is powerful in its impact on society’s beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours. Take a look at this 1970’s sexist ad (scroll down):


For this assignment, you will be analyzing PRINT advertisements (not commercials on youtube: youtube commercials WILL NOT BE MARKED nor will magazine covers or pictures from magazine articles so make sure you are using advertisements ) to identify stereotypical gender messages as discussed in Module 2, “Gender, Culture and the Media” and explored through readings and visuals. REQUIRED:

1. BAD AD: Find a print ad that you feel portrays women negatively; please chose one that has not been used in our course. This must be a current ad, not one from another decade. Using the ad, discuss the following: • What product is being advertised? Discuss whether the ad is effective in advertising that product. • Discuss what you find problematic about the ad and why, so why you chose this ad for the ‘bad’ ad. This will require detail and depth of discussion. Be specific about what you are critiquing and why you find it to be problematic, providing details with reference to course material, specifically Module 2. • Are any stereotypic images used? How? Why? We looked at many different stereotypical ways of showing women especially in Killing Us Softly 4. Discuss. • Why do you think the advertiser used the details that were used in this ad? What is the purpose of these images and details? • What do you think is the message of this advertisement? There may be a few messages: obvious (intended) and not-so-obvious ones. Ensure this answer addresses the idea of ‘controlling images’ (from module 2) and how they relate to our patriarchal society.

2. GOOD AD: Find a print ad (again, current) that you feel positively portrays women and, using the ad, consider the following, providing written answers for each. NOTE: Dove Ads are not to be used. • Is the ad effective in advertising the product? • Discuss why you chose this ad as the ‘good ad’. This will require detail and depth of discussion. Be specific about what you are critiquing and in what way you find it to be positive. Site specific details. • Discuss how the ad dispels or contradicts stereotypical portrayals of women. • Why do you think the advertiser used the details in this ad that were used? What was the purpose of these images? • What do you think is the message of this advertisement? There may be a few messages: obvious (intended) and not-so-obvious ones.

3. GENDER-BENDING AD: A ‘gender-bending’ ad is one that blurs the differences between the sexes. There are some examples on television today as described in this website below. A gender-bending ad would show a man (or a woman) in a typically female (or male) role or situation. For example, a man would be staring into a mirror looking at his gray roots when the hair colour ‘genie’ appears to save the day with her magic colour wand. Or a woman is shown in an adventurous or professional manner (without being portrayed as a ‘bitch’). These are gender representations which we don’t see much in ads today. Normally men and women are shown in very different and separate roles/ways. The first link provides information and a very good example of ‘gender bending’ or ‘reverse hypersexualization’ where men are shown in ways that are usually reserved only for women. And the second one provides good examples of g-b ads. Now that you have had a few opportunities to start looking at ads critically, you will be creating your own gender-bending advertisement. You will create this ad by using some type of poster-creating program, one that allows you to use text, art, your own pictures and images found on the web to create a ‘poster’ (though it need not be as large as a poster is usually). Note: Using an existing ad just taken from the web is not acceptable and will result in a ‘0’ for this portion of your assignment. Here are the programs you can use, but if you are more comfortable with another program which will do the same thing, then please go ahead and use it. All that is required is a good ‘product’ that you can submit as part of your assignment, either right in your assignment or as a link for me to go to when marking: a. Microsoft Word. Here’s a link to a ‘how-to’ demonstration which shows you exactly how to make a poster using that program:

#Media #Assignment #Analyzing #Gender #Messages #Advertisements

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