Essay on Gender and Advertising

7656 Words May 4th, 2016 31 Pages
C H A P T E R 7

Gender and Advertising

How Gender Shapes Meaning

The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, “It’s a girl.”

—Shirley Chisholm

Men are dogs and women are cats. Women are from Venus and men are from Mars. Writers, filmmakers, psychologists, and advertisers all have used the idea that men and women are different to develop stories, create conflict, and provide persuasive imagery. Not only do advertisers view men and women differently, but men and women also bring different perspectives to advertising. Thus, we can assume that men and women create dif-ferent meanings from the advertisements they see. Gender roles in our society have changed dramatically since
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In Spain, for example, the propor-tion of young women in the labor force has now reached American levels.

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90 CONTROVERSIES IN CONTEMPORARY ADVERTISING

In addition to their changing roles in the labor force and in the family, women have also increased their power as consumers. Today, women wield incredible buying power: They purchase or influence the purchase of 85% of all consumer goods, including 91% of all new homes and 65% of all cars (“Marketing to Women Quick Facts,” 2011). In the United States, women start 70% of new businesses. A study by Continuum (2011) found that women control 65% of global spending, a total of about $20 trillion. By 2014, the World Bank predicts that the global income of women will grow by more than $5 trillion (Wallace, 2011). Around the world, women are delaying marriage to increase their educational and career opportunities.

GENDER AND INFORMATION PROCESSING

As discussed in Chapter 2, advertisers provide messages and leave the meaning up to con-sumers to develop. Advertisers are interested in similarities and differences in how men and women receive and evaluate information. One difference involves the actual creation of meaning from a given advertisement. Men look directly at the primary message of a given advertisement (e.g., “buy this beer”). Women not only evaluate the primary message, but they also pick up multiple clues from the message and weave together threads to intuit and infer

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