There are stable images of men and women roles in the 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 thing, which are in requisition. Gender plays in 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 roles of authorities in the advertisements who either give examples of 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 woman in advertising, such as treating women as sex object, housewife, submissive, mother, professional, dumb blonde, in order to analyse social position of women and their perspectives.
Lets focus on each type of advertisements in order to study the social role it gives to women.
Women in advertising
First, and most traditional category of advertisements depicts women as typical housewife, fulfilling the major gender stereotype of the mankind. These characters radiate sweetness, warm-heartedness and passion to house holding. For example, the advertisement of commercially laundry “Bryza”, underlines the laundry to be totally 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 issued connected with house holding. Another bright example of such an attitude is an ad of 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 advertisement, where women act as typical housewives during one commercial block. Such an attitude humiliates female dignity and strengthens social stereotype about the woman as a housewife. There is nothing bad in being a good housewife or taking care about husband and children. It’s bad when all the life is artificially and intentionally centred all around this aspect. In order to understand the accordance of this category to ethical norms, we should define on the ethics first. Ethics, or moral philosophy is defined as a set of regulation, which define right or wrong behaviour. From the ethical point of view, popularising the ideal of house keeping can not be regarded as something wrong. We should look deeper into the root of the problem to see another ethical problem here. Such kind 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 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 main destinations of all women. We all know about this from the childhood. Unfortunately, fatherhood isn’t considered to be one of the main social roles of the man. Rising children is considered to be 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 to school, cook them breakfast, take care about their health, appearance, toys, etc. The chances to see a man in the role of loving father is very small or equals zero. These stereotypes about the role of woman as submissive mother are reflected in ad of Chewi-Quaker. Small girl is worried about new surrounding 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 ad when loving and caring mother helps her kids. It’s hard for us to imagine any man on the place of the woman in the ads about children. These ads are light and touching, but they serve a bad service persuading the society that taking care about the children is fully feminine responsibility. The social role of woman 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 the society.
Same as the first category, the ads which include the patters 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 social and personal life of the women.