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The Portrayal of Women in the Media Essay

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The Portrayal of Women in the Media

Redbook magazine are devoted to selling products ranging from shoes to shampoo. The entire magazine only has only 210 pages. Approximately 6-8 min of every half hour television show is produced by ad agencies. Americans are bombarded with advertisements. We see them everyday in many different forms and through different mediums. Advertisers study America’s population through a systematic breakdown and analysis of our likes and dislikes in relation to our differences. These differences include gender, sexual orientation, economic status, location, race, ethnicity, and more. Advertisers have substantial knowledge of what appeals to each of these demographics and how these demographics will respond to different stimuli (i.e. visual audio, ect.) as well as where the advertising will be most effective. In other words, advertisers find it more beneficial to target specific audiences (Furnham; Mak, 1999).
One of the central audiences that advertisers focus their attention on is women. Being such a large part of society, American women are targeted along with every other group. Ads placed where women are most likely to see them are custom tailored for women. Studies give ad agencies an accurate idea of what it is that they need to show women in order to get them to buy their product and their brand. If these ads can improve a woman’s mood her increased euphoria will subliminally be linked with the stimulus (the ad). This will, in turn, have a positive effect on their attitudes toward the product and brand (Simpson; Horton, 1996). There are several strategies that are popular in both television and magazines, many of which involve images of men. Advertisers use images of men by themselves or in a variety of positions and settings to appeal to women. By far, the most common image of men in advertising is of that of the “young, white, able-bodied, and staunchly heterosexual” man (Jackson, 1994). The vast amount companies spend to advertise is proof in itself; these ads sell products. It should be noted that all television commercials analyzed in this paper come from the Lifetime network between 1pm and 3pm. The slogan of this network is “Lifetime: Television for Women”.

Basic Gender Differences
Studies involving both normal and brain damaged individuals have shown associations between gender and neuralgic activity...


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...Dennis A.; Cornish, Ian M. “Conservatism and Gender in the Perception of Sex-Roles in Television Advertisements”. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1993, Vol. 77, p642.

Melvin, Thomas E.; Treiber, Linda A. “Race, Gender, and Status: A Content Analysis of Print Advertisements in Four Popular Magazines”. Sociological Spectrum. Jul-Sep 2000, Vol. 20, Issue 3, p357.

Meyers-Levy, Joan. “Gender Differences in Cortical Organization: Social and Biochemical Antecedents and Advertising Consequences”. Ed. Eddie M. Clark et al. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1994.

Prakash, Ved. “Sex Roles and Advertising Preferences”. Journal of Advertising Research. May/Jun 1992, Vol. 32, Issue 3, p43.

Simpson, Penny M.; Horton, Steve. “Male Nudity in Advertisements: A modified Replication and Extension of Gender and Product Effects”. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Summer 1996, Vol. 24, Issue 3, p257.

Stern, Barbara B.; Holbrook, Morris B. “Gender and Genre in the Interpretation of Advertising Text”. Gender Issues and Consumer Behavior. Ed. Janeen Arnold Costa. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1994.

Sutherland, Max. Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer. St. Leonards: Allen and Unwin, 1993.


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