Advertising as a Medium of Gender-Biased Communication

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Course paper ADVERTISING AS A MEDIUM OF GENDER-BIASED COMMUNICATION CONTENTS Introduction 1. Cultural Preconditions of Gender Stereotypes in Communication 1.1 Intercultural perspective on gender and communication 1.2 Proxemics and gender 2. Manifestation of Gender Bias in Mass Communication 2.1 Gender Stereotyping in TV Advertisements 2.2 Gender role stereotyping in radio advertisements 3. Language Issues in Advertising 3.1 Gender and language usage 3.2 Differences in language usage and worldview 3.3 Voiceover characteristics 3.4 Word choice 3.5 Use of ArgumentsConclusion Conclusion References Introduction Gender issues in communication have attracted attention of many researchers. There has been considerable interest in the possible contributions of the mass media to the

origins and maintenance of gender roles (Courtney & Whipple, 1974; Culley & Bennett, 1976; Dominick & Rausch, 1972; Furnham, Abramsky & Gunter, 1997; Furnham & Skae, 1996; Kolbe & Langefeld, 1993; O'Donnell & O'Donnell, 1978). Studies using educational books (Lobban, 1975), picture books (Weitzman, Eiffer, Hokada, & Ross, 1972), and comic strips (Potkay & Potkay, 1984) have shown that men and women are portrayed in stereotypic fashion, suggesting that the media are by and large consistent in their gender role stereotyping,1 which underlies the importance of the present research. The purpose of this research is to reveal gender stereotyping in advertising. Grounding on the accessible sources survey, the paper offers an overview of the

significant role that mass communication plays in contemporary gender issues. At a closer look, the communication perspective allows us to examine gender communication as a form of intercultural communication. It can be assumed then that, having gained a considerable part of the communication process, mass media are subject to gender stereotypes, which is examined on TV and radio advertising. Focusing on these two types of media is dictated by their primary impact channel — auditory, which makes TV and radio advertisements more difficult to be ignored by the audience than similar messages in the printed types of mass media. The analysis considers both social and linguistic issues, aiming at detecting some general features of how gender bias is manifested in advertisements. The

paper consists of the introduction, three chapters, conclusion, reference list (sources directly quoted) and the list of works consulted (sources used during the research but not referred to in the text of this paper). 1. Cultural Preconditions of Gender Stereotypes in Communication 1.1 Intercultural perspective on gender and communication Cross-gender communication is seen by many scholars (such as Porter, Samovar,2 and Penington3) as a form of intercultural communication. The constituents of intercultural communication are points at which significant differences may occur in communication patterns, habits, and traditions across cultures. Communicative practices not only reflect notions about gender, but they also create cultural concepts of gender. Message sources privileged by

society as legitimate knowledge generators create a web of socially compelling discourses. Thus, religious, mythic, philosophic, and scientific discourses teach us, among other things, about society's values and rules related to gender. It is no accident, then, that American stereotypes focus on the active male and the supporting female, or that Plato defined women as "lesser men," or that Aristotle described women as "a deformity, a misbegotten male," or that St. Thomas Aquinas argued that god should not have created women, or that craniologists of the nineteenth century argued that women's smaller heads justified their subordinate position in society (thus initiating all the "pretty little head" rhetoric about women), or that Freud believed women