Select Page

This paper is comparing the roles of men and women in advertising. I attached 10 commercials featuring women, and 10 commercials featuring men, with the layout of the paper. We also have to look at a secondary article (only pages 74-83), which I have attached and compare it to the research we have found from looking at the commercials.


Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
The roles of men and women in advertising discussion
Just from $10/Page
Order Essay

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Introduction: 1-Introduce the Topic (Observation)
2 – Your purpose – Define the new angles
3- Your hypothesis
Method: Primary——> Quantitative (Numerical)
Observation —-> Variables (Time, Media/Audience, Gender)
Secondary Source —-> Article- Men are Portrayed
Main Body: Section 1- Commercials featuring women
(Overview, Describe them in general, use examples, underlying message)
– Variations
Section 2- Men
(Overview, Describe them in general, use examples, underlying message)
Conclusion: Wrap up the discussion
-Restate Hypothesis
-Final Perspective (on media, and viewers)
Commercials Featuring Women: (Nike) (Pizza Hut) (Apple-Depth Control) (Revlon) (Aveeno-Jennifer Aniston) (Moms that Rock) (Brows) (M&Ms- Christina Applegate) (Serena Williams- Bumble)
Commercials Featuring Men: (Statefarm-Helium) (Apple- Alejandro) (Geico-Ice Cream) (Old Spice- Deon Cole & Thomas Q Jones) (Gillette) (Beard Wash) (Jenny Craig)
(Nutrisystem- Anthony Davis) (Mattress) (Volvo)
Volume 10(1): 74–96
Copyright © 2010 SAGE
DOI: 10.1177/1470593109355246
Is advertising a barrier to male movement
toward gender change?
James Gentry
University of Nebraska, USA
Robert Harrison
Western Michigan University, USA
Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to investigate male (and father) role portrayals
in advertising from a masculine theoretical perspective. We note that the traditional
masculine hegemony in the US is still seen almost exclusively in television commer-­
cials, even at a time when masculine roles in society are changing rapidly. We summa-­
rize the literature on masculinity, noting its changing nature, and discuss the role of
advertising in maintaining the status quo. We then present results from three content
analyses of commercials during programs targeted to adult males, females, and chil-­
dren. Results suggest that portrayals of gender roles in commercials have not become
more gender neutral. While women are being shown in less stereotypically traditional
roles, male portrayals still reflect a very traditional masculine perspective. We con-­
clude that male confusion concerning what masculine roles are expected of them is
being exacerbated by their portrayals in commercials. Key Words family roles
gender masculine hegemony masculinity

While the field of marketing has been somewhat slow in responding to the emer-­
gence of the feminist perspective, developments in this theoretical approach
­indicate growing attention in the discipline (Catterall et al., 2000; Stern, 1993).
Men’s studies are theoretically rooted in critical and feminist theory. Critical theo-­
retical perspectives are concerned with empowering human beings to transcend
the constraints placed on them by race, class, and gender (Fay, 1987). Like criti-­
cal and feminist theory, the masculine theoretical perspective seeks out the voices
marginalized by traditional forms of masculinity. Conventional thinking suggests
that masculinity could never be marginalized because it lies in the center of power
Is advertising a barrier to male movement toward gender change?
James Gentry and Robert Harrison
dynamics as men remain privileged in society, controlling most institutions known
to ‘man.’ The nature of the masculine hegemony is such that even men who favor
egalitarian perspectives are somewhat unaware of how deep male privilege runs
globally throughout the fiber of most societies.
The idea of men’s studies is often considered ridiculous, a step backwards, a
redundancy, and a threat to the progress women have made (Sommer, 2000).
However, Gardiner (2002) notes that some men are being marginalized as well,
as the culturally idealized form of masculine character, or hegemonic masculin-­
ity, harms them because it narrows their options, forces them into confined roles,
dampens their emotions, inhibits their relationships with other men, precludes inti-­
macy with children, limits their social consciousness, distorts their self-­perception,
and dooms them to living in fear of not living up to the masculine ideal.
We will investigate advertising presented to different segments (men, women,
and children) through a critical masculine lens. Masculine perspective studies in
marketing have largely been limited to a focus on the male body image in advertis-­
ing (Harrison, 2008; Patterson and Elliott, 2002; Schroeder and Zwick, 2004). In
research investigating social role depictions in advertising and in television pro-­
gramming, the discussion of masculine roles has often been a subtext to the larger
discussion about women. This is logical, as female role portrayals have been in far
greater need of change.
When middle-class women entered the workplace en masse in the US in the
1970s, gender roles became much more dynamic. Much of society’s focus was on
improving the status of women in various domains, but some attention was also
paid to the resultant change in the status of men. Pleck (1981) noted that men in
all societies were being subjected to an unprecedented number of pressures due to
social, economic, historical, and political change, resulting in serious male identity
crises as men attempted to meet the many conflicting and contradictory demands
made of them due to their male sex role. Holt and Thompson (2004) discuss some
men’s attempts to use consumption to avoid the ‘emasculation’ occurring due to
these changes. They promote a new definition of masculinity, which they label
as the Man-of-Action Hero, after conducting interviews with informants who
­successfully handled the identity crises.
Some men, however, are having problems handling those crises. Lemon (1995)
noted the mounting evidence of the declining physical and emotional health of
men as supporting the contention of a crisis of masculinity. For example 2004
suicide rates among US men aged 25 to 34 in 2001 were double those in 1980, and
males now account for one in five cases of anorexia nervosa, up from one in ten in
1980 (Salzman et al., 2005: 189). Garcia (2008: 8) reports a study from the Journal
of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2007 that found a population-wide
decline in men’s testosterone levels over the past 20 years. Garcia (2008: 129) also
cites a National Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that found that
86% of all adolescent suicides are committed by boys.
Numerous scholars have noted that males are facing tensions in the marketplace
between conforming to social expectations about what it means to be a man and
the desire to break away from the constraints of hegemonic masculinity through
marketing theory 10(1)
consumption (Elliott and Elliott, 2005; Holt and Thompson, 2004; Kimmel and
Tissier-Desbordes, 2000; Otnes and McGrath, 2001; Ourahmoune, 2009; Tuncay
and Otnes, 2007). For example Ourahmoune (2009) discussed how male lingerie
options in Paris have expanded to include thongs and g-strings, mainly target-­
ed at metrosexual males, creating more complex ‘acceptability’ boundaries than
the ­ traditional boxer versus brief conundrum. Cultural change monitor Sarah
Boumphrey (2007) suggests that cultural trends have advanced to the point that
metrosexual behaviors will be seen as ‘normal’ by today’s young males as they
There are multiple explanations possible for the changes being seen in society
in the status of men but, as Lemon (1995: 62) noted, men today, more than ever
before, are confused about what it means to be a man. Thompson (1996: 404)
notes that this had indeed been an issue for some time as he refers to the ‘unsettled
longstanding cultural conceptions of manhood and fatherhood.’ Thompson and
Fletcher (2005) cite a Leo Burnett study finding that 61% of French men, 53% of
Brazilian men, and 50% of American men say that expectations of men in soci-­
ety are unclear. Advertising’s role in creating this level of confusion may be quite
influential. Lemon (1995: 63) pointed out that ‘while social, economic, historical
and political change has rendered traditional male roles obsolete in some respects,
the mass media … still propagate the old stereotypical roles for men and women.
Men are thus confronted with contradictory and conflicting images of themselves.’
Garcia (2008: 114) described this phenomenon in a more damning fashion:
In an age where sex, power, and materialism rule, it’s not just men but masculinity itself that
has become commoditized, packaged, and predigested for the masses. Lulled into complacency
by Budweiser ads – and Budweiser itself – most men are all too happy to gorge on reassuring
platitudes and pretend that the mindless violence and materialism engulfing their gender has
nothing to do with them.
This confusion about ‘masculinity’ creates complexities for marketers as well.
For example Avery (2008) discussed how the traditionally masculine brand icon
Porsche encountered problems with its feminine brand extension, the Cayenne
SUV. While Porsche’s promotional strategy attempted to androgenize the brand,
male purchasers of the SUV were found to display hyper-masculine behaviors in
order to avoid exclusion from the ‘Porsche in-group.’ Another example of marketer
confusion was the original targeting of the microwave oven to men (Catterall and
Maclaran, 2002: 415).
A specific context in which this confusion is encountered by male consumers was
investigated by Harrison and his colleagues (Harrison and Gentry, 2007; Harrison et
al., 2009) when they looked into the transitions that single fathers make to become
truly involved parents (to ‘mother’ in Risman’s [1986] terms). A major ­difficulty
in the reprioritizations of their lives was the need to accept a modified ‘masculine’
self-identity, in order to become a caring parent. This redefinition of their mas-­
culinities was made more problematic by advertising that seemingly embeds the
status quo in terms of traditional gender norms. Most informants were too timepressured to watch much television, but those that did were generally offended
Is advertising a barrier to male movement toward gender change?
James Gentry and Robert Harrison
by the male (and especially father) portrayals which they saw. Increasingly, men
are facing the ‘juggling lifestyles’ discussed by Thompson (1996), but with a far
weaker background in terms of family responsibilities, as well as facing advertising
emphasizing traditional roles often inconsistent with current expectations.
Masculinity in the household
West and Zimmerman (1987: 169) define ‘gender’ as the activity of managing
­situated conduct in light of normative conceptions of attitudes and activities
appropriate for one’s sex category. The definition implies that existing social norms
tend to reinforce status differences between the sexes, which fits within Gramsci’s
(1971) concept of hegemony. ‘Hegemony’ describes the ability of the dominant
social group to obtain consent from those being subjugated; most often the sub-­
jugated can be led to consent to their own oppression. David and Brannon (1976)
noted that recorded history is almost literally His-story.
Prinsloo (2006) notes that the hegemonic frame tends to constitute a ‘good’
father as the responsible breadwinner/provider and protector. Similarly, Bernard
(1981) noted that gender identity for men has traditionally been associated with
the competitive rationality of work rather than the intimate emotionality of ­family.
Thus, masculine gender identity has been tied to the family generally only in terms
of how well a man provides for his family.
The 1980s, with the mass entry of middle-class women into the workplace, saw
academic controversy in terms of what roles fathers should play. Some scholars,
aided by portrayals of a more caring, sensitive father in television programs, made
optimistic projections of changing gender roles. Ferber and Birnbaum (1980: 269)
suggested that since ‘there is a diminishing utility for professional and housework,
spouses are likely to find a more balanced sharing of housework beneficial, and
the husband may enjoy getting to know the children better.’ Sussman (1993: 312)
predicted that changes within the family would not revert to the old superordi-­
nate/subordinate pattern, but rather that equity and sharing would grow in both
prevalence and incidence in the coming years. Pleck (1987: 93) suggested that a
new image, summed up in the term ‘the new father’, was clearly on the rise in
print and broadcast media. The new father differed from older images of involved
fatherhood in several key respects: he was present at the birth; he was involved
with his children as infants, not just when they were older; he participated in the
actual day-to-day work of child care, and not just play; he was involved with his
daughters as much as his sons. To some extent, this optimistic perspective of father
parenting may have been based on domestic comedies on television (Cantor, 1990),
which showed women as more independent than previously and fathers as more
­caring and more domesticated. The message presented was that middle-class men
are kind, gentle, loving, just, and supportive husbands and fathers and therefore
worth getting and keeping. Working-class men were more likely to be portrayed
as ­ buffoons, but at least they were easily manageable. Wife battering and child
abuse did not occur, and divorce was rarely observed (Cantor, 1990). Like many
marketing theory 10(1)
television portrayals, these family ones in the late 1980s and early 1990s did not
represent the reality of American lifestyles.
Evidence (Gardyn, 2000) from the 1990s indicates that fathers spent more time
with their children than previous fathers had, but also that the time was spent in
play and not the type of activities expected of mothers. There is little evidence
that fathers in the 1990s and since have taken over traditionally ‘female’ household
roles. Further, some scholars in this time period were adamant that men would not
become nurturing fathers. Day and Mackey (1989: 402) proposed that ‘the roles of
father and mother are complementary rather than interchangeable and thus that
the standards of evaluating the role performance of fathers and mothers should be
different.’ Pruett (1993: 46) warned men against trying to be like mothers:
Obviously, fathers are not mothers – never will be and shouldn’t try … the mother-mimic tactic
soon falters. It feels wrong at all levels, because it is. The child doesn’t expect it, and the father
can’t do it … Fathering is not mothering any more than mothering is ever fathering.
As one mother in Russell’s (1986) study noted, ‘I am still the Executive Director
of children.’ No quick changes took place in this role, as Maume and Mullin (1993)
found that 94% of mothers said that they made all or most of the childcare arrange-­
ments. Coltrane (2000) concluded that research in the area of household duties
has almost invariably assumed that women will take the manager role, with men
occasionally serving as their helpers. This was true even with childcare, the house-­
hold duty found to be the most enjoyable by most fathers. Thompson’s (1996)
informants felt that, even when they received help from their spouses and children,
the domestic responsibilities remained their own.
Therefore, men’s roles as fathers are often discussed in terms of the first three
stages of Russell’s (1986) developmental model (i.e. moral teacher, breadwinner,
and sex-role model), but seldom in terms of the fourth stage – the nurturing father.
It has been repeatedly noted that while fathers saw themselves as being involved
in their children’s lives, their contributions were not hands-on as were those by
mothers; rather they involved playfulness, the transmission of life skills, and con-­
versational dominance (Lareau, 2000). Lareau also noted that most fathers, unlike
mothers, did not know the names of their children’s friends.
In part, the mixed representation of males (and fathers) is due to the very dif-­
ferent images of fathers being seen by women and by men. Frequent research has
found that the portrayal of men in male media is quite different from that shown
in female media (Barthel, 1992; Coltrane and Allan, 1994; Coltrane and Messineo,
2000; Kaufman, 1999; Kervin, 1990; Prinsloo, 2006; Sabo and Jansen, 1992; Wenner,
1991). More specifically, Cantor (1990) found that only a small portion of the
current barrage of television images contains positive models of men as nurtur-­
ing parents, and even those provide very mixed blessings about fathering. Thus,
despite the illusion of a nurturing, helpful father that got much air play (in pro-­
gramming targeted at women and children), research has consistently indicated
that husbands are not doing much more housework than they ever did (although
they are on a relative basis, as wives are doing much less; Robinson and Godbey,
Is advertising a barrier to male movement toward gender change?
James Gentry and Robert Harrison
Types of masculinity
Before investigating differences in gender portrayals across commercials targeted
to different segments, we are going to summarize the literature on masculinity, as
the primary finding of Harrison and Gentry’s (2007) study of single fathers is their
need to redefine their masculinity as they become involved parents. Traditionally
(or at least in the 20th century), only one form of masculinity was conceived;
this masculinity is non-feminine (or anti-feminine), independent, heterosexual
(or ‘anti-homosexual’), tough, and takes risks. However, what’s ‘male’ has varied,
shifting over time from the ‘genteel patriarch’ and ‘heroic artisan’ of the 18th and
19th centuries, figures who did not compete with each other, to the ‘marketplace
man’ of the later 19th and 20th centuries who competed directly with other men
(Kimmel, 1996, 1997). Stearns (1994) described the transition from the 19th to
20th centuries as from passionate, Victorian era masculinity to the impersonal but
friendly, emotionally inexpressive masculinity of today.
David and Brannon (1976) identified four main components of such mascu-­
line expectations: the big wheel (a preoccupation with competition, achievement,
and success); the sturdy oak (an emphasis on physical toughness and emotional
­stoicism); no sissy stuff (homophobia and an avoidance of all things feminine);
and give’em hell (an emphasis on being aggressive and forceful). Similarly, Deaux
and Major (1987) noted that any behavior that can be perceived as feminine in
a given context constitutes a role violation for heterosexual men. For example
Campbell (1997) noted that for some men at least, public expression of distaste
for shopping is seen as a confirmatio …
Purchase answer to see full

Order your essay today and save 10% with the discount code ESSAYHSELP