Are Brands Behind the Times When It Comes to Gender Stereotypes in Ads?

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This is an update to the post I wrote back in 2019 based off of a article.

Gender roles and stereotypes have been a topic of debate for decades. There are many movements aimed at breaking down traditional gender roles and eradicating gender stereotypes. However, despite the progress that has been made in other areas, gender stereotypes still exist in some industries, including advertising. This blog post will explore the issue of gender stereotypes in advertising, and whether brands are behind the times when it comes to addressing this problem.

Gender Stereotypes in Advertising

Gender stereotypes are often perpetuated in advertising because they are seen as effective in selling certain products. For example, ads for cleaning products often feature women, while ads for cars are typically geared towards men. These stereotypes are not only outdated, but they can also be harmful, as they reinforce negative gender roles and promote inequality.

The Impact of Gender Stereotypes in Advertising

The impact of gender stereotypes in advertising is significant. Studies have shown that exposure to gender stereotypes in advertising can lead to negative attitudes towards women, as well as the perpetuation of harmful gender roles. Additionally, gender stereotypes can make people feel excluded if they don’t fit into traditional gender roles.

Brands and Gender Stereotypes in Advertising

Some brands have made efforts to combat gender stereotypes in their advertising. For example, in 2015, Always launched the #LikeAGirl campaign, which aimed to empower girls and challenge gender stereotypes. However, these efforts are still few and far between, and many brands continue to perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes.

Here are some others not to be ignored:

  1. Shaving Products: Companies like Gillette and Schick have traditionally targeted men in their advertising, portraying them as rugged, strong, and emphasizing the importance of a clean shave for masculinity.
  2. Cleaning Products: Cleaning product advertisements often featured women as the primary consumers and focused on portraying them as responsible for maintaining a clean and tidy home. Brands like Mr. Clean and Pine-Sol have used this approach.
  3. Beauty Products: Cosmetic brands like Revlon, Maybelline, and L’Oréal have frequently showcased women in their ads, promoting products that enhance their appearance and emphasizing societal beauty standards. They often use images of flawless skin, long lashes, and perfect makeup.
  4. Cars: Automobile advertisements have often targeted men, emphasizing power, speed, and performance. These ads typically feature male drivers and associate owning a particular car with masculinity and dominance.
  5. Toy Brands: Toy companies have traditionally reinforced gender stereotypes by marketing certain toys exclusively to either boys or girls. For instance, action figures and construction sets have been marketed towards boys, while dolls and kitchen playsets have been marketed towards girls.
  6. Alcoholic Beverages: Beer and liquor advertisements have often portrayed men as the primary consumers, featuring scenes of male bonding, sports events, or attractive women. These ads have typically associated drinking with masculinity and social success.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

Sadly, gender stereotypes are still a pervasive problem in advertising. While some brands have taken steps to address this, there is still much work to be done. It is important for brands to recognize the negative impact of gender stereotypes, and to make a concerted effort to break down these stereotypes in their advertising. Not only will this lead to more inclusive and diverse advertising, but it will also promote greater gender equality in society as a whole.

What do you think? Is advertising getting better? Is it the same or worse? I’d love to hear what you think!

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