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Gender Perceptions in Television Advertising

It is well-known that it has a strong influence on the person in the mass media. They are one of the main sources of socialization for the individual, along with the family, the school, and other public associations. Any information passing through the social institutions we are considering instantly penetrates into the minds of people and forms various opinions, attitudes, and stereotypes in it, with the help of which each person builds his attitude to the perceived information. But most often, the transfer of information along with it is transmitted, followed by the opinion and the attitude to its content, which some people want to form from others.

One way or another, there are always gender stereotypes in advertising, it constantly shapes the images of a man and a woman from the majority of viewers. However, these images and stereotypes also depend on our self-esteem, perception of others, choice of profession, and, ultimately, all our behavior.

Therefore, at present it is important to study the socio-psychological nature of gender roles and stereotypes. In our work, we tried to consider gender differences in television advertising, as advertising on television is the most common and has an impact on viewers on several sensory channels (visual, auditory), transferring and forming images of a man and a woman.

This issue becomes more relevant if we consider this problem from the youth’s point of view. As a moving part of society, young people form values in accordance with the attitudes and stereotypes adopted in society. Often, it is advertising that forms the standards of behavior and the activities of men and women.

The purpose of our study is to compare gender perceptions in television advertising with the images of the ideal man and ideal woman among modern youth.

The study involved 51 people, 51 students from various faculties of Omsk State University, F.M. Dostoevsky, aged 17 to 22. Among them were 29 girls and 22 young people. In our work, we applied the semantic differential and questioning method.

During the first questionnaire survey, we found the most memorable videos – “male” and “female” advertising.

In “male” advertising, most young men mention advertising beer (“Arsenalnoe beer”, “Stolichnoe”, “Tolstyak”, “Klinskoe”). Girls also often refer to the advertising of chewing gum “Dirol” (gymnast on the crossbar) and advertising of male lotions and deodorants (“Nivea,” “OldSpice”).

In the “women’s” advertising, all respondents, regardless of gender, chose to advertise the air conditioner “Lenor.” The advertisement for “MaxWellHouse” coffee attracted most of the girls, and the young people showed more interest in advertising chewing gum “Dirol” with Julia Menshova.

Using the method of semantic differential, we identified the main factors that determine “male” and “female” advertising. Evaluating “male” advertising, both girls and boys sing out the power factor; the second most important factor for young men is the activity factor, while the girls have an evaluation factor. This can be explained by the fact that girls focus on the external attractiveness of advertising, and young people pay attention to the dynamic nature of the advertising story in “male” advertising. Dynamism is confirmed by the results of the survey, where young men note that in “male” advertising, they are attracted by the movements, actions of men, plot, and fast music.

In advertising, where the main character is a woman, both young men and girls sing out the evaluation factor. The respondents associate this advertising less with activity. This is confirmed by the data of the questionnaire, in which girls and young men indicated that women’s appearance attracted them in “women’s” advertising.

In the questionnaire, the girls note that the ideal man should be strong, hardy, and bold. And, according to the young men, the ideal man is an intelligent, erudite person. This can be explained by the fact that all the young respondents are university students, seeking to gain knowledge and higher education.

For girls, the ideal woman should be home, family, and caring. And at the same time, the ideal woman is cute, beautiful, gentle, and kind. Young men believe that the ideal woman is beautiful and pretty; intelligent and educated (“but not smarter than a man”). However, highlighting such qualities as home, family, economy, and industriousness, young men assign a place to a woman near a home. Therefore, the image of a domestic, family, affectionate woman prevails both in the girls’ and the young men’s opinions.

The results of the questionnaire as a whole also confirm the estimates by the semantic differential. According to respondents, the ideal man and the image of a man in advertising are strong, enduring, and independent, but female respondents note in “male” advertising one more additional quality inherent in people as drinkers, which can be explained by a large number of beer commercials.

As for the image of a woman, here we can note two main points: a woman in advertising is beautiful, pretty, gentle, and soft. But at the same time, she has many problems (she then erases, then prepares, then cleans, then she washes). Thus, the image of an ideal woman practically coincides with the image of a woman formed in Russian advertising. In Russia, the woman still remains the keeper of the hearth, whereas in “Western” advertising, the image of a woman gradually turns into the image of a businesswoman, an active woman, or a businesswoman.

Thus, as our study showed, in the opinion of the majority of students stereotypical gender images produced by advertising affect the formation of the ideal image of a man and a woman in modern youth, and the “advertising” stereotypes concerning the relationship between the sexes and the stereotypes about men and women coincide with the opinion of the majority of student youth.

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