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 ...view middle of the document...
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. Women are left hemispheric dependant while men, conversely, are right-hemispheric dependent (Myers-Levy, 1994). Because each hemisphere has properties associated with it, this information is extremely relevant to the advertising industry. In what academia has denoted as the modern era, the reader (those to whom the advertisement is directed) was seen as a passive unbiased entity. The postmodern view, however, sees the reader as an active part of the “ communication triad” (figure 1) (Stern; Holbrook, 1994).
This means that the reader actively contributes to the exchange of information. If different readers interpret the text (the ad) differently, the author (advertiser) needs to create a text that will be interpreted the correct way by a specific reader. Knowing how women think allows the advertisers to create ads that women will interpret in a positive way, therefore increasing their likelihood to buy the product.
Women depend on the left hemisphere, which responds better to audio stimuli. Practically, this means women respond in a positive manner to sounds. Television and magazine medium reach more of the female population than radio. This means several things. First, for women, information should be written or spoken whenever possible. Also, the ad industry has come up with many techniques to increase the effect of visual ads. The left hemisphere breaks visual images up into parts while the right sees images more holistically. This means that ads for women should be more detailed and provide more complete information (Prakash, 1992). Women (because of their left side dependence) view ads in a more discriminating fashion (Myers-Levy, 1994). Women read text with an experimental goal. They put themselves into the story and feel how they would respond. Men read for information, taking themselves out of the plot. Men do not relate with the characters to the same extent that women do (Stern; Holbrook, 1994).
Several parts of relationships are viewed differently by the sexes. Men view women as lower on the socioeconomic scale, while women see the two genders as at equal level on the socioeconomic scale (Melville; Cornish, 1993). Sexual aspiration is also different. The male fantasy involves conquest and the “winning of a sexual adventure” while the female fantasy involves much more emotion. The female sexual fantasy is of “winning commitment” (Stern; Holbrook, 1994). The ad industry has been instrumental in providing funding for much research on these areas and with good cause. Advertisers have used this...