Volume : 5, Issue : 7, JUL 2019

SELLING UN-STEREOTYPES IN INDIAN ADVERTISEMENTS: A GENDER DISCOURSE

DR. NIRMAL KANTI ROY

Abstract

The media plays an extremely influential role in modern Indian society. Regardless of whether the media is influenced by the dominant beliefs of today’s culture, or if it determines them, the weight that advertisements carry on individual’s behavior is tangible in our society. While all forms of media serve to reinforce culturally dominate stereotypes, advertisements specifically saturate our everyday lives. Women and girls are consistently bombarded with sexualized and unrealistic images of stereotypical beauty, as well as representations of what it means to be ‘female.’ Such sexist representations of gender in advertisements serve as a hegemonic force. Ads targeted at children teach kids from a young age what roll they must inhabit in order to conform to societies norm of male and female. How do gendered images repeated in advertising come to reflect the ideologies of dominant patriarchal society? To what extent are these ads teaching children how to ‘be’ male or female? Advertising no longer seeks to inform consumers about a product, but rather to emphasize the intrinsic value of a product based on a strategy of selling and marketing. This shift in the goals of advertisers occurred in part due to the sheer increase in mass of advertising. Indian advertisement scenario has taken some bold steps to also show some advertisements which do not portray stereotype men or women images. Sometimes the traditional gender roles are reversed. When this happens, one can see men behaving in ways that are generally associated with femininity, and women behaving in typically masculine ways. This is often the case in gay and lesbian advertising. Witnessing these ads can be a shock to most, as they are not accustomed to this reversal of roles. This is an indicator that there is in fact a distinction between the genders in advertising, and also sometime it does bring a social message and awareness.

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References

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