Goffman (1976) Gender Advertisements

Though gender is a social – not biological – construct, the depictions in consumer culture serve the ideological function of naturalizing specific qualities of femininity and masculinity. Advertising employs highly selective representations of cultural groups that downplay similarities and highlight differences. In the case of gender, Goffman (1976) studies the gender displays in advertisements and finds they exhibit highly stylized depictions of gender differences that are not based on biological differences. Women are disproportionally depicted as fragile, vulnerable, and childlike in contrast to men whose stances convey confidence and power. There is no biological reason for women to appear more childlike than men so, he concludes, the ads are not reflecting gender differences but producing them.  Even though the representations are stretched beyond reality they do not appear strange to us because the gender codes in advertising have shaped our cultural notions of femininity and masculinity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s