The influence of gender and sexuality in advertising

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The influence of gender and sexuality in advertising is a topic that has been studied for decades. The Advertising Industry has long recognized the importance of gender and sexuality in its advertising, but it has not always been able to fully exploit this opportunity. In fact, the advertising industry has often been criticized for promoting sexist stereotypes, sexualized images, and other forms of sexualization. The purposes of this article is to examine the current state of the research on gender and sexuality in advertising.

What are the gender and sexuality stereotypes most frequently used in advertising?

Advertising constantly uses gender and sexuality stereotypes, which are sometimes defended. However, these can be considered widespread.

The use of a stereotype can have different objectives: either to attract the target audience, or to convey a message or an idea.

The advantages of stereotype? It is rare that the main characters in an advertising campaign are not represented as a man or a woman.

When this happens, it is generally a strategic choice in order to attract an audience that is not usually interested in the brand concerned. Another important advantage linked to the use of stereotypes is that consumers are more likely to recognize them as “standards”, even though they have never studied the subject and they have No knowledge. This type of representation also allows companies to practice self-censorship vis-à-vis consumers on certain subjects that could create a scandal or controversy.


gender stereotypes

Gender stereotypes: the businessman and the lady cooking

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the use of advertising to promote gender equality and sexualities?

When you use traditional advertising, it is important to remember that it cannot be considered a reliable means to promote gender equality and sexualities.

Brands that want to engage in this type of campaigns must demonstrate their commitment and support for these causes (and not simply promote them).

It is important that marketing specialists understand that advertising is not an effective instrument that changes mentalities.

The use of advertising is not an effective instrument to promote gender equality and sexualities. To promote the equality of genres and sexualities, it is rather necessary to use other less expensive strategies: – Education on the subject – Information campaigns – Varied target public – Direct actions at political – Development of public policies that aim Improving the daily life of vulnerable groups Promotion must relate to a whole range of actions, ranging from the complete reshuffle of the organization chart to more modest actions such as awareness campaigns or exchange between peers.

When you use a specialized agency, make sure it has sufficient expertise in comparative analysis between men and women/heterosexual and homosexual/bisexual in order to adequately analyze its campaign.


What are the main messages conveyed by advertising in terms of gender and sexuality?

Gender and sexual advertising is an effective means of promoting respect for sexual and reproductive human rights, especially when this promotion is aimed at disadvantaged groups.

Advertising can also serve as a tool to raise awareness of inequalities between men and women, for example by showing that the wage gap between men and women is still topical.

When it promotes sexual and reproductive human rights, advertising should not be sexist or discriminatory with regard to people who have a different sexual orientation. Nor should it have an insulting or offensive character vis-à-vis vulnerable groups, such as LGBTI+migrants, for example.

Gender and sexuality advertising must also comply with the standards relating to the content protected by copyright (for example, pornographic images).


What are the possible negative consequences of gender and sexuality stereotypes conveyed by advertising?

It is important to know that advertising can have negative effects on people who receive these messages.

Sexist and homophobic ads can put children in a situation where they are not comfortable with their bodies or their sexualities, which can result in problems with an emotional, social and physical level. These messages can also influence adolescents, especially the youngest.

It is therefore necessary to ensure that advertising does not convey gender stereotypes and sexuality. In addition, advertising must be adapted to the different target groups so that it is perceived as adapted to these groups.

One of the possible consequences of sex and genres in advertising is that some individuals will think that they are less physically attractive because they represent a different sex or sexual orientation. These individuals could then have trouble finding a potential love partner or even meeting a physically interesting person to spend time together.

The way in which advertising is perceived will also influence the self -esteem of a person related to their physical appearance (for example: if they know that it is deemed unwanted).


What are the initiatives put in place by companies to combat the inequality of genres and sexualities in advertising?

First of all, it is necessary to recall that LGBT people do not represent the whole population, especially because they are still too little visible in the world of work.

Advertising is one of the fields where this inequality persists. To fight it, some companies have taken interesting initiatives.

The Ogilvy agency has set up a campaign to promote its advice offer for homosexual and bisexual people. This initiative aims to show that agencies offering a work to homosexuals can be just as competent and effective as those that only hire heterosexual (the) s. Then, the young American fashion brand Gap decided to highlight its spring-summer 2014 collection in an advertising spot featuring several models with different profiles (white, black, Asians, etc.). This initiative also serves another cause: that of fighting racism and homophobia. It allows gay consumers and lesbians to have a positive image of the GAP group and the American market as a whole. Finally, there are also more general initiatives such as those implemented by the GLAAD Foundation (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the aim of which is to make all groups that are not entitled to the chapter on our advertising screens.


How can the use of social media help to overthrow gender and sexuality stereotypes in advertising?

The advertising sector is constantly evolving.

Social media has revolutionized the world of advertisements and, in many cases, brands are able to communicate with their potential customers without having recourse to a marketing agency or specialist.

One might wonder if the man and the woman have the same behavior in the face of advertising display. The answer is no, it leads us to believe that advertisers are uninformed people who do not know what they are doing.


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