Free Paper Sample: A Critical Analysis of Representations of Women in Advertisements

Published: 2022-05-02
Free Paper Sample: A Critical Analysis of Representations of Women in Advertisements
Type of paper:  Dissertation
Categories:  Women Advertising
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1380 words
12 min read

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A Critical Analysis of Representations of Women in Advertisements


The study aims at exhibiting and analyzing how various advertisement agencies across the world represent women. To achieve this task, the research incorporated literature from other authors as a way of attaining the deeper synthesis of the topic. Theories such as feminist and media and ideology have been extensively used to attain different historical and current roles of women, and how they have been incorporated in the advertising sector. On the first section of the research, the survey has utilized the analysis of the Male Gaze theory, which documents how males have dominated the advertising sector, and women established as complements and posted aspects of misrepresentation. The issues of discrimination and feminism are established detailing on the image and perception of women has been dented. Further, the research utilized semiotics and interviews to attain primary information on the topic. Semiotics involved the analysis of various adverts by organizations such as Calvin Klein and D' Dior amongst others to show the women's image portrayed. These analyses were complemented by interview process, which established the population's take on the perception brought about by the media. The process incorporated ten responses, which were analyzed to come to a succinct conclusion.


Since time immemorial, the perception and portrayal of women in various societies have been subject to scrutiny and debate. Only too often, the woman's image is typified as a sex object while in other cases she is portrayed as inferior, subordinate or dependent on a man. Advertisements are often cited as chief perpetrators of the same. For decades now, advertisements have been accused of putting across a compromised image of women. Regardless of the population balance between men and women, women are said to consume more products than men. For this reason, many advertisements are devised to get the attention and the acceptance of women, more so than men (Hung et al., 2007: 1038). For this reason, whatever these advertisements insinuate directly influences the way women view themselves.

The study aims at identifying the representation of women in the various advertisements shown during our day to day interaction with the media. It is significant to note that the effectiveness of the adverts go hand in hand with what the target audience get attracted to. Hence, this study will focus on analyzing how the media utilizes various cues to represent women in their adverts. The success of any advertisement depends on the level of attractiveness it yields from the target audience. As the technology advances, various enterprises are trying to incorporate technology in their advertisement to ensure that they remain relevant in the current and future markets (Nettelhorst and Brannon, 2012). Thus, the study aims at identifying how such organizations utilize the media to represent the women as they promote their products and services. My research will incorporate various research aids including books - which have been cited in the references section. I also prepared a questionnaire and a tape recorder for the interviews. All interviews were carried out privately in person and were recorded with a tape recorder for later reference. Additionally, the will be conducted through the use of semiotics, and interview process to attain first-hand information from the individuals on the ground.

The image presented has significantly influenced on the way the society depicts women, thus proving to be a worth case to study and establish such ideas. Additionally, the constant growth on the importance of advertisement in the contemporary market has necessitated the establishment of such a study express the role of advertisements in the society and how the community views them. Therefore, the main purpose of the study will be to identify how various marketers present women on their day to day marketing processes, and express whether they promote of demean the importance and the role of women in the current society.


This research paper is intended to examine how and why women are used in advertisements. Basing the findings on the literature that is available on the topic, this research is intended to give a clear dissemination of the information other researchers have found about the representations of women in advertisements. Since this research provides a path to use while conducting the dissertation, theories are to be examined along with the findings that support the same theories. By the end of this paper, this paper is supposed to satisfy the following objectives;

To identify some of the theories that may be used to explain the topic at hand.

To establish a clear view of other researchers' by examining their literature.

To establish the author's (my) stand for what I think about how advertisements represent women.

To establish succinct findings of the research.

Literature ReviewIn every society, the advertisements that are found therein portray a reflection of that society, its norms and beliefs and what it stands for. It is for this reason that advertisements are thought to perpetuate negative women stereotypes in societies (Grau et al., 2007: 63). Women are portrayed in certain specific stereotypes in various societies. They are often displayed as mothers or nurturers, sex objects and dependent on men (Ibroscheva 2007:411). The influence above of advertisements on how the society and women view themselves is seen as each society comes to have specific perceptions as to what the roles of women should be (Nassif & Gunter, 2008:754).

Advertisements play a big role in stereotyping since consumers who view the ads derive certain ideas about the roles of men and women from them. These stereotypes form ideas about limited gender roles in the minds of the consumers of the advertisements. The consumption of the advertisements affects what roles people accord unto what gender. This is because advertisements, especially on television are one of the most influential consumers socializing agents (Valls-Fernandez & Martinez-Vicente, 2007:691).

Mogel (2010) addresses the stereotypes of women arguing that women are portrayed as submissive particularly to men. In advertisements that are about cleaning and other household chores, women are used therefore forming a stereotype of women as household workers or more specifically, as housewives (Biermann, 2011:68). Cleaning the house and alternatively working in the kitchen is how most women are depicted by most advertisements (Koernig & Granitz, 2006:83). Very many people adopt what they see in advertisements as their viewpoints, therefore, creating perceptions around static stands on gender roles.

Advertisements tend to use women as symbols of beauty to draw the consumers' attention to the specific advertisement. It has become commonplace to relate women in advertisements with sex appeal (Cheng & Chang, 2009:76). According to Altstiel & Grow (2006:93), the use of feminine beauty and appeal to market a product could prove very successful especially on certain products. Cheng and Chang further insist that this phenomenon - the use of feminine sexuality to market products - is improbable to change at all in the foreseeable future.

The Male Gaze Theory by Laura Mulvey

Laura Mulvey, who was both a filmmaker and a scholar came up with this theory in her essay, Narrative Cinema and Visual Pleasure, 1975. In her theory, Laura Mulvey took a feminist stand and coherently explained how male dominance and consequent female misrepresentation was put on display on the Hollywood screens. She explained that most films then were focused on getting to the male scopophilia. Scopophilia, she explained is a sexual pleasure that is derived from looking. Popular Hollywood movies, she said, were engineered to satisfy the sco...

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