We live in a society where women are expected to behave in different ways than men do. But, how do we learn to act according to our given gender? Most guys like playing football, drinking beer, and cars; while women tend to enjoy make-up, shopping, and jewelry. Parents, family and peers play a huge part in the discovery undoubtedly, but the media tends to be an even more influential means of learning role expectations. In particular, there are tons of stereotypes being represented during a television commercial. “Sex, Lies, and Advertising” by Gloria Steinem really appealed to me and I found it extremely interesting.
It is ridiculous how powerful advertising has become in today’s media. I guess I never really thought about how many ads there are in magazines. But if you look closely, you’ll realize there are more products being plugged through articles than actually full page advertisements. The only thing I can think about is what happened to quality articles that are insightful and socially conscious? I commend the women of Ms. Magazine for putting it all on the line in an attempt to create something pure and unaffected by advertisements.
I also cannot believe how difficult it was for them to get car ads into their magazine. I know plenty of women who run their house and every aspect of it; they do all the shopping including the cars. According to Steinem, consumer power does not necessarily drive what types of ads are run in magazines. Although her magazine had presented ample evidence to advertisers that women are decision makers in purchases involving automobiles and consumer electronics, the publication had a really hard time obtaining advertisements for these types of products.
One of the reasons given is that the advertising industry lingers consumer reality. Even though women used to turn to their significant others to help them make their decisions, they now increasingly rely and depend on their own judgement. But the old perceptions remain indigenous in advertising executives. And Steinem states that acceptance of products by women is viewed as a threat to the perceptions of the products by males. Furthermore, I cannot state how amazed I am that advertisers are so picky in who they want to reach.
I think it is ridiculous that the play train companies attempted to please little girls by making them pink. Why does pink have to be the only color little girls associate with? Gender roles are determined by society. These standards are in place because we put them there. From a young age, kids are forced one way or the other. Boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls. I think it is time to bridge this gap and drop those stereotypical ideals of what men and women should and should not be doing.