How Advertisers Target People with Gender Stereotypes

This week Andrew got a new sweater and I got a new pair of pants. His sweater had a decorative pocket on the arm, and it was real. It was fucking real. Want to know what I was blessed with in my new pants? Back pockets, not front ones, no no; those are for decoration.

They took women’s’ pockets and put them on men’s’ clothing.

In Advertising 1 at Algonquin College, we learned that sex sells. No, not over-sexualising basic experiences like eating food or putting perfume on. But selling items that will highlight your sex, that’s what sells. Anything to make you look more masculine or feminine. This is where they put each gender in a box.
 
Women must be gentle, tolerant, and nurturing.
 
Men must be courageous, independent and assertive.
 
Women must like the colour pink and be attracted to men.
 
Men must like the colour blue and be attracted to women.
There is nothing wrong if you identify with these. But also realize that many people do not fit in this box and feel alienated by advertising because of this. Beyond that, some people don’t only identify as either gender or are only attracted to one sex. While there has been progress, this concept needs recognizing and expressed in advertising. This will help educate people and change society for the better. Why can’t there be ads that show an elderly, lesbian couple winning the lottery? Why can’t there be cologne ads with one man attracting another? I want to normalize the hell out of this so people aren’t even phased by it anymore. I will be blunt here: homophobia is stupid and back to my point, traditional gender roles are stupid.
What grinds my gears is that feminism is a positive ideology that women and men should be treated as equals. Yet, there are many who treat feminism as a big “fuck you” to men and that women should be treated better. Thus, the word feminism has a negative connotation. Yes, the world is sexist towards women and we still earn 87¢ for every $1 a man makes, but the world is also sexist towards men. Why should men pay on a first date? Why should men be the breadwinner in the family? Why should they hold the door for women and let them go first? If you believe men and women should be treated as equals, why are you still expecting this from men? Because they should be a gentleman? Yes, these are all polite things to do, but women can step up too. We’re not dainty little sunflowers who can’t do anything. Sunflowers stand tall and strong.
sunflowers.jpg
We all have an ideal image of ourselves. The gap between that and who we actually are is what makes companies money. Advertising takes advantage of every insecurity you didn’t think you should have. The best women should have contoured faces and big butts. The best men should have big muscles and perfect hair. Men should have the best truck and the best grill. Women need the perfect pair of jeans to make their butt look better, but don’t give them pockets. This way they have to buy expensive purses to hold all their stuff they “need” to make themselves look beautiful.

It’s hard not to focus on women with gender stereotyping and sexism in general. I wish this was acknowledged more for men in society. They are still expected to be tough, not cry, and bottle all their feelings up. This is very damaging to their mental health. It makes me sick. Okay, I’ll try to reign myself back in now with one final message for all you beautiful women out there:

“Pretty is not the rent you pay to exist in the world as a woman.”

The depths of Tumblr

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