Advertisement

The Catch-22 of Advertising Practice (and Other Deflections): Perceived Challenges to Creating Less Sexist Content

  • Aileen O’Driscoll
Chapter

Abstract

In addition to analysing the gendered worldviews and opinions concerning representations of the sexes in adverts, student attitudes that also relate to advertising practice were explored; specifically of interest were positions taken by students that amount to assertions that the nature of the medium militates against representations that offer greater diversity and less gender stereotyping. The inferred support expressed by students for gender equality, for challenging and tackling issues facing women and girls both in society, and in advertising texts, as well as problematic portrayals of men in adverts, comes under scrutiny in this chapter and is shown to rest on shaky ground. When moving from the level of ‘surface’ or abstract avowal of the continued need to strive for genuine equality between the sexes, to concrete discussions of bringing that reality about, attitudes counter-productive to that struggle emerge. For instance, while there is certainly a strong awareness of the social responsibility of advertisers to accurately and fairly portray people, as well as a consciousness connected to the need to avoid stereotyping, possible steps towards active efforts to ensure that happens is largely met with one of three reactions: shrugged shoulders, suggesting there is little that can be done; scepticism that any action, regulatory or otherwise, would make a difference; or hostility to such measures, which is accompanied by recommendations that a sense of humour dilutes any perceived negative social impact of problematic gendered imagery in advertising texts. However, several students do demonstrate a ‘moral imagination’ in their musings on how they might avoid sexist and stereotypical representations of the sexes.

References

  1. Baudrillard, J. (1998). The Consumer Society: Myths & Structures. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Coleman, C. A. (2012). Construction of Consumer Vulnerability by Gender and Ethics of Empowerment. In C. C. Otnes & L. Tuncay Zayer (Eds.), Gender, Culture, and Consumer Behavior. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Cronin, A. M. (2004). Regimes of Mediation: Advertising Practitioners as Cultural Intermediaries? Consumption Markets & Culture, 7(4), 349–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Drumwright, M. E., & Murphy, P. E. (2004). How Advertising Practitioners View Ethics: Moral Muteness, Moral Myopia, and Moral Imagination. Journal of Advertising, 33(2), 7–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eisend, M., Plagemann, J., & Sollwedel, J. (2014). Gender Roles and Humor in Advertising: The Occurrence of Stereotyping in Humorous and Nonhumorous Advertising and Its Consequences for Advertising Effectiveness. Journal of Advertising, 43(3), 256–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ember, S. (2016, May 1). For Women in Advertising, It’s Still a “Mad Men” World. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/business/media/for-women-in-advertising-its-still-a-mad-men-world.html?_r=0
  7. Fullerton, J., Kendrick, A., & Frazier, C. (2008). A Nationwide Survey of Advertising Students’ Attitudes About Advertising. Journal of Advertising Education, 12(1), 15–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gallagher, A. (2014, March 29). Meet the Mad Women. The Irish Times Magazine, pp. 10–14.Google Scholar
  9. Gill, R. (2011). Sexism Reloaded, or, It’s Time to Get Angry Again! Feminist Media Studies, 11(1), 61–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ging, D., & Flynn, R. (2008). Background Paper on the Stereotyping of Women in Advertising in the Irish Media, pp. 1–91 [unpublished].Google Scholar
  11. Gregory, M. R. (2009). Inside the Locker Room: Male Homosociability in the Advertising Industry. Gender Work and Organization, 16(3), 323–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grow, J., & Deng, T. (2015). Tokens in a Man’s World: Women in Creative Advertising Departments. Media Report to Women, 43(1), 6–11 & 21–23.Google Scholar
  13. Hesmondhalgh, D., & Baker, S. (2015). Sex, Gender and Work Segregation in the Cultural Industries. In B. Conor, R. Gill, & S. Taylor (Eds.), Gender and Creative Labour (pp. 23–36). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. Jhally, S. (2011). Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture. In G. Dines & J. M. Humez (Eds.), Gender, Race, and Class in Media. A Critical Reader (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Keller, C. J., Lavish, L. a., & Brown, C. (2007). Creative Styles and Gender Roles in Undergraduates Students. Creativity Research Journal, 19(2–3), 273–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mallia, K. E. (2008). New Century, Same Story: Women Scarce When Adweek Ranks “Best Spots”. Journal of Advertising Education, 12(1), 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Marchand, R. (1985). Advertising the American Dream: Making way for Modernity, 1920–1940. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  18. Mattern, J. L., Child, J. T., Vanhorn, S. B., & Gronewold, K. L. (2013). Matching Creativity Perceptions and Capabilities: Exploring the Impact of Feedback Messages. Journal of Advertising Education, 17(1), 13–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McCorkle, D. E., & Alexander, J. (1991). The Effects of Advertising Education on Business Students’ Attitudes Toward Advertising. Journal of Education for Business, 67, 105–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nixon, S. (2003). Advertising Cultures: Gender, Commerce, Creativity. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nixon, S., & Crewe, B. (2004). Pleasure at Work? Gender, Consumption and Work-Based Identities in the Creative Industries. Consumption Markets & Culture, 7(2), 129–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Peck, J. (2005). Struggling with the Creative Class. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29(4), 740–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Saner, E. (2016, June 26). Advertising Is Dominated by White Guys Talking to White Guys. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jun/26/cindy-gallup-advertising-white-men-sex-tapes
  24. Schweizer, T. S. (2006). The Psychology of Novelty-Seeking, Creativity and Innovation: Neurocognitive Aspects Within a Work-Psychological Perspective. Creativity and Innovation Management, 15(2), 164–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Soar, M. (2000). Encoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising Production. Mass Communication and Society, 3(4), 415–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Taylor, M., & O’Brien, D. (2017). ‘Culture Is a Meritocracy’: Why Creative Workers’ Attitudes May Reinforce Social Inequality. Sociological Research Online, 22(4), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tuncay Zayer, L., & Coleman, C. A. (2015). Advertising Professionals’ Perceptions of the Impact of Gender Portrayals on Men and Women: A Question of Ethics. Journal of Advertising, 44(3), 264–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Whelehan, I. (2000). Overloaded: Popular Culture and the Future of Feminism. London: Women’s Press.Google Scholar
  29. Windels, K. (2011). What’s in a Number? Minority Status and Implications for Creative Professionals. Creativity Research Journal, 23(4), 321–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Windels, K., & Lee, W.-N. (2012). The Construction of Gender and Creativity in Advertising Creative Departments. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 27(8), 502–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Windels, K., & Mallia, K. L. (2015). How Being Female Impacts Learning and Career Growth in Advertising Creative Departments. Employee Relations: The International Journal, 37(1), 122–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aileen O’Driscoll
    • 1
  1. 1.Dublin City UniversityDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations