Notes from in Class Movie – The Codes of Gender
What are the major differences between the presentation of males and females in advertising?
What does the film suggest about what these differences say about our gender roles in our culture?? (ie:
how they are supposed to be)
Are there example of challenges to these stereotypical portrayals of men and women in advertising?
What are these examples?
- Knowing someones sex ( male or female ) is fundamental to our social interaction with them
- We live in a visual culture (ex the way someone walks manly vs girly)
- Erving Goffman ( studied what advertising really tells us about ourselves and was of the opinions
that gender identification is not natural)
- The idea that we live in a 2 sex 2 gender society and that each sex is distinguished by their
- Gender display: acting how our gender “should” , how we move, how we communicate…
- Commercial realism
- What the “normal” ads tell us about ourselves.
o women and men’s hand in relationship to the items the are showcasing. Women’s
hands are often seen as being controlled by the environment around them (as weak)
they will be cradling, grazing, brushing delicately. Can also be extended to “self touch”
women are often touching themselves. Men’s hands are powerful, assertive, utilitarian
and bold. They control the environment around them to suit their preference.
- Women touch themselves in commercial realism, often in breathless postures, helpless,
expressing passivity. If we were to put men in the same positions that women are placed in, this
breach is a lot more evident. The Body as Text
- Ritualization of subordination
Females are often:
- Laying down
- In positions that would be difficult for them to defend themselves in
- Submissive and powerless, often being dominated by men.
- Dependant, appeasement
- In positions that suggest sexual availability and openness.
Men, in the same scenes are:
- Alert, confident and in control of their environment
- Ready to react
Women are not really placed in natural positions. Ex: “the bashful knee bend” – places the person off
centre making them:
- Head cant
- Leaning to a side instead of straight , suggesting she herself is off centered and off balanced.
- Head is often lifted up in a way that shows her vulnerability ( she has a