The text provides a significant amount of information on gender stratification, the messages conveyed to various genders and the impact they have on the individual.
Identify a commercial or ad online directed towards women. Discuss the “gender messages” being conveyed.
How do these messages align with basic feminist ideas?
Choose one theory of gender to discuss your analysis.
I have provided an example below. In no way do I expect your thoughts to be as in-depth or academic. You are welcome to express your opinions regarding the feminist tenets as well as the stratification theory. This is merely an example for your consideration. Do your best and if I see a response that needs further thought or exploration I will be sure to provide suggestions. The main thing is that you are practicing using these terms and ideas.
This is a photo from Victoria Secret. This ad is clearly marketing to women, meant to attract women to buy their product through a play on words, not only are they trying to sell their products as “perfect” in terms of the women’s needs but also, subtly selling an idea that if they buy the product they will also have the “perfect body.” While there is some diversity in terms of race, there is little diversity in terms of body size or shape indicating that there is a clear definition of what “perfect” appears to be. I conducted a similar search for an underwear ad in which men were targeted with the idea of having a perfect “body” and while male underwear models are pretty unrealistic for the average guy, I wasn’t able to find any ads that were conveying a similar message.
What would the basic feminist ideas have to say about this (pg 338-340)?
1- In view of equality, Feminists would argue that this ad puts women on display for the male gaze and that women, not men, are held to extreme physical standards by which they are daily judged. A women is expected to be thin and youthful and is treated accordingly. Research shows it can affect their ability to obtain a job, marry or even receive privileged treatment.
(Here are some references if you are interested )
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Brett_Silverstein/publication/226772986_The_role_of_the_mass_media_in_promoting_a_thin_standard_of_bodily_attractiveness_for_women/links/0046352843f4282cef000000.pdf (Links to an external site.)
2- In terms of expanding human choice, I dont know that the context of this ad applies to this basic tenant.
3- Feminist would definitely argue that media plays a very important role in disseminating and creating stratification towards women. This ad, without the verbiage, could be seen as “empowering” to women who are proud of their bodies but, because of the words used, it can be seen as playing into the idea that women are significantly judged by their outer beauty. Because of this, I would argue that feminists would be critical of this type of ad.
4- In terms of ending sexual violence, this ad could go one of two ways. On one hand, women have a right to express themselves physically without the fear of violence or being objectified but, on the other hand, this ad may lend itself to an industry that objectifies women for the purpose of profit.
5- In terms of sexual freedom, without the wording of this ad I believe they would view this picture as an expression of control of ones sexuality.
This ad lends itself to a discussion of gender stratification from the social-conflict approach. Women are often deprived of power over their own bodies when society takes on the role of dictating which bodies are desirable and privileging some bodies over others.