Background: At a semiotic level there is disparity in the portrayal of men and women in popular advertising. When men and women appear in ads together, the women are often depicted as weaker than the male, either through composition of the ad or particular situations in the scene. When females appear in ads alone we again note the stereotype of the female as sexual, unintelligent and fragile. Males, conversely, appear as strong and cultured. Particular roles and gender constructs are also evident in male ads. Males are told to act tough, hide their emotions, and compete at all costs (Thompson 1993:146-7). Nancy Chodorow argues that the attainment of masculinity is a problematic issue for boys (1974:51), particularly as boys are taught to differentiate themselves from others.

Focus on the Ads: A number of the initial ads on the page present stereotypical images of masculinity. Image 37 is interesting for its notion of the inculcation of specific consumer values (related to the male love for automobiles) in young boys.


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