<The Gender ADs Project>

 

Competition

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< Background: As Naomi Wolf explains, “women are trained to be competitors against all others for ‘beauty’” (1991:76). In the cases of beauty, finding men and life in general, women are taught to be competitors. As bell hooks would suggest, women are encouraged to take on the modes of domination and patriarchy in society. Like men in society, women are told to compete for the things that are purported to be important to them—men, objects of material culture, etc. The Ads: The ads depicting women against women (1, 6, 8, 11) play on the common patriarchal theme of competition. We note this outside of advertising as well. It is interesting to note that ad 3 takes the theme to children, suggesting that we socialize our children to be competitive. Image 6 illustrates how basic consumer culture is. I have included it as the archead as it is an image that could be iconic for consumer culture.  Resources: I found this article by Alfie Kohn called "The Case Against Competition." Questions: (1) Why is competition such a cherished resource in consumer society? (2) How is competition manifested in these ads? Are there particular themes that seem identifiable? (3) What can citizens of a consumer society do to instill new values that promote cooperation, not competition? >

 

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<presented by Scott A. Lukas, Ph.D.>