<The Gender ADs Project>

 

Womanhood as Difficult

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<Background: As Shuttleworth has written relative to Mid-Victorian medical advertising, “male health was believed to be based on self-control, woman’s health depended on her very inability to control her body” (1990a:57). In terms of “being a woman,” popular advertising presents an image of women that resonates with other tropes of popular culture—the woman is weak and she is always “dealing” with some personal, psychological or physical ailment. In terms of the content of such advertising, a common theme is of males who exert self-control while females “do not have the psychological strength to solve their problems” (Lindsey 1997:314). Lindsey continues and suggests that many ads depict women as the “sicker gender and especially prone to emotional trauma…[and] psychological and sexual insecurity” (ibid.).  The Ads: Ad 3 illustrates the idea of torment as being a part of a woman's bodily and psychological constructions, while ad 5 suggests an inherent quality (lateness) of women.  Resources: Dads and Daughters continues to promote positivity among women and men in society. Discussion Questions: (1) What specific social forces result in women and girls being told that their very existence is a difficult matter? (2) Are men shown in ads in similar positions of vulnerability? (3) What can parents do to teach girls (and boys) that they should be proud about who they are? >

 

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