Stereotypical Versus Feminist Advertising: A Review Article

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Radwa Zakaria Abdel-Rahman El-Sheikh , Salwa Farag , Nahwat El-Arousy


The representation of gender is one of the significant manifestations of social justice, and so can act as a mirror that reflects the dynamic relation between media, society and culture in the contemporary world. Gender representation in media remains a debatable issue till today and has a significant reflection on multiple academic disciplines. This review article traces the changes in female gender representation, specifically through the genre of advertisements, as a reflection of the impact of modern Feminism on both the society and media. Through the review of research, the paper demonstrates that the advertising discourse has witnessed a long history of stereotyped portrayals where the female identity is misrepresented and confined to a limited set of gender roles. However, due to the different waves of Feminism, female roles have gradually changed together with their portrayals in the media, especially in the genre of advertising. As a result, a new trend of feminist advertising has largely grown worldwide, depicting a new female identity as empowered rather than subservient or objectified. This technique reflects the gender-inclusion policies adopted in various cultures. By reviewing and synthesizing the relevant literature, this article provides sufficient background knowledge about stereotypical versus positive female representation in advertising. The contrast between both trends includes not only the features of each but also their discrepant impacts on the society and on the brand itself. Hence, the contribution of the article can serve both fields of sociology and marketing by raising viewers' and advertisers' awareness on the impact of gender representation on both the cultural values and the brand sales respectively.  

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