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Roles • Strippers • Normalized • Exotics General • Exotics Surreal • Exotics WOC • Difficult • Dolls • Nagging • Tool • Nympho • Stupid • Consumers • Nature • Bodies • Politics • Vio. Women • Power • Fem. Mas. • Males
• Male Sex • Vio. Ag. Males • Male Culture • Phallic • Male Fantasy • Normal Men • Stupid Males • Heroes • Control • M. Objects • Competition • Marriage • Violence • Death • Lesbians • Gay Men • Dual • Hetero • Sex • S.Violence • Parts I • Parts II • Mouth • No Subject • Sex Object • Dehumanized
• Literal Object • No Conn. • Gaze • Wet • Reductionism • Landscape • Captured • Ling. Vio. • Fear • Legs • Written • Contorted • Billboards • A&F • Video Games • Men's Mags • Man Show • TV • Social Class • Autos • Kids • Ageism • Race • Military • Global • Values
• Animals • Food
Gender Ads.com was begun a number of years ago to provide gender studies educators and students with a resource for analyzing the advertising images that relate to gender. Its founder, Dr. Scott A. Lukas, had produced a PowerPoint that focused on gender and advertising, and because students had requested copies of the presentation, he decided to produce a website to host the images and interpretations. Since the PowerPoint was produced with 100 images, the website has grown to over 2,500 advertising images, and it is one of the largest collections of gender-related advertising materials on the Internet. Dr. Lukas has used his website to connect with other gender studies educators, and he frequently responds to interpretive requests from scholars and students throughout the world. He has served on the Ratings Advisory group of the national advocacy organization Dads & Daughters and has presented his website to national audiences, including the National Women Studies Association.
The site is organized according to nine major sections. The bar to the left of the page has links to each of the research pages, and it is repeated on every page to give you easier navigation of the site. Background presents information on gender and advertising that may assist the first-time viewer with the site. Why This Project addresses the reasons behind the formation of the site. How to Read Ads is an overview of some of the major approaches to the analysis of advertising, including semiotic analyses. Constructions of Gender is a representation of some of the major associations of gender and advertising, and is a good place to begin your study of the topics. Side by Side also offers an introductory approach to the subject, and I have collected side by side comparisons of men and women from major spreads in magazines. Controversy features some of the criticisms of the project that have been provided by viewers and students. Ambiguity addresses the idea that advertising, because of its ambiguous visual and literary messages, is difficult to interpret. Gender Landscape is a study that involves the public displays of billboard advertising, and it makes the point that gender ads are
not limited to the “private” screens of print media. The Hall of Shame feature presents some of the most troubling images from the archive, but, in reality, any number of images could be placed on that page. How to Reference is a brief description of how you can reference or link to this site for research purposes.
The second section of the page begins the specific analyses of the ads. The first of these sections is Females in Ads. Roles addresses some of the common social roles that are attributed to women in the world of advertising. Strippers is a category that was suggested by a viewer and it considers the representations of women in a specific role, that of the stripper or dancer. Normalized Women deals with the concept of normalization, basically the way in which women’s bodies are depicted as “normal” and “abnormal” in the advertising medium. The next three segments are representations of exoticism in advertising, including a General category, a Women of Color category and a Surreal category. All of these represent women in exotic and fantastic contexts. Feminine as Difficult is a trope that looks at how femininity is constructed as something to be overcome. Dolls portrays the common depictions of women as inanimate objects, specifically dolls or figurines. Naggers portrays a common and unfortunate understanding of women as displaying nagging behavior, while Body as Tool discusses the idea that women’s bodies are often represented as tools, as things to be used for social or personal achievement. Nymphomania analyzes the ways in which the women of advertising are seen as sexcrazed. As Stupid is a page that deals with the association of women with less than average intelligence, a trope that extends beyond the world of advertising. Consumers is a feature that considers how women are often seen as being better consumers than men. As Nature addresses the common association of women to nature (as opposed to men with culture). Bodies Only is an analysis of the ways in which the advertising world shows women as being connected to their bodies, not their minds. Politics is a page that looks at the ways in which progressive social movements, like feminism, have been misconstrued and distorted in the contemporary cultural scene. As Violent shows women in violent poses or as displaying violent tendencies, a reflection of the masculine projection that is also addressed in the project. Faux Power depicts the ways in which women have been supposedly empowered by consumer culture, but, in my reading, such empowerment is faux in nature. Female Masculinity was influenced by Judith Halberstam’s
analyses of the concept and it suggests a movement of gender advertising into new forms of gender.
Next, the site considers Males in Ads, and, to begin with, the Males, General section looks at how males are typically represented in advertising. Just as many of us are outraged about the depictions of females through advertising we should be equally concerned with how males are misrepresented in print ads. Male Sex looks at the construction of male sexuality, typically through domination, prowess and violence. Violence Against Males is a page that focuses on the small but growing number of ads that illustrate forms of violence committed against men. Male as Culture contrasts the Woman as Nature feature in the second section, and it shows the ways in which men are connected to the public realm of politics, culture and intellectual pursuits. Phallic is a page that analyzes the common representations of phallic signifiers in popular advertising. Male Fantasies, taken from Klaus Theweleit’s monumental study of gender and the Freikorps (Males Fantasies), looks at how gender is connected to fascism, something that I label as “gender fascism.” Normalized Males shows ads similar to the normalized females of the previous section, as does As Stupid in its depiction of males as less than intelligent. Male Heroes looks at the common representation of men as saviors, as those who save women from peril or harm. Men in Control presents ads that contrast with the common association of femininity with weakness; in the case of males, they are seen as powerful. Male Objects looks at the rare but growing collection of ads that show men as sex objects, in a manner similar to the sexual objectification of women. Section 4 addresses the ways in which men and women are presented in ads, often in the same manner or in contexts of power and domination. Competition looks at how women take on stereotypical masculine values of competition and aggression, and in many representations they are fighting for a man or for a consumer object. Marriage is a collection of ads that focus on heterosexual marriage. Violence looks at explicit contexts in which males commit violence against women in advertising. Death extends the concern with violence to focus on the many contexts in which women are presented as corpses in advertising. Lesbians looks at the depictions of lesbianism in advertising, most commonly the idea of two women as male sex objects. Gay Men includes ads from magazines that focus on the imagery of gay men. Dual Objectified is a category that analyzes situations in which both a man and a woman are objectified in a print ad. Hetero Relations considers
the ways in which men and woman relate to one another (according to the world of advertising). Sex and Ads is a focus that features the many ways in which heterosexuality is written into the advertising landscape. Sexual Violence shows another of the many unfortunate sides of advertising, in which women are raped or are victims of sexual aggression.
The next segment, section 5, deals with forms of (female) objectification. Because the ads showing forms of objectification were so prevalent, I needed to dedicate s series of pages to the issue. Body Parts I Looks at how women’s breasts are used in advertising, while Body Parts II looks at further objectification of other body parts. No Subject demonstrates how objectification works to deny the subjectivity (the individuality) of the woman in the ad. Sex Object is a page that features the common representation of the woman as a purse sex object, there for the gaze and musings of the viewer. Dehumanized depicts contexts in which women are dehumanized, often seen as animals in ads. The Literal Object trope emphasizes ads in which woman are literally depicted as objects, from ice cream to tools. No Product Connection completes the section with analyses of how advertising commonly uses women’s body and sexual contexts to sell products that have nothing to do with either.
Section 6 is a visual anthropological look at some of the common techniques that are used to produce gender in print ads. The Gaze develops the theory of male looking to consider the many ads that deal with the subject. Wetness depicts ads that focus on water and women’s bodies. Reductionism suggests that advertising represents women through a reductionist visual philosophy, meaning that their identities are tied to disconnected body parts. Landscapes illustrates the common visual technique in which female bodies are seen as landscapes (in which the visual pan of the viewer views the body as such) or in which female bodies are connected to or presented on geographic landscapes. Captured/Controlled shows women in submissive contexts of cages or in situations in which they are tied up or physically restrained by men. Linguistic Violence references ads that use specific language (“bitch”) as part of the gendered construction. Fear also views women in submissive states and often shows them in situations of peril, such as in feigning of being attacked or raped in a dark alley. Legs as Framing develops the filmic technique (The Graduate) in which the camera uses a woman’s legs as a framing device to direct the subject of the viewer.
Written On is a trope that illustrates how women’s bodies are written on using letters, graffiti and the like. Completing section 6 is Contorted which looks at the use of contorted women’s bodies in advertising.
Section 7 involves special features. In some cases they fall outside of the realm of advertising, in other cases they are examples of the extensions of advertising outside of the print medium. Billboards develops the focus on gender and advertising as a public phenomenon. A&F is a focus on the famous company’s use of young men and women in holiday ad campaigns. Rejected Ads features ads that did not make it past the censor, and some contain offensive gender content. Video Games includes information on video game ads as well as the sexual and sexist content of some of the popular video games. Men’s Magazines looks at the constructions of gender evident in contemporary male magazines. The Man Show is a feature on some of the graphic representations from the television show. TV Commercials addresses the role of gender in many popular television commercials. Progressive Ads and Mock Ads suggest new constructions of gender (some critical). Student Work is a section in which I hope to feature more student work on gender and advertising topics. U.K. Gender is a feature on advertising and public gender displays that I developed while teaching in London in 2005.
Other Tropes, Section 8, involves advertising that is not strictly related to gender. In some cases gender is part of the content of the ads. Kids and Ads looks at the disturbing ways in which children have been objectified through advertising. Ageism looks at the negative depictions of older people in the ads, while Racism looks at how race has played a major part in the construction of advertising throughout the years. Military Ads are particularly relevant in the post-911 era, and I hope to add more to this page. Global Ads commonly involve technology or consumerism as an argument for globalization in the contemporary world. Values Ads focus on some of the values evident in the consumer culture world of advertising. Social Class ads help illustrate the point that consumer culture is a classed-world, generally available only to the rich and middle class. Miscellaneous Ads include those that I have not categorized, or perhaps those that are not easily categorized.
The final section, 9, includes resources available to the gender and advertising scholar and student. The Bibliography includes books and articles directly dealing with gender and advertising, while Links are online resources to the many excellent sites like About-Face. Taking Action is a page that will be developed to discuss strategies for reacting to the negativity of advertising, including the development of critical dialogue on the aims, effects and consequences of gender-related advertising. Educator Resources will feature handouts and other items that can be implemented in the K-12 and college and university classrooms. The Gender Ads Listserv will be dedicated to scholars and students who wish to receive updates about the Gender Ads Project and for those who simply would like to dialogue about the topics considered in this arena. The Gender Ads Newsletter will be developed to provide specific focus on current events related to gender and advertising. There is a great deal of online interest in gender and advertising, and I have considered developing a peer-reviewed online journal that will deal with gender and popular culture. Please visit the link to provide your ideas for it.
1. BACKGROUND What's New? Why This Project? How To Read Ads Constructions Side By Side Controversy Ambiguity Gender Landscape Hall of Shame How to Reference Comments Links to This Site
2. FEMALES IN ADS Roles Strippers Normalized Women Exotics, General Exotics, WOC Exotics, Surreal Feminine As Difficult As Dolls As Naggers Body As Tool Nymphomania As Stupid Consumers As Nature Bodies Only Politics As Violent Faux Power Female Masculinity
3. MALES IN ADS Males, General Male Sex Violence Ag. Males Males As Culture
Phallic Male Fantasies Normalized Males As Stupid Male Heroes Men, In Control Male Objects
4. TOGETHER IN ADS Competition Marriage Violence Death Lesbians Gay Men Dual Objectified Hetero Relations Sex and Ads Sexual Violence
5. OBJECTIFICATION Body Parts I Body Parts II No Subject Sex Object Dehumanized
As Literal Object No Product Connection
6. VISUAL MEANS The Gaze Wetness Reductionism Landscapes Captured/Controlled Linguistic Violence Fear Legs as Framing Written On Contorted
7. SPECIAL FEATURES Billboards A&F Rejected Ads Video Games Men's Magazines Man Show TV Commercials Progressive Ads Mock Ads UK Gender
8. OTHER TROPES Kids and Ads Ageism Racism Military Ads Global Ads Values Ads Social Class Ads Miscellaneous Ads
9. RESOURCES Bibliography Links Taking Action <a href="http://www.ltcconline.net/lukas/gender
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