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New and traditional media today have become a leading influence and source of in formation in the lives of most

people (Thompson & Heinburg, 1999). Many women an d men live their lives with little to no realization that advertising has a soci alizing impact on them. The advertising industry serves as a significant “media us er.” As such, it is prone to assign roles to each gender making it seemingly manda tory for each gender to act a certain way, thus perpetuating gender stereotypes. In addition, marketers are constantly advertising products with embedded messag es suggesting products specifically for men and for women that would increase th eir masculinity and femininity. Such messages have served as a mere reminder tha t men and women must be mirror societal expectations of what a man and a woman e ntail. It is evident that gender, sexuality, and advertising are directly linked with o ne another. According to Kane (2002), “Some well-known consumer products are succe ssful today because their marketers took a chance and tweaked the brand’s marketin g strategy to sell the item to the opposite gender ” (p. 1). It is not uncommon to see that, by using different marketing strategies and advertising appeals, bran ds in categories as disparate as automobiles, apparel, food, cigarettes, and per sonal care products have successfully crossed the gender line. The construction of gender, where a boy learns to be a boy and a girl learns to be a girl, is dependent on what society has taught people about each gender. In the current society, there are various ways to identify ones gender affiliation of being a male or a female. One of the most common ways of identification is th rough materialistic items. That is how the construction of the consumer is, in f act, concurrent with the construction of the gender. In today’s market, the product can be as feminine as a woman’s bra, as masculine as a man’s jockstrap, or even as neutral as milk or pillows; however, advertisers fre quently use gendered messages to reach their target audience. This assumption se rves as one of the main rationales behind why advertising and gender performance should be interconnected. Advertisers who promote their products have been able to sell their products, while at the same time, communicate the normative image attached to their products. Through these normative images, and the information provided via the advertisements, consumers are taught the differences between f eminine and masculine products. As a result, consumers mimic the product’s usage, as performed in the advertisements, thus emphasizing the gender performance. Examining this from a Chinese perspective provides an interesting dimension to a dvertising and gender performance research, as the portrayal of women in Chinese society has been quite controversial for thousands of years. From the founding of New China in 1949 with China s women s liberation theory of Marxism as the do minant social gender theory, to the “Cultural Revolution" period (1966 to 1976), w here Chairman Mao Zedong’s slogan "Women hold up half the sky"(Chan and Cheng, 200 2), indicated women can be as masculine as men and women can be equal to men on all levels, female images have changed. Today, China s reform and opening up the ideology of the patriarchal has rapidly recovered where women have become the m an’s aesthetic and ornamental objects. The purpose of this research is to explore the role Chinese advertising plays in promoting female gender performance, specifically analyzing advertising for con sumer products. In what ways do Chinese advertising messages of the product sign ify normative ideas about female performance? How do the advertisements work to sell appropriate femininity in China?