Stereotyping. Gender and its Ethics. Anisia Boroznova & Ardra Balachandran. What is Stereotyping?.
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Gender and its Ethics
Anisia Boroznova & Ardra Balachandran
στερεός (stereos) = solid, firm
τύπος (tupos) = blow, impression, engraved mark
* Justification of ill-founded prejudices or ignorance
* Unwillingness to rethink one's attitudes and behavior towards stereotyped group
* Preventing some people of stereotyped groups from entering or succeeding in activities or fields
* It enables us to simplify, predict, and organize our world
“to modify…. practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.”
(No specific mention about treatment that involves women or representation of women)
(Also does not have any women-specific clause to be protected from stereotyping and manipulation)
An analysis of advertisements by Goffman (1976) found numerous instances of subtle stereotyping including:
1. functional ranking — the tendency to depict men in executive roles and as more functional when collaborating with women. (Example – Virgin mobile)
2. ritualization of subordination — an overabundance of images of women lying on floors and beds or as objects of men's mock assaults. (Example – ZatakDeo)
3. the feminine touch — the tendency to show women cradling and caressing the surface of objects with their fingers. (Example – Prestige)
4. family — fathers depicted as physically distant from their families or as relating primarily to sons, and mothers depicted as relating primarily to daughters. (Example – Airtel)
High-level business, entertainer or professional sportsperson, mid-level business, white-collar worker and blue-collar worker.
Family, recreational and decorative roles.
*Research by Courtney and Lockeretz (1971)
These advertisements seem to suggest that mothers do all the housework and cooking, and really enjoy this.
Example – Lux
Example - BrylCreem
Example – Fair and Lovely
Example – Life Buoy cleaning campaign
Example – Surf Excel (DaagAchaeHai!)
Example – Mediker
*Research by Helen Macdonald in 2007
Advertisers, ad creators and social order in general need to become gender sensitive.
Advertising work need not necessarily translate into a radical anti-thesis. Of course, non-sexist advertising alone is not guaranteed to remove the detrimental effects of hundreds of years of oppression and subjugation that have been women’s lot. But sexist advertising works subliminally, justifying the status quo.
While agencies can’t change society purely through representation in advertising, they should look for opportunities to highlight instances where society has changed or is changing.
Examples – Ads for TVS Scooty / ICICI Prudential Life Insurance
Conscious and deliberate effort to brainstorm and come up with fresh ideas rather than choose the easy way out. Defying gender stereotypes in execution of your campaign, even as you are guided by women’s ways of buying to develop it, is a challenge – but worth undertaking.
Example - Vodafone
Government policies to promote fair and equitable portrayals in all mass media.
Isn’t there a moral duty for media persons to foster ethical promotion of products? Can’t psychological misalignment be done without?
The booming of an entire personal care product and cosmetic industry is heavily dependent on the surmise that a woman has to be beautiful to be accepted, and hence the proliferation and immense success of beauty parlours.
Is business profit the only concern? Does not a generation of women with low self-esteem and confidence bother you?
Is society losing the perspective that celebrates physical uniqueness and other aspects of a person’s identity a trivial issue?
*Abdu’l Baha is the son of Baha’u’llah who founded the Bahai faith.
Privileging the Privileged –
Gender Stereotyping in Advertising -