Y ou as reader become the product
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Y ou, as reader, become the product.

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Y ou, as reader, become the product

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You, as reader, become the product

In Gender Advertisments, sociologist Erving Goffman suggests that ads are just hyper-ritualizations of many of the rituals we already use to communicate gender. This isn’t necessarily how we behave as real men and women in our much or most of our daily lives, but how we signal gender when called upon to do so.

Others might call these communication rituals “performing gender.”

Man’s Touch—guiding, directive

Woman’s touch—soft, caressing

Woman’s touch

Placement and Relative Size

more placement

Ritualization of subordination:

“Lower ranks” shown occupying lower regions

Women’s subordination often signified by showing them as less serious, with less need to be serious: “clowning” or “goofing”

Ranking in space/pose


“Ranking”—she’s on the floor


More clowning


Direct gaze into the camera indicates fully present and attentive.

Withdrawing into one’s own world suggests less attentive to immediate environment, less cognizant, less powerful.

Flooding out is another kind of withdrawal from the real world—abandoning oneself to a sensation.

Direct gaze

Direct gaze

Direct gaze, head canted


Withdrawing? Something else?


Flooding out

more flooding out

Even more flooding out

Flooding out

Canting, standing askew literally destabilizes so also shows subordination

Literal unstable pose

Also unstable in pose


Jean Kilbourn in the Killing Me Softly series discusses other ways women are represented


Fragmented body parts


Muting, silencing with covered mouths

also silenced?


Fragmented body parts

fragmentation of the body



Jhally: Which social values does Ford associate its van with here? Ghosh: More inclusion now?

Expanding the meaning of the diamond—marketing to women of substance

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